Studying at PhD level
We offer flexible modes of study designed to fit with your needs. Our PhD is available for study on a full-time basis over 3-4 years and part-time over 4-6 years. Both full-time and part-time variants are available for study in Reading or working away.
- Modes of study
- Support services
- Doctoral research community
- Fees and funding
- English language support
- Life at Reading
- How to apply/entry requirements
Both full-time and part-time variants are available for study in Reading, as well as PhD by Distance.
PhD by Distance students spend the majority of their time at another location and normally have a supervisor/mentor at that location. There must be an academic rationale for this status to be granted and the University assesses each application on an individual basis.
Additionally, some of our PhD students are involved in interdisciplinary projects or projects with an external partner. In these cases they may be supported by a supervisor from outside the University, and interact with a wider range of staff. Where an external partner is involved, students typically spend four-week placements each year with the organisation.
The Department of Chemistry houses the state-of-the-art Chemical Analysis Facility, which underpins the chemical aspects of world-class research at the University of Reading. There are six platforms of instrumentation:
- NMR spectroscopy
- Mass Spectrometry
- X Ray Diffraction and Scattering
- Optical Spectroscopy
- Thermal Analysis
- Electron Microscopy Laboratory
As a postgraduate research student at Reading you will have access to the Graduate School. At the heart of this is Old Whiteknights House, a dedicated facility that provides space for doctoral researchers to work and network with others. Old Whiteknights House is a beautiful Victorian building that has been carefully modernised to provide a range of excellent resources and amenities. It also houses a number of support staff who deal exclusively with doctoral research matters and administration at Reading.
DEDICATED SUPPORT SERVICE
Expert interdisciplinary supervision and training are provided by specialist supervisors, a biannual Advisory Panel, the Reading Researcher Development Programme and, by application, the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) SCENARIO Doctoral Training Partnerships.
The Department can also provide special needs support, which you find out more about using the contact details on this page. You will have also have access to the Doctoral Research Office.
Located in the Graduate School, the Doctoral Research Office provides advice and support for current and prospective students. The Doctoral Research Office is a key point of contact for any doctoral researchers who have questions relating to registration, student status, immigration, studentships, University policy and procedures.
DOCTORAL RESEARCH COMMUNITY
You will join a vibrant doctoral community within the Department of Geography & Environmental Science, working alongside postdoctoral researchers and academic staff.
Within the department, we hold a fortnightly Postgraduate Discussion Group which provides an informal peer support network and which invites visiting speakers to discuss themes relating to personal and career development and wellbeing (e.g. working with the media, achieving a good work-life balance). Other social activities are also organised by and for PhD students, for example yoga classes and socials.
In addition to offering training and support to doctoral researchers, the Graduate School co-ordinates a range of activities that bring students together from across the University. These include the annual Doctoral Research Conference, an event that showcases the variety and excellence of postgraduate research taking place at Reading. The conference features a number of competitions and presentations including the PhD researcher of the year award.
Another event that celebrates academic excellence is the Graduate School's annual public lecture – the Fairbrother Lecture – delivered by a current or recent postgraduate research student. This is a fantastic opportunity for a wider audience to hear about high quality doctoral research taking place at Reading.
The achievements and success of doctoral researchers are regularly promoted through the Graduate School Bulletin and on the Graduate School homepage.
FEES AND FUNDING
You can find out more about fees for University of Reading PhD programmes by clicking on the link below.
Sources of funding
- Manufacturing industries, such as Angiogene, Astra Zeneca, Dupont, GlaxoSmithKline, National Starch, Pfizer and Syngenta;
- Government laboratories and companies, such as NPL and AWE;
- Government research councils, such as the EPSRC, BBSRC and MRC; and
- The University's Research Endowment Trust Fund
Many PhD programmes are carried out in collaboration with industry, enabling students to gain industrial experience during their programme.
Information on potential funding for students from Commonwealth countries is also available from the Association of Commonwealth Universities.
Information on scholarships for students from India and other developing countries can be found on our Felix Scholarships page.
Information on the University's studentships open to overseas applicants can be found on our Postgraduate Fees and Funding pages.
Alumni fee discounts
If you have already studied at the University of Reading you will get 10% off the fees of the first year of your postgraduate degree (up to a maximum of £1,000).
Apply for your alumni fee discount.
If English is not your first language, the University's International Study and Language Institute can help you develop your academic English skills and offers a range of courses and programmes to suit your specific needs.
English Writing and Language Practice programme
This six-week programme has been specifically designed for postgraduate researchers. It is supplemented by one-to-one advisory sessions, helping you to apply what you have learned to your thesis writing.
Academic English Programme
The Academic English Programme (AEP) features courses aimed at building your confidence in spoken language situations, developing your accuracy in the English language and improving your writing skills.
The Graduate School's Reading Researcher Development Programme (RRDP) offers a rich array of training sessions and workshops that have been especially designed to help you gain the additional skills that will enable you to carry out your research professionally and effectively. The RRDP is delivered primarily using the expertise of academic and specialist staff within the University and complements any subject-specific training that we provide. The RRDP includes training sessions on research methods, writing academic papers, getting published, public engagement and career planning.
In addition to the RRDP, doctoral researchers will also have the chance to access the following development opportunities:
- Preparing to teach – A programme focused on the skills needed for teaching and learning activities.
- Developing your potential as a leader – This leadership programme is jointly run with the triple accredited Henley Business School.
- Academic English Programme – Supporting international students to develop their academic English skills with a range of classes and services.
- PhD Plus – A scheme specifically for international doctoral researchers who are lecturers in their home country.
The University of Reading offers the peace and tranquillity of an award-winning parkland campus, just a short bus ride from a vibrant town centre. Our thriving community is made up of students from around the world, and our range of clubs and societies offer many opportunities to meet like-minded people.
- Our campuses
- Town life and transport links
- The Library
- Clubs and societies
- Little Learners Nursery
- The Little Owl Pre-School
HOW TO APPLY AND ENTRY REQUIREMENTS
1. Check our entry requirements
To be accepted on our PhD programme, you will need an Bachelor's degree of at least 2.1 level (or equivalent), or a master's degree, in a subject related to your proposed PhD research topic.
If you are from outside of the UK, you will also need to demonstrate you have a certain level of proficiency with written and spoken English.
For more information on entry requirements, visit our Graduate School website.
2. Select a topic
There are different routes for selecting a PhD research topic:
- If you are interested in a broad area of research, advertised projects covering specific research topics can be found on our Research Opportunities
- If you have a clear idea about a research project of your choice, you should first determine whether the project is suitable for study at PhD level. The project must also be feasible within the resources and time frame available to you; it should also address a perceived 'gap' in the literature and, most importantly, be of interest to you. You can receive feedback by contacting the department.
3. Identify a Supervisor
Please contact the Department's Director of Postgraduate Research Studies by emailing sages-pg- email@example.com or calling +44 (0) 118 378 8132.
You could also get in touch with the potential supervisor if you have someone specific in mind, but this should be in addition to contacting the Director of Postgraduate Research Studies.
It is not essential to communicate directly with the Department before submitting your application, but many candidates find it helpful.
4. Make an application
Please apply using the PhD and professional doctorate online application programme. This allows you to complete the necessary information and attach copies of relevant documents, including the details of two appropriate referees. Although you will be working with a specific department or supervisor, all PhD applications have to be made centrally.
We will acknowledge your application and then pass it on to the appropriate school or department.
Although most new students join the PhD programme in October, it is possible to start your studies at any point during the academic year.