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How to apply – University of Reading

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How to apply

Are you ready to develop yourself personally and professionally by becoming a postgraduate researcher at Reading?

When you've decided which doctoral research programme is right for you, this guide tells you everything you need to know about the application process.

When to apply

You should plan to join us at the start of an academic term. Most of our postgraduate researchers join us in September for the start of the autumn term; a smaller number start in the spring or summer terms.

In order to give us sufficient time to process your application, we recommend submitting your application by the following deadlines:

Type of applicant Application deadline
UK applicants At least two months before the programme start date
International applicants At least four months before the programme start date

You will need to have received a formal offer of a place from us before you apply for some scholarships. Therefore, make sure you allow enough time for us to process your programme application so that you can still meet the scholarship application deadline.

Find the right School or Department for you

Once you have a suitable research topic in mind, you will need to find the most appropriate academic School or Department that could support your area of research. The best place to start is to visit the dedicated web pages for our Schools and Departments. Here you will find information about:

  • the main areas of research for that School or Department
  • entry requirements
  • English language requirements
  • specific fee and funding arrangements.

School and Department web pages can easily be found via our list of doctoral research areas.

Make an initial enquiry

We recommend that you get in touch with us before you make a formal application. This will give you the opportunity to discuss your ideas, get advice about the most appropriate type of research degree for you, find out about potential supervisors and confirm that we can provide you with the facilities you require for your research project.

Use our PhD Enquiry Form to ensure your enquiry is directed to the most appropriate person.

Write a research proposal

You may be asked to write an outline of your research proposal and submit this with your application, although this is not required in every case.

Will I need to submit a research proposal?

If you have qualified in the arts, humanities, social sciences or in business, you will most likely identify your own research topic and will therefore need to submit a research proposal.

With a background in science or life science, it is more likely that you will apply for a project that has already been devised by a supervisor; in which case, you will not need to submit a research proposal.

How do I write a research proposal?

If a research proposal is required, in general, this should include:

  • the main research question(s) that you want to address
  • what makes this of interest and importance
  • how your thinking builds on any previous work
  • what research methodology or techniques you may need to use
  • what facilities you are likely to require
  • how the research can be completed in the time available.

For detailed guidance, see our guide to writing a research proposal for a PhD or MPhil application or, if you have specific questions, contact the relevant School Director of Postgraduate Research Studies   for your research topic.

Submit your application

Once you are ready to make a formal application, you can apply through our online application service. This allows you to include electronic copies of your academic transcripts, certificates and other supporting information; it also enables us to contact your referees directly.

What happens next?

We will confirm that we have received your application and let you know when you are likely to hear whether it has been successful or not.

If your application is successful, the Admissions Office will send you a letter offering you a place on your chosen doctoral research programme. The offer may be conditional, for example, on:

  • academic criteria, such as your degree result
  • your English language proficiency, for international students.

Further information

To make an enquiry about your application, contact pgadmissions@reading.ac.uk.

Further information is also available in our  Postgraduate Research Programmes Admissions Policy.

​Apply now

Submit your application to become a postgraduate researcher at Reading.

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