How to apply for research degrees at Reading

1 Get in touch with the relevant Department

The School (or Department) postgraduate research web pages will tell you about research areas and staff expertise.

You can also use these pages to find out about:

  • entry requirements
  • English language requirements
  • fees and funding information.

Making an initial enquiry

Many students contact their prospective School / Department or a particular supervisor to make an informal enquiry before making a formal application. In order to ensure any such enquiry is appropriately dealt with, prospective students are advised to use the PhD Enquiry Form.  

If required, you will need to prepare a research proposal. You can get tips on how to approach this in our guidance notes.

2 Fill in an application online

Access our online application service and complete the required details. The system allows you to attach electronic copies of your academic transcripts, certificates and other supporting information; it also provides a facility for an email request to be sent to your referees enabling them to send your supporting references directly to us.

if you are unable to complete an application online, you can find information on how to obtain a paper application form via the link provided above.  

3 We will acknowledge your application

We will tell you when we receive your application form, and tell you when you are likely to hear from us again.

4 You will receive our response

If your application is successful, the Admissions Office will send you a letter offering you a place at the University and explaining any conditions you might have to meet. These might be:

  • academic, such as a degree result  
  • level of English language proficiency , if you are an international student

We will also tell you if your application is unsuccessful.


When to apply

In order to allow sufficient time for the University to process your application, we recommend that you should submit a formal application by the following dates:

UK applicants No later than two months before the start of the programme
International applicants No later than four months before the start of the programme

Although most doctoral researchers join us at the beginning of the autumn term in October, a smaller number of applicants also start at the beginning of the spring term (January) and at the beginning of summer term (April).

Some of the competitions for scholarships (including those funded by the University of Reading, the Research Councils and other organisations) will also have deadlines for application and will require you to have received a formal offer of a place from us before you submit your application. Please make sure that you submit your application for admission well in advance to allow enough time for the University to process it before the scholarship deadline.


Making an enquiry about your application

If you have an enquiry related to your application for entry to the University, you can contact Postgraduate Admissions at


Further information:

Our Admissions policy for postgraduate research degrees (PDF - 288KB) sets out a range of information concerning admission.

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