University of Reading cookie policy

We use cookies on to improve your experience, monitor site performance and tailor content to you

Read our cookie policy to find out how to manage your cookie settings

1.Check our entry requirements

Applicants should normally possess at least a first degree (normally of an upper second-class honours standard or above), or equivalent.  Many applicants also have a master’s degree (normally of a good merit standard or above).

We will consider admitting students with non-standard qualifications, subject to the approval by the Dean of PGR Studies. If you are from outside 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 the Doctoral and Researcher College 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 but don’t have a specific project in mind, please consult the list of projects advertised on our PhD opportunities page.

If you have a clear idea about a research project that you want to undertake, you should read our guidelines on how to prepare a research proposal, download and complete the SAPD PhD Research Proposal Form. The project must 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. 


3. Identify 1-2 potential supervisors

To make sure we can support your project and to speed up the admissions process, you should identify one or two potential supervisors. You should learn about research interests of our research staff and provide a rationale for your choice (on the SAPD PhD Research Proposal Form). You may consider making a direct contact prior to submitting your application, however this is not compulsory. 


4. Make an application

Please apply using the PhD and professional doctorate online application form.  This allows you to submit the necessary information and attach copies of relevant documents, including the details of two appropriate referees.

Please attach a completed copy of our application form (SAPD PhD Research Proposal Form).  The form includes a proposal (not exceeding 1000 words) of your intended research project, the rationale for your study, literature review, research question(s), design, methodology, and potential significance of the results. 

Once received, we will consider your application and supervisor suggestions. Our decisions are typically based on the quality of the candidate, the fit between the candidate's and supervisors' research interests and supervisory capacity in the School.

Most new students join the PhD programme in October, but it is possible to start your studies at any point during the academic year.