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

To be accepted on our PhD programme, you'll need a 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 the UK, you'll also need to demonstrate 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 three routes to selecting a PhD topic in our Department:

  • Explore our PhD opportunities to see specific projects that are currently available. If you choose this route, your supervisor will be included in the project outline, so you can skip step 3 (Identify a supervisor) and progress to step 4 (Make an application).
  • Draft your own research proposal in consultation with a supervisor. If you choose this route, you'll need to outline the project you wish to undertake to a relevant supervisor. Your proposed research will need to align with the research carried out in our Department, be feasible within the resources and time frame available to you and address a perceived "gap" in the literature. Most importantly, it should be of interest to you.
  • Ask a supervisor to help you draft a research project. If you choose this route, you’ll need to identify a potential supervisor, who has relevant expertise to your area of interest.

3. Identify a supervisor

Once you have identified a relevant supervisor, we recommend that you contact them to discuss your proposed PhD project and check whether it is suitable.

If you would like assistance with identifying potential supervisors then please contact the Department's Director of Postgraduate Research Studies by emailing

It is not essential to communicate directly with the Department before submitting your application, but many candidates find it helpful.

4. Make an application

Whether or not you have spoken to a potential supervisor in the Department, please apply using the PhD and professional doctorate online application system. You are strongly encouraged to read the Graduate School's guidance on how to write a research proposal before submitting your application.

You'll need to complete the necessary information and attach copies of relevant documents, including the details of two appropriate referees.

Although you'll be working with a specific department or supervisor, all PhD applications must be made centrally. The University will acknowledge your application and then pass it on to our Department.

Although most new students join the PhD programme in September, it's possible to start your studies at any point during the academic year.
Athena SWAN Silver Award