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1. Is a PhD at the University of Reading right for you? 

Before applying for our PhD programme, please read our What to expect during your PhD guide.

To find out how to apply for the Centre for Doctoral Training in the Mathematics for our Future Climate programme, please read our Mathematics for our Future Climate page.

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 Doctoral and Researcher College'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.
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