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How to apply

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.

2. Check our entry requirements

To be accepted on our PhD programme, you will need a master's degree or equivalent, in a course with a substantial element of history.

If you are from outside of 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 our Doctoral and Researcher College website.

3. Select a topic

There are different routes for selecting a PhD research topic:

  • If you have a clear idea about a research project of your choice, you should first determine whether the project is suitable for study at PhD level. The project must also 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.
    If you have a promising topic which we are able to supervise, we can support you in developing your proposal. For further advice on writing a research proposal, please visit the Doctoral and Researcher College website for their research proposal guidance document and webinar. 
  • If you are interested in a broad area of research, advertised projects covering specific research topics can be found on our PhD opportunities page.

4. Identify a Supervisor

Please contact the Department's Director of Postgraduate Research Studies by emailing or calling +44 (0) 118 378 6005.

You should also get in touch with the potential supervisor if you have someone specific in mind, in addition to contacting the Director of Postgraduate Research Studies.

5. Make an application

Please apply using the PhD and professional doctorate online application portal.

This allows you to complete the necessary information and attach copies of relevant documents, including your research proposal (if an individual project), education certificates, and the details of two appropriate referees.

We will acknowledge your application and then pass it on to the appropriate school or department.

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