How to apply
Before you can apply for a PhD you need to identify your area of research, and you have the option to speak to the department or supervisor you wish to work with.
However, it is not essential that you contact a supervisor before applying because we will identify potential supervisors when we receive your application.
Please see the A-Z list of doctoral research areas. From here you can link to the respective department and find contact details.
areas of doctoral supervision
Whatever your area, you can expect to receive first-class supervision from leading international researchers and practitioners who have expertise and passion in your chosen field.
Find out more about our areas of supervision.
Types of PhD Programme
- By Thesis – our traditional PhD programme.
- By Published Works – for candidates who have developed their knowledge and independent research skills to doctoral level, and who have a body of publications produced during the course of their careers either within, or outside, academia.
- Practice-based – relevant for some arts subjects where the independent, original PhD research is presented through both practice and a thesis.
PhD by Distance
Our PhD by Distance programme is designed to support students who need to study for most of their registration period at another (normally overseas) site.
Our PhD Plus programme is designed to meet the specific needs of overseas lecturers who want to study for a PhD whilst also learning about Higher Education in the UK and improving their teaching skills.
Undertake a professional doctorate, a programme of advanced study and research that combines professional and academic knowledge.
phd Funding available across all subject areas
The University allocates over £8m each year in postgraduate research studentships and bursaries. Around 150 entry awards are available to quality doctoral candidates per year.
These opportunities are funded from a wide variety of sources including: University of Reading, UK Research Councils, industry and charities.
The University of Reading is one of the top 20 universities in the UK for research intensity and 98% of the research conducted here is internationally recognised, according to the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014.
Through the Graduate School, we have a building in which PhD students can work, meet, organise events and receive advice and support, which is an incredible added value that many other universities do not have.
A PhD student profile
Adeyinka Adewale, joint PhD Researcher of the Year 2015, explains his reasons for choosing Reading and offers advice to prospective PhD students.
Join a diverse, vibrant community of more than 1,900 postgraduate researchers.
Our talented postgraduate researchers work across a broad range of discipline areas, and come from 100 different countries.
Through the Graduate School you will access a range of facilities, funding opportunities, and social and networking events to complement activities taking place in your academic schools and departments.
Our supportive approach will provide you with a rich and stimulating research environment, and our extended research family will enthuse and inspire you.
In a global study which assesses the satisfaction of international students, 96% of postgraduate respondents indicated that they were satisfied with the University of Reading Graduate School (International Student Barometer, i-graduate 2015. 2015 is the latest year in which the University of Reading participated in the survey).
Over the past decade, the University has invested over £400m in a range of excellent research facilities to support and enhance your academic and research experience. These include our Centre for Integrative Neuroscience and Neurodynamics, Chemical Analysis Facility, Centre for Advanced Microscopy, and our Design Innovation Research Centre.
The University also hosts the Museum of English Rural Life and many specialist collections, including the world-renowned Beckett collection.
You will also benefit from a dedicated physical space for PhD researchers, a well-equipped library – containing over a million volumes and a wide range of electronic resources – and a number of 24-hour computer laboratories.
Professional and personal skills training
As a research student at Reading, you will benefit from a wide range of both professional and personal skills training to help you with both your PhD and later life.
The Reading Researcher Development Programme (RRDP) offers over 90 courses, development workshops and activities designed to help you to gain the skills you'll need to carry out your research professionally and effectively, and to be successful in your ongoing career.
The RRDP is flexible and can be tailored to meet your individual needs. Programmes include a quality leadership programme, delivered in collaboration with our triple-accredited Henley Business School, a bespoke teaching preparation and support programme, and the facility to study another language via our Institution Wide Language Programme (IWLP).
For further information, please visit the Graduate School website.
Learn a language as part of your degree
Add variety to your degree course and broaden your horizons. As a student at Reading, you’ll have the chance to study one of 10 languages from beginner to advanced level through our Institution-Wide Language Programme.