A PhD is a globally-recognised postgraduate degree which involves extensive and original research into a specific chosen field.
What's more, through your PhD, you’ll make an important contribution to research – like one of our most-recent PhD candidates, Harry Austin, whose work with Professor John McGeehan on mutant plastic-eating enzymes is making headlines around the world.
There are many reasons to start a PhD with us – such as the internationally-recognised quality of our research, our superb facilities, and our developing research culture of creativity and collaboration. You can see a snapshot of our best recent research features here.
Doing a PhD
As a general rule, to apply for a PhD you'll need a good first degree from an internationally-recognised university or a Master’s degree in an appropriate subject. We'll also consider applicants with exceptional equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications.
Your PhD will take 3 years (full-time) or 6 years (part-time) to complete, and you'll produce a thesis of 40,000-80,000 words, depending on your subject area. All PhD candidates need a supervisor to supervise them – and finding the right one is an important part of the process.
For more details on what you need to do before you apply for a PhD – from what qualifications you'll need, to what your application should contain – visit our how to apply for a postgraduate degree pages.
Ready to explore your PhD options?
There are 3 different ways to start the process.
Got your own idea for a PhD?
If you've already got your own research idea, you can start looking for a supervisor whose research interests match yours right away, using our PURE Research Portal. Once you've found someone suitable, you can contact them directly to discuss your idea in detail.
Explore our pre-approved PhD projects
We've got a long list of already-approved PhD projects available across most of our subject areas – browse the list of current projects, and contact the supervisors attached to it about how to apply.
Explore our subject areas
Find out what areas we specialise in, and get in contact with the teams within our various subject areas – they're on-hand to talk to you about your plans, and ultimately, help you find a supervisor too.
Fees and Funding
The cost of your PhD will vary depending on where you're from, what you're studying, and whether you plan to study full-time or part-time. If you're applying for a funded PhD, you'll have no fees to pay.
As a guide, PhDs cost £4,000-5,000 a year (full-time) or £2,000-3,000 a year (part-time) for UK/EU students, and £13,000-16,000 a year (full-time) or £6,500-8,000 a year (part-time) for international students.
If you need help funding your PhD, you may be able to apply for a Postgraduate Doctoral Loan – a government loan that you can use for tuition fees, living costs and other course costs. The loan is paid directly to you and you can apply online here.
The amount you’ll receive isn’t based on your or your family’s income. So you can choose how much you borrow (up to £25,000 over your whole course). The loan will be divided equally across each year of study, and you'll only start repaying your loan after your course when your annual income is more than £21,000.
For more information about the Postgraduate Doctoral Loan – and to see other sources of funding that may be open to you when you apply – visit our page on funding your research degree.