Male University of Portsmouth PhD student in X-Ray Fluorescence laboratory

Study for a PhD with us

Ready to make an important contribution to the world through original research? Discover how to do a PhD at Portsmouth 


A PhD is a globally-recognised postgraduate degree. To gain a PhD, you'll need to conduct extensive original research into a specific chosen field.

When you study for a PhD with us, you'll work with leading experts with extensive experience in your area of interest. You'll become a part of our internationally-recognised research, and a member of our research community. You'll contribute to our collaborative research culture, and use our exceptional facilities too.

And you’ll be following in the footsteps of our previous PhD candidates, many of whom have made important, globally-significant contributions to research – like Harry Austin, whose work with Professor John McGeehan on a mutant plastic-eating enzyme is making headlines around the world.

Preparing for 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 main routes into a PhD at Portsmouth.

If you have an original idea for a research, you can find a PhD supervisor among our academics, whose expertise matches your own. You can also apply for one of our pre-approved PhD projects – including some fully-funded projects – or explore our PhD subject areas and make an initial enquiry to our postgraduate research team.

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.

PhD stories

Studying for your PhD at Portsmouth is a great decision, but don't just take our word for it. Find out why two of our recent PhD candidates chose us and how their research unfolded.

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