School of GeoSciences

Application process

Step-by-step guide to applying for a research degree.

Please read the information for each step carefully before applying.

Step 1 - Check entry requirements

Visit the Degree Finder to check the entry requirements for the programme that interests you.

Degree Finder 

If you are applying for a particular project, additional entry requirements may be detailed in the project description.

Entry requirements for our research degrees is usually a 2:1 Honours degree (or international equivalent) or above in a discipline relevant to the programme for which you are applying and/or relevant work experience.  Make sure you check the requirements for your specific programme, as entry requirements will differ between programmes.

You must also meet the English language requirements as detailed on the Degree Finder pages of each of our programmes. If you have booked an English language test and have yet to take it or receive your results, you can apply and provide this information at a later date.

Step 2 - Determine a project and find a supervisor

A research degree mostly consists of independent supervised research, so you will need to have a research project that you can develop during your studies. This can be based on your idea or a suggestion from your supervisor, or it could be jointly developed between both of you.

If you are interested in a specific project that is advertised through scholarships and funding, you should contact the supervisor indicated in the project description to signal your interest and discuss your suitability as a candidate.

If you would like to work on a self-designed project or have an initial project idea but not a fully worked out project plan, you would need to get in touch with our staff to find a potential supervisor.  If you would like to undertake multidisciplinary research, it will be helpful to talk to more than one potential supervisor. The aim of the discussion between you and the supervisor(s) is to agree on the final project, allowing you to write the research proposal.

Please note: Your application will not be processed if you do not identify a supervisor.  

Step 3 - Your application

You can prepare and submit your application when:

  1. you have ascertained your eligibility to apply
  2. have a project and supervisor secured.

You must submit your application using the  'Apply' link for your relevant programme in the Degree Finder.  

Degree Finder

As part of your application, you will need to provide all the following elements:

Personal statement  

Highlighting the relationship between yourself and your proposed project (no more than 500 words).  The personal statement should be typed directly into the online application form.

A self-worded project proposal

Please read the guidance on how to write a research proposal.     A proposal is not needed if you are applying for an existing project written by a supervisor.

 Your Curriculum Vitae.

Please note that there is no dedicated CV upload field in the Application Form. However, you can upload this with your research proposal.

Academic transcripts

From all your previous studies, and an interim transcript if you are currently studying. Please note: you will also need translated versions in case they have not been in issued in English.

Copies of your degree(s)/ diploma certificate(s)

Provide copies if you have already completed your qualification. Please note: you will also need translated versions in case they have not been in issued in English.

Contact details of two academic referees

Please provide these when making your online application. Your referees will receive automated emails requesting a reference for you.  They will be provided guidance on how their reference can be uploaded to our system. 

Please note: references should come from professional emails (i.e. not Gmail or Yahoo, etc.) If you upload reference letters yourself, please ensure they are on headed paper, signed, and dated no more than two years from the start of the programme for which you are applying.

Proof of English language proficiency (if required)

The English language requirements vary between different degrees. Please consult the Degree Finder to find out what documents are accepted.

Step 4 - Funding your research studies

There are several ways to start a PhD or MScR project with us.

We also accept self-funded students, although it is important to note that supervisors have the discretion to accept students only if they secure full funding. 

Please note: if you are planning to self-fund your studies, the GeoSciences Postgraduate Research Admissions Team will require evidence of your ability to do so, and will also seek supervisor approval before sending an unconditional offer. Please contact us by email if you wish to discuss this.