Postgraduate Study
Edinburgh: Extraordinary Futures Await

Applying for a PhD

Advice on how to apply for a PhD.

Give yourself the best chance of getting a research position by following the step-by-step instructions below.

Step 1

Entry requirements

To study at postgraduate level, you need to hold a degree in an appropriate subject, or have a qualification or experience accepted as equivalent.

The usual qualification required for admission to research degrees and Masters programmes is a degree with an excellent or very good classification (equivalent to first or upper second class honours in the UK).

The University also requires international students to provide evidence of competence in written and spoken English. You can find the minimum English language requirements by clicking on the link below.

Step 2

Identify a research centre

Identify a Research Centre which matches your own research interests, and then browse the Centre's research projects and academic staff profiles to see if any are of interest to you.

We would then encourage you to make contact with potential supervisors in order to discuss your research proposal and who would be your preferred supervisor. This is particularly important to ensure the availability of facilities and expert supervision.

Step 3


The College offers a variety of scholarships, and each Research Centre may also have funding available. All our funded PhD projects are advertised on The University Scholarship office also has a list of funding sources. You should apply as early as possible for funding as competition for scholarships is high.

You will be responsible for securing funding to cover all your tuition fees, additional fees and living costs for the duration of your studies. For guidelines on living costs please click on the link below.

Step 4

Making an application

Applications for postgraduate study are made online using the University’s online application system. You should apply as early as possible. In addition to completing the online application form you will be required to upload supporting documentation. For full details on how to apply please click on the link below.

Application guidance

As part of the application you will be required to write a research proposal, unless you have been advised otherwise. This helps us assess both your suitability for a research degree and whether we can offer supervision. Help on how to write a research proposal can be found by clicking on the link below.

How to write a good research proposal

All PhD students are required to be formally interviewed (by video-conferencing or Skype) by the Research Centre you wish to study in.

Only applicants with supervisory support will be eligible to receive offers of admission.