How to apply to the NTU Doctoral School

Everything you need to know about applying to the NTU Doctoral School.

To make an application to undertake an MPhil or PhD, you'll need to do the following:

  • 1. Complete an application form

    This will include your personal details and information about your qualifications, employment and any research training or experience you may have. You will also need to identify your source of funding (e.g. self-funded or Government-sponsored).

    You are welcome to submit your CV as well as completing the main application form. However, we cannot accept CVs without a fully completed form.

    Please note that if you are accepted onto a postgraduate research programme, you will be required to provide documentary evidence of your qualifications before you enrol.

  • 2. Produce a research proposal

    To apply for a PhD / MPhil in all Schools (except Science and Technology) please submit a research proposal (of 1,000-2,000 words) which addresses the following points:

    • provisional title
    • the topic or area to be investigated (the subject or field you wish to research)
    • the problem or hypothesis to be tested (the research question(s) or problem you wish to address, the problem)
    • the methods and techniques to be used in the research (how you propose to go about the research)
    • a provisional timetable for the project indicating anticipated activities
    • the relationship of the proposed research to the published literature and to current research in the field (how your project relates to other work)
    • an indication of the contribution to knowledge that the thesis is anticipated to make (what you hope to find out)
    • details of previous work in the proposed field, or relationship to prior experience or study
    • bibliography of sources already consulted or identified as of relevance to your proposal.

    If you are applying for a PhD / MPhil in Science and Technology, please do not produce a research proposal. Instead you should attach a short (no more than one side of A4) statement, outlining the topic you wish to research, identifying a potential supervisor (academic profiles can be found on the School directory). Final agreement on the research project title will be reached before an offer of a study place is made.

  • 3. Provide appropriate references

    You will need to give details of two people who are familiar with your academic development. For example these could be tutors who have taught you during your undergraduate or Masters degree but not your proposed supervisor.

  • 4. Email your completed application to NTU Doctoral School

    Please email your completed applications to

    Applications for the Midlands 3 Cities studentships should be emailed to AHRC DTP Applications.

Entry requirements

Applicants for PhD or MPhil should normally hold a first or upper second class honours degree of a UK university or an equivalent qualification, or a lower second class honours degree with a master’s degree at Merit level of a UK university or an equivalent qualification.

Applicants for Professional Doctorates will be well-qualified in their chosen field and will normally have already gained a related master’s degree or equivalent qualification, together with sufficient professional experience in the relevant field. Typically, an applicant will have a minimum of 5-7 years’ relevant professional experience.

Applicants for part-time study within Business should consult the University Doctoral School about whether a traditional PhD or the DBA is most appropriate.

Applicants for part-time Professional Doctorate study in education, social practice or legal practice should also contact the Doctoral School or the relevant course leader for advice about whether a part-time PhD or a Professional Doctorate is more appropriate.

English Language Requirements for all research degree programmes

You will need an overall IELTS (International English Language Testing System) score of 6.5 with minimum sub-scores of 6.0 in all component sections (writing, reading, listening and speaking).

We'll normally ask applicants who do not meet the English language proficiency requirement to successfully complete an English language course at Nottingham Language Centre.

Research degree start dates

Our PhD and MPhil research degrees start on four fixed dates through the year. To start on these dates you must apply by the given deadline.

Start dateApplication deadline
01 October01 August
05 January02 November
01 April01 February
27 June29 April

The application process

Applying for an MPhil or PhD will require certain judgments to be made by you and by the University. You'll need to decide whether NTU can offer the right environment, facilities and support for you to complete your research. The University will need to decide whether you have the appropriate experience and background to undertake the project successfully. Together we'll need to decide whether we can offer you expert supervision in your chosen research field.

It's advisable to contact the University as early as possible so that these decisions can be given the consideration they require.

How to apply to the NTU Doctoral School

Published on 14 November 2017

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