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How to Apply

Making an application

The steps below outline the application process. Read through the information and when you are ready click the 'apply' button at the bottom to be taken through to the application system.

Step 1: entry criteria

Before you start your application please ensure that you have read our entry requirements for admission onto a research degree in order to check that you meet mandatory entry criteria in full.

  • Applicants for PhD should normally hold a first or upper second class honours degree from a UK university or an equivalent qualification, or a lower second class honours degree with a master’s degree at Merit level from 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.
  • Applicants for part-time study within Business should consult the 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 and the relevant course leader for advice about whether a part-time PhD or a Professional Doctorate is the more appropriate route of study.

Further information about entry criteria for doctoral study at Nottingham Trent University can be found in the Quality Handbook Section 11 - Research Degrees.

Where applicable, please read the English language requirements for undertaking postgraduate research at NTU.

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).

Step 2: completing an online application form

Complete your online application using the on-screen guidance. Please note that the data for your Research Degree application is collected through a third-party system developed and hosted by the company SurveyMonkey.

Section 1: Personal Details

Ensure that all your contact details are correct, as this is how we will communicate with you.

Section 2: Doctoral Programme

NTU offers opportunities for PhD, At-Distance PhD and Professional Doctorates, with a researcher support programme that prioritises your professional development. You can find further information on our Research degrees at NTU webpage.

Section 3: Qualifications

Provide details of the Higher Education institutions you have attended (or are currently attending), the courses you have completed (or are about to complete) at undergraduate and postgraduate level, and the results achieved or pending. If your qualifications have been awarded by an educational establishment outside of the UK, please provide details of your final or current Grade Point Average (GPA) / mark percentage. This will allow us to establish your degree equivalency with UK degrees.

Section 4: English Language Requirements

Please indicate whether English is your first language. If English is not your first language, please provide details of any English language qualifications you hold or if you have previously studied in the UK. Read more about our alternative English language tests

Section 5: Research Project

The details you provide here play a key part in the assessment of your application.

Proposed Supervisor(s): This section is optional. If you already have had discussions with potential supervisors at NTU or have clear ideas about who you would like to work with, please provide the name(s) of your proposed supervisor(s) in this section of the application. Further information on relevant staff can be found on our Research Centre pages.

Academic School: Please use the drop-down menu to indicate which Academic School your proposal is most suitably aligned to.

Research Centre Alignment (optional): Candidates who have research interests that align with one of our Research Centres, please indicate this on the form. Where relevant, we particularly welcome applications in the strategic research areas linked to the Research Centres. If applicable, please indicate the Research Centre to which you feel your research interest is best aligned on the application form.

There is also an opportunity to include in the summary of your proposed research topic any links you see to NTU Research Groups.

Summary of the proposed research topic (mandatory): Briefly explain the context of your research proposal, its aims and objectives, and potential impact (maximum 250 words).

Present your summary clearly and precisely. The reviewers of your application will be looking for evidence of the quality of your research proposal.

Research Proposal and Personal Statement (mandatory):

Provide a research proposal with a maximum of 1,500 words clearly describing:

  • the research area or topic that you wish to study for a PhD;
  • the research question(s) you wish to investigate including an explanation of why the proposed research area is likely to lead to high quality research outcomes;
  • why it interests you;
  • the methodology i.e. how you propose to research it;
  • the research context, in which you should explain how your proposed PhD research area or topic relates to other work in the field;
  • the purpose and originality of your research i.e. how you think your project might contribute to understanding of your subject.

You will also need to include a proposed timeline of your research and a bibliography or reference list.

Please note, if you are applying to the School of Science and Technology you need to submit a research proposal of no more than 500 words that should be a clear and concise statement and include references with web links to at least five journal articles or relevant reviews that report the state of the art in the field related to your proposed PhD research area or topic.

Previous experience and personal statement (mandatory): Set out your experience, interest and motivation to undertake doctoral research in the proposed project area and how you have the skills and attributes to deliver this project successfully and on time in form of a brief summary (maximum 500 words).

Section 6: Professional Experience

Strictly where relevant to your application, please include information about professional experience. This is particularly relevant if you are applying for a Professional Doctorate or DBA.

Step 3: referees

Please submit the names and contact details of two referees. These would usually be, for example, academic tutors who have taught you during your undergraduate or Masters degree (but not your proposed supervisor) or of equivalent professional standing.

Ensure that you provide a current and accurate email address for your referees in your application.

We accept references that arrive after you have submitted your application.

Step 4: additional document upload

Please upload any additional documentation to enable us to review and assess your application. This section is mandatory and you will have to upload the required documentation before you submit your application. The following is required:

1. Certificates and transcripts

  • Upload any relevant certificates and transcripts (translated into English if applicable) as part of the application.
  • Please note: If you have not finished your current course, please indicate this clearly on your application form and provide evidence of your pending degree such as an up to date HEAR report or a provisional transcript.
  • Ensure that the actual (or provisional) grade, Grade Point Average (GPA), or mark percentage is included on any certificates and/or transcripts you provide.
  • Applicants who are former NTU students are still required to provide evidence of successfully completing their degree such as original transcripts, certificates or a HEAR report.
  • Strictly where relevant to your application, please include any certification of professional experience, publications, written reports or other appropriate evidence of accomplishment.
  • Where applicable, please upload any documentation which provides evidence that you meet NTU English language requirements for undertaking postgraduate research. If you are submitting an IELTS report, please ensure that the date of the test is not older than 2 years.
  • Include any relevant certification of professional experience, publications, written reports or other appropriate evidence of accomplishment.

2. English Language Requirement

  • Where applicable, upload any documentation which provides evidence that you meet NTU English language requirements for undertaking postgraduate research. If you are submitting an IELTS report, please ensure that the date of the test is not older than 2 years.
  • Include any relevant certification of professional experience, publications, written reports or other appropriate evidence of accomplishment.

3. Professional Experience

  • Include any relevant certification of professional experience, publications, written reports or other appropriate evidence of accomplishment.

Step 5: equal opportunities

Applicants will be considered based on academic qualifications or equivalent experience and interest, motivation and potential to undertake research in the chosen area. This will be assessed through the application form, including the research proposal and supporting statement, and the interview.

The University is firmly committed to a diverse and inclusive research culture that is characterised by fairness and equality of opportunity for all. We are actively seeking applications from groups that are currently under-represented in research.

Please note, the data you provide here will not be used in the assessment of your application but is a requirement of the application process.

Step 6: terms and conditions

View information about the Terms, Conditions and Regulations which apply to offers made by the University. You can also view the Nottingham Trent Quality Handbook Section 11 - Research Degrees for more information.

  1. In accepting the offer of a place at the University you are also accepting the Terms and Conditions and agreeing to comply with the University’s Regulations, Rules, Codes, Policies and Procedures (the Regulations) that apply to enrolled PGR candidates.
  2. Nottingham Trent University qualifications entry criteria for doctoral study can be found in the Nottingham Trent Quality Handbook Section 11 - Research Degrees using the following link to our website:
  3. Only complete applications will be considered.
  4. Nottingham Trent University reserves the right to terminate the studies of the applicant, if an admissions decision was made on the basis of information which turned out to be false or materially incorrect at the time of assessment or if a PGR candidate does not comply with the relevant Terms, Conditions, Regulations and Policies which apply to offers made by the University.
  5. The University is firmly committed to a diverse and inclusive research culture which is characterised by fairness and equality of opportunity for all.
  6. The University seeks to ensure that applicants who wish to study with us are not subjected to unlawful discrimination by the University based on the following nine protected characteristics: age, disability, gender identity, marriage or civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation.

Step 7: submit

Once you have completed all the mandatory steps outlined above, please review your application carefully and click ‘Review and Submit’.

Research degree start dates

Our PhD research degrees start on four fixed dates throughout the year. To be considered for admission to a PhD research degree course at Nottingham Trent University and to start on one of these dates you must apply by the relevant application deadline shown in the tables below.

Please note, Nottingham Business School usually recruit for an October start date only.

Start dateRelevant application deadline
1 OctoberApply by 1 July
5 JanuaryApply by 1 October
1 AprilApply by 5 January
27 JuneApply by 1 April

For DPsych Professional Doctorates

Start dateRelevant application deadline
JanuaryApply by 2 October
OctoberApply by 1 August

For Professional Doctorates

Start dateRelevant application deadline
JanuaryApply by 1 November
AprilApply by 1 March

Research centres and strategic areas

School of Art & Design

Research centres

Strategic areas

  • Performing Process – Thinking in and through Practice
  • Global Perspectives on Fashion and Textiles
  • Design in Society

Strategic areas

Applications which focus on inequalities, activism, race and gender, are particularly welcome, with a single disciplinary lens or interdisciplinary approach.

Strategic areas

  • Urban and cultural heritage
  • Sustainable built environment
  • Innovation during product life cycle

School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences

Research centres

Strategic areas

  • Conserving ecosystems from environmental change
  • Sustainable agriculture
  • Innovations in animal health and welfare

Nottingham Business School

Research centres and strategic areas

Please refer to the Nottingham Business School PhD page for further details.

Strategic areas

  • Vulnerability and the Law
  • Sustainable Development Goals and Legal Implications
  • Conflict, the Law and Alternative Approaches

Strategic areas

Please refer to the Research Centres.

Strategic areas

  • Digital enabling technologies for health and wellbeing.
  • Imaging, sensing and Materials including applied AI and Machine learning.
  • Factors modulating metabolism for health and potential therapies to combat disease.