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How to apply

At NTU we offer opportunities for self-funded, part-funded and fully-funded PhDs, as well as Professional Doctorates. How you apply differs slightly depending on the type of Research Degree you are applying for.

Preparing a PhD application

Researcher working at desk

You can either apply for one of our PhD projects or submit your own proposal.

Our advertised projects will list the supervisors and how the PhD will be funded. If you are proposing your own project, you will need to find a supervisor and secure your own funding.

On the application form there is a section for your research proposal. When applying for an advertised project, the title has already been developed. The research proposal section of your application should therefore focus on your understanding of the project’s significance and impact, along with the approach you would take.

In all cases, we recommend you discuss your research ideas with a potential supervisor before submitting your application.

Ready to apply now? Head over to our application portal.

Preparing a Professional Doctorate application

If you are applying for a Professional Doctorate you don't need to find a supervisor, but you will need to produce a research proposal. Read your course page carefully as this details advice on what to include. You will need to outline how your research topic will be applied to your professional practice. If you are thinking about studying part-time, contact the Doctoral School and course leader for advice on whether a part-time PhD or Professional Doctorate would be best for you.

Learn more about Professional Doctorates at NTU

When to apply

Our PhDs have four intakes per year and Professional Doctorates have two. Here's the application deadlines for the available start dates:


Start dateApplication deadline
October 20231 July 2023
January 20241 October 2023
April 20245 January 2024
June 20241 April 2024

Nottingham Business School: October is the only intake for PhD projects in NBS.

DPsych Professional Doctorate

Start dateApplication deadline
October 20231 August 2023
January 20242 October 2024

Other Professional Doctorates

Start dateApplication deadline
January 20241 November 2023
April 20241 March 2024

How to apply

The steps below outline the application process. When you're ready, click the relevant button at the bottom of the page to be taken through to our application system. There are different applications depending on the type of Research Degree you are applying for, so read the description carefully.

If you have any questions, contact the Doctoral School.

Before you start your application, make sure you read and meet the entry requirements.

  • PhD: you should normally hold a first or upper second class honours degree from a UK university or an equivalent qualification. We also accept a lower second class honours degree with a Masters degree at Merit level from a UK university or an equivalent qualification.
  • Professional Doctorates: you will be well-qualified in your chosen field and will normally have a related Masters degree or equivalent qualification, together with sufficient professional experience in the relevant field.
  • English language requirements: if English isn't your first language, 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). Find out more about the English language requirements for undertaking research at NTU.

Full details on criteria for doctoral study at NTU can be found in the Quality Handbook Section 11 - Research Degrees.

Click on "Start your application" when you've read this guide, to be taken to our application channel. Here you will create an account and begin your application.

  • Select ‘Not registered yet? Sign up here’ and create an account with a username and password.
  • You don’t have to complete your application all at once –  keep your login details safe so you can log back in whenever you want.

Our Research Degree application channel is developed and hosted by the company SurveyMonkey and your data will be collected by them. Work your way through the application form, making sure you:

  • upload evidence of your qualifications (if you have them);
  • provide details of English language qualifications if English is not your first language;
  • fill in your proposed supervisor, academic school or research centre alignment, if you know this;
  • provide a summary of your proposed research topic (maximum 250 words);
  • complete your research proposal (maximum 1,500 words or 500 words for Science and Technology). Read our guide on writing research proposals;
  • write your personal statement (maximum 500 words), detailing your previous experience, interest in your research topic and the skills that will enable you to deliver the project successfully and on time.

Provide the names and contact details of two referees (this cannot be your proposed supervisor). We accept references that arrive after your application.

Upload any additional documents that support your application. This includes:

  • Certificates and transcripts: you'll need to make sure the actual or (provisional) grade, grade point average or mark percentage is included. These should be translated into English if required. If you have not finished your current course, 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.
  • English language requirements: if English is not your first language, upload any documents that evidence how you meet the NTU English language requirements for undertaking postgraduate research. If you are submitting an IELTS report, make sure the date of the test is not older than two years.
  • Professional experience: include any relevant certification of professional experience, publications, written reports or other appropriate evidence of accomplishment.

We are 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.

Any data that you provide in this section will not be used in the assessment of your application, but is a requirement of the application process.

View information about the Terms, Conditions and Regulations that applies to offers made by the University.

Review your application carefully and when you are ready click 'review and submit'.

Apply now

NTU Doctoral applications

Apply for a PhD project, self-funded PhD proposal or a Professional Doctorate. Open to UK and International candidates throughout the year.