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how to study for a phd in uk

How Do I Apply for a PhD in UK?

February 12, 2016

The PhD is the highest level of degree certificate any student can achieve, and with its reputation for excellent PhD courses and facilities many international students are choosing the United Kingdom as their first choice for a PhD application. But what are the criteria for potential PhD students in the UK, and how might an international student begin to apply?\r\n\r\n

Choosing Your PhD Provider

\r\nDoing research into the various institutions which offer your chosen PhD course is vital, as not only will you need to find an appropriate campus and facilities, you must also choose a PhD supervisor wisely. The relationship between a PhD student and supervisor is key to ensuring the successful completion of any PhD course, so you should try to meet as many of your potential collaborators as much as possible. Potential supervisors include lecturers, university affiliated researchers, or external academics.\r\n \r\nTo initiate such a meeting you should enquire politely to your chosen academic and state your research aims in a brief and formal fashion. British etiquette requires you to be respectful yet direct in your correspondence, and if you do not receive a response you must follow up in an equally polite fashion. Some individuals may not have the time or inclination to respond to your proposal, so avoid multiple attempts if this is the case.\r\n \r\n

Requirements For PhD Study in UK

\r\nThe majority of PhD students have achieved at least a 2:1 at undergraduate level; and several programs also require the possession of a Masters degree. A PhD is designed for those committed to academic excellence with a track record of thorough independent study to prove it. It is highly likely that you will also have to provide a detailed research proposal to the university before you are accepted.\r\n \r\nIf you have taken your prior qualifications in another nation you will likely be required to demonstrate your proficiency in the English language. This can be done via IELTS or TOEFL tests, and certain courses have score criteria which you must achieve to gain admittance.\r\n \r\n

Research Proposals

\r\nA successful PhD research proposal outlines what you hope to study during your time on the project, and reveals the methodology you will use to further investigate this topic. Many universities have their own individual guidelines on how to present this proposal, but if they do not it is a good idea to ask the department for some previous successful examples. \r\n \r\nMeeting with research supervisors is also a good way to find out if your current proposal suits your intended course of study.\r\n \r\n

How Long Does a PhD in the UK Take to complete?

\r\nThose who successfully enrol onto a PhD course may be registered for a Masters of Philosophy degree which lasts for one or two years. If this period is completed successfully your work is transferred to a PhD programme. \r\n \r\nIf not then you will be invited to finish your project as an MPhil qualification. Altogether it will take three years to acquire a full PhD if taken as a full-time course, although there are four-year full-time and six-year part-time courses available also.\r\n \r\n

What Are The Costs?

\r\nEU students pay between £3000 and £6000 to complete a PhD in the UK. A PhD for international students who come from outside of the EU costs more than this, and may reach well into five figures at some universities. There are often discounts for students who have studied at the same institution previously, as with Edinburgh University who offer a 10% course fee reduction for returning undergraduates. \r\n \r\nMany PhD students who wish to study at a different institution often look towards scholarships as a way of funding their studies. The UK has seven research councils which offer funding for selected projects, and there are a range of other scholarships available via specific government grants, voluntary organisations, and often the university itself.\r\n