How to apply for postgraduate research programmes
Step 1: Find a research degree that you are interested in (identify the department in which you would like to study)
Please carefully read the information regarding the particular research degree, including the entrance requirements (such as Academic Qualifications and English Language), as well as any programme-specific requirements. You can also follow links to find out more about the departments and its research interests.
Step 2: Develop your research proposal
All MPhil and PhD, but not for Professional Doctorates
View some good examples of shortlisted projects from previous applicants:
The best applications are from those applicants who have identified one or more potential supervisors whose own work is directly relevant to the applicant’s research ideas. It may even be possible to obtain feedback on your draft proposal from them. However, given that many academics receive a lot of such requests, it may not always be possible to respond to all of them - and so is not an essential requirement.
If discussing your proposal with a potential supervisor, it may be preferable to limit this to just one person, to avoid confusion/conflicting advice. However, you may indicate other staff whose work may also be relevant to your proposal.
You can find detailed academic staff information on the relevant department website.
You must provide us with:
A thorough, comprehensive Research Proposal containing the following:
- Your name
- Proposed programme of study
- Tentative title of thesis
- Possible supervisor(s) (if known)
You should also include:
- Aims and objectives - set out the central aims and research questions that will guide your research. What questions are you trying to answer or hypotheses do you wish to test? When outlining your questions, prioritise one or two central questions from which you can derive secondary ones.
- Rationale - contextualise your questions/aims in a broader field of study, identifying the main literature or authors that you are addressing. You need to explain your research motivation: why these questions are important and topical?
- Methodology - explain how you are going to conduct your research; what information you would need, how you would collect it and how you are going to analyse it. This need only be indicative at the moment.
- Timeline – You don’t need to produce a detailed time plan, but it is helpful to provide a summary of what you are planning to do and when. You will be expected to submit your PhD thesis within three years (six years for part-time students) so it is important to think through whether the research project is feasible within this period (three years full-time, four years part-time for MPhil).
- Bibliography – a short bibliography of key publications related to your research question.
Your proposal should typically comprise up to 2,500 to 3,000 words (up to six pages). Please check the specific programme requirements
Step 3: Apply Online
All MPhil, PhD and Professional Doctorates
Ensure that you provide a full online application, having uploaded all the following documents (with authenticated translations into English if the originals are in your native language).
When scanning documents, please remember to scan both sides.
- Completed Application Form (relevant to the field of study).
- Scan of transcript(s) - both undergraduate and postgraduate (if applicable);
- with results to date, and
- if you are in your final year, a list of current subjects being studied.
- Scan of degree certificate(s) already awarded, or, a Scan of final transcript which must state that the qualification has been awarded - both undergraduate and postgraduate (if applicable).
- Scan of English language result (unless you are a native English speaker) – no older than two years from the proposed start date of your programme. For guidance on English status due to residency in an English-speaking country, or having studied in English, see the FAQ guide.
- Scan of two References. These ideally should be uploaded direct by your Referees (see information when completing your application form). Specifically:
- At least one must be an academic reference (if you are studying, or have studied, a postgraduate qualification, at least one reference should be from this institution).
- Second reference may be a second academic reference or someone who knows you in a relevant work context.
- Character or personal references are not accepted.
- If you have not been in academia in the past seven years then we may accept an appropriate work reference.
- All references must be a scan of the signed and dated letter, on official letter headed paper.
- It is your responsibility to ensure that referees submit their references in time for any funding deadlines.
- An up to date CV of approx. two sides A4 (1,000 words) including clear evidence relating to academic, personal and professional achievements (including any prizes that you may have received).
- For all applications who are also seeking funding - please complete the separate Funding Request From.
Step 4: Keep track of your application
Once you have submitted a full application (including all of Steps 2 and 3 above) you should expect to have a decision within six weeks of your application.
Ensure your references are submitted
You may wish to check with your referees that they have submitted their references.
Whilst completing your online application form, you will be asked to provide an email address for your referee(s) and whether or not you want the application system to automatically send an email to the referee(s) – if they agree, we would suggest that you advise them when you have applied and that, if they do not hear from the University, that they should check their ‘spam folders’ and, if necessary, to provide you with the reference for you to upload.
Keep track of your application
You will be able to follow the progress of your application using Application Tracker. Once you have completed the online form, we will provide you with a username and password which will enable you to access Application Tracker. Please make sure you check this regularly.
If your programme is not yet on Application Tracker, you will receive correspondence from the department responsible for your programme of study.
Withdrawing your application
We appreciate that sometimes circumstances change which might mean that you no longer wish to study at the University of Bath. We would very much appreciate it if you could inform us as soon as possible if you no longer wish to study at the University of Bath and/ or that you wish to withdraw your application.