Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences

How to apply for a research degree in the Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences

Before you apply

Required documents and information

All students need Additional documents for International students
Degree certificate - provide a scan of your award (undergraduate, and postgraduate if applicable) Authorised translation of your degree certificates and transcripts if not in English 
Degree transcript - both undergraduate and postgraduate (if applicable) English language assessment certificate
Two references (it is your responsibility to chase these) - we do not accept character or personal references
  • One reference must be an academic reference from the institute where you have recently studied.
  • The second reference may be another academic reference, or from someone who knows you in a relevant work context if you have not studied for the last seven years.
A Research Proposal (approximately 1000 words) which must include:

  • Your name
  • Proposed programme of study
  • Tentative title of thesis
  • Name of intended supervisor (if known)
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Bibliography - a short bibliography of key publications related to your research question
An up-to-date CV (approximately 1,000 words or two sides of A4 paper) demonstrating clear evidence of academic, personal and professional achievements (including prizes received or papers published)  
You must have sufficient funding in place for your studies. You must provide an indication of your funding plans.  

Students can start at any time.

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UK/EU students

If you are a UK/EU student please apply at least two months before your intended start date.

Overseas students

If you are an overseas student then please apply at least five months before your intended start date. 


Step 1: Find a research area

Before you apply, you should have a topic you'd like to research. You can identify possible options through the relevant Graduate School web pages

Step 2: Identify a supervisor and develop your proposal

Depending on the subject you are interested in, you can apply to join a pre-defined research project or you may be expected to develop your own proposal. You must find an academic that will be able to supervise you, you can do this by viewing their staff profile. Your proposed research project must be related to the academic's research interests. If possible try to make contact and discuss your proposed research.

Step 3: Apply

To apply, you must use the online application form. You will be asked to create an account before you can start the process. On the application form you will be asked for:

  1. your personal details
  2. passport details if you need a Tier 4 visa
  3. intended start date
  4. your finance and funding plans
  5. education details
  6. proof of English level if English is not your first language
  7. details of your intended research and the name of your intended supervisor
  8. the names and contact details of your referees, including at least one from academia if you have recently been studying
  9. your supporting documents.

You can use the table at the top of the page to find out what you'll need. If you do not submit all the required documents, you will be asked for them later. If we do not receive these documents we will not be able to assess your application.


After you have applied

Track your application

You can check the progress of your application by logging into Application Tracker. You will be given log in details after you submit your application. If you forget your password, you can reset it.

You may be contacted to supply additional information or be invited to meet a potential supervisor to talk about your proposal.

We aim to make any decisions within 6 weeks of receiving applications and all the required supporting documentation.

Accepting your offer

We will let you know if your application has been successful via Application Tracker. If you have been successful you will be made an offer. You should accept or decline your offer through the tracker as soon as is possible.

Unconditional offer

You may be given an unconditional offer. This means you have met all the academic conditions we require. We are offering you a place. 

Conditional offer

You may be given a conditional offer. This means there may be requirements that you have not yet met but that we hope you will be able to do so. These requirements may include tests such as English language scores, degree results or satisfactory references.  You must meet these requirements and submit evidence of this via the Application Tracker to start your research with us.

If you have met the conditions of your offer, you will be contacted about the next steps.

Withdrawing applications

If your change your mind for any reason and no longer want to study at Bath, please contact the Graduate School to withdraw your application.