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How to apply

Although often intellectually exciting, doctoral research can also be a very demanding process and a very different experience to studying on a taught programme.

We will only admit students whom we are very confident will be able to complete their doctoral research within the appropriate period of time (three to four years full-time; five to seven years part-time).

Entry requirements

  • A good undergraduate degree (high 2:1 or 1st), and a Masters degree in a subject relevant to their proposed research (preferably at Distinction level).
  • A clearly worked out research proposal, which identifies the context, questions and methods of their project in a way that demonstrates an understanding of key literature and debates in that field.
  • Applicants must be certain that they will have sufficient time and financial support to be able to devote enough time to their research (on average 35 hours per week full-time, 18 hours per week part-time).
  • For students wanting to undertake empirical research, it is advantageous to have previously undertaken relevant research methods training, although training in quantitative and qualitative methods can be provided in the College through the period of your research.

Identify a supervisor

  • If you are thinking of applying to undertake doctoral research in our department, then look at the areas of research expertise for our staff to check that there is someone who might be interested in acting as a supervisor for your project.

Make a pre-application enquiry

  • Once you have identified a supervisor, you may wish to email them directly to see if they would be interested in your project, or if you cannot see a particular staff member who might be appropriate for this then email the Director of Graduate Studies, Amber Jacobs ( who will be able to advise you further.
  • Even at the initial point of contact with our Department, it would be helpful if you have at least a 200-word summary of your proposed research project so that we can make an informed judgment about whether project is something that we could take on. Potential supervisors may also be happy to have an informal meeting with you to discuss your project before you submit a formal application.
  • It is usually worth making informal contact with the Director of Graduate Studies ( to check the suitability of your academic background or project before submitting a formal application form to the College.

Submit a formal application

  • You make a formal application online by following the link at the bottom of the MPhil/PhD programme page.
  • We ask applicants to submit a 2000 word research proposal with their application form setting out the academic context of the project, its core research questions and theoretical framework and its methodology.
  • On receipt of the application form, suitable candidates will be invited for interview, after which we are usually able to let you know very quickly whether or not your application has been successful.