How to apply for a PhD
A step by step guide
1.) Find out what’s available
You can browse our departments here to learn more about the research activity and expertise at Loughborough University. We also offer a number of part- or fully-funded studentships, which may be based either on a specific research project, or within a particular subject area.
2.) Check the entry requirements
Our entry requirements are usually based on a 2:1 undergraduate degree (or the overseas equivalent) in a related subject area. Please check our English language criteria here.
3.) Develop your research proposal
The research proposal is a short document that summarises the research you want to undertake. It will outline the question you intend to address, the subject background, your proposed research methods, and, importantly, will demonstrate how your research is original, and what it will contribute to the current understanding in the subject. You may also be required to include a bibliography, or your CV.
Different departments have different requirements for the proposal, so it is extremely important to contact the department in advance to discuss your ideas.
If you wish to apply for a studentship, you do not need to develop a research proposal; instead please quote the studentship reference number on your application.
4.) Find out about your potential supervisor(s)
Make contact with the department you would like to study with; if you already know the name of a potential supervisor, then make an appointment to meet. If not, contact the department’s research co-ordinator (contact details are available online) or the Research Student Office for guidance.
If you would like to see the university for yourself, you are also welcome to attend one of our Open Evenings, or Coffee Mornings.
6.) Check visa requirements
UK/EU students do not need a visa to study at Loughborough, but international students should check what is required and how to apply for their visa and other documentation. Find out more.
7.) Register for online application portal
Our online application portal is an easy way to manage your application. Once you have registered, you will be able to save, review and track your application’s progress.
8.) Complete the online application form
The online application form consists of 11 sections. You’ll need to provide your personal details, such as name and address, your nationality and how you plan to fund your studies.
You’ll also need to specify the type of programme you are applying for, i.e. a research programme, and select the department you wish to apply to from a dropdown menu. If applicable, you’ll also select which Centre for Doctoral Training you are applying to.
Please ensure if you are applying for a studentship that you quote the reference number.
We also request that you give details of the member of academic staff at the University with whom you have discussed your proposed research project.
The form requires details of the qualifications you have studied so far including your English language qualifications, and there’s a section to provide details of your work experience.
We require the contact details of two referees to support your application. One should be from your most recent academic qualification. The university will contact the referees directly.
We need copies of your supporting documents (such as certificates and transcripts) and you can attach these to your application by uploading them as an attachment via the Application Portal. If you are awaiting results then you can upload the documents you do have, and upload outstanding documents when they are available.
9.) What happens next?
You’ll receive an acknowledgement email and we’ll start to process your application. Please be aware that it usually takes a minimum of 6 weeks to assess your application.
We will keep in touch with you throughout this time, with news and information about the University, and don't forget you can log into the Application Portal to track the progress of your application.
If your application is successful, we’ll send you an email with details of any conditions (for instance, related to outstanding results). You should then log back into the Application Portal and accept our offer, which conditionally secures your place.
10.) Provide us with your results
If you were awaiting results when you applied, don't forget to upload your transcript when you receive them, as we cannot confirm your place without these documents. You will be sent a notification by email once your place is confirmed, followed, closer to the start of term, by information about your arrival at Loughborough, and your induction programme.