Frequently asked questions

If you're applying for a doctorate or other type of research degree, you no doubt have a lot of different questions before you even get started. Find the answers to common queries below.

Frequently asked questions

When is the deadline to accept my offer and meet any outstanding conditions?

If you have made the decision to join us, we encourage you to accept your offer and provide evidence that you meet any outstanding conditions as soon as possible, so that we can ensure the necessary arrangements are in place for you before the start of term and you have enough time to prepare for your studies.

I can’t get hold of the additional information that you’ve requested in order to consider my application further. What should I do?

We understand that there may be delays sourcing the information we need to consider your application (e.g. references, certificates). We are aiming to be as flexible as possible so if you will need extra time to gather requested information, please contact the Doctoral College Office to let us know that there will be a delay.

What are the English language requirements? What can I do if I haven't fully met these yet?

All students are required to meet a minimum standard of English language ability and some departments require a higher minimum level. See our list of English language requirements for more information. 

There is no need for you to have completed your English language qualifications before you apply – most students are made offers conditional on achieving particular grades in their English language test.

If you have not fully met the English language requirements asked for in your offer, it is possible that the school/department may allow you to take one of our English language pre-sessional programmes.

Not all schools/departments will allow students to take an English language pre-sessional programme, so you should check the guidance carefully.

I've completed my studies but haven't graduated yet

We realise that some universities don’t hold their graduation ceremonies until later in the year. We can accept a copy of your final transcript plus a letter from your university to confirm that you have completed your degree and giving your final grade. We call this an award letter and it replaces the degree certificate.

How will my interview take place?

All doctoral research applicants are required to attend an interview as part of the application process. Interviews will take place remotely (by Skype or over the telephone) until further notice.

Can I visit the University before I start?

When government guidance allows, we may be able to offer socially distanced tours of our Loughborough campus. Find out more.

If you are interested in visiting the London campus, please contact

If you are unable to visit us in person, you can get a feel for life as a doctoral researcher at our Loughborough and London campuses by visiting our location pages of the online prospectus and interacting with our 360 degree tours. You can also watch our Loughborough campus tour video here, and take a look inside our London campus here.

Please see our events page for up-to-date information on our latest events, including details of web chats where you can get to know our staff and students and ask any questions you may have.

Can I defer my start date?

Given the current circumstances, we understand that some applicants may be considering deferring their entry. While we are considering deferral requests in the usual manner, we would encourage applicants who had not originally intended to defer their place to take adequate time to fully assess the situation and make an informed decision about their future plans, before choosing to defer.

For doctoral researchers who wish to defer, we are able to offer alternative start dates in January, April and July 2021. Applicants can request to defer entry at any point, so there is no rush to make this decision right away.

Will I need an ATAS Certificate?

If you are not a UK national or settled in the UK and plan to undertake postgraduate study in the UK in certain science, engineering or technology subjects, you will need an ATAS certificate before you can apply for a visa or entry clearance. This will be clarified in your offer.

Find out more about ATAS certification here.

When do research programmes start?

There are four available start dates for postgraduate research courses during the academic year:

  • 1 October
  • 1 January
  • 1 April
  • 1 July

What funding options are available for research students?

Some projects have attached funding, such as a Loughborough University or UK research council studentship, but if your doctoral degree does not have attached funding, there’s a range of options available.

Our Alumni Bursary offers a 20% discount on tuition fees to Loughborough alumni who are self-funding their research project.

For UK nationals ordinarily resident in England, you could borrow up to £26,445 to cover the cost of your PhD or equivalent research programme with the UK Government PhD Loan. This can be used to pay for tuition fees or living costs.

Other sources of funding are also available through independent organisations and external bodies, charities and trusts. 

To check whether you are eligible to apply for these or to view your other funding options, please visit our website.

To supplement your income during your studies, there’s a range of opportunities available. You could become a subwarden in one of our halls of residence or represent the University as a Student Ambassador. Both the University and the Students’ Union list several vacancies, whilst our Careers Network can provide advice on finding and obtaining part-time work.

Please note that if you will be studying on a student visa (also known as the Student Route), you must not exceed limits on the number of hours you are permitted to work by UK Visas and Immigration.