Friday, June 14, 2024

To PhD applicants

Thank you for your interest in applying for a PhD with us. We welcome applications for pursuing a PhD degree in our group at all times of the year.

We have a global outlook, so PhD students in our team have over the last decade included nationals from Cameroon, China, France, Germany, Greece, India, Macao, Malaysia, Pakistan, Poland, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Trinidad & Tobago, the UK, and the USA.

We are proud of the fact that the completion rate for PhD degrees pursued under our supervision is nearly 100%.

Candidates interested in joining us for postgraduate research contact us almost every day, but most applications do not provide enough information for us to give a meaningful response. When you contact us please keep in mind that the decision to take on a PhD student represents a serious commitment by the supervisor, and this decision will not be taken lightly. Competition for PhD study in our research group is very strong.

To help you with the process and maximise your chance of success we recommend you follow this process for applying to us:

[1] Contact the supervisor you are interested in working with by email. Attach a full academic CV (resume) and write a cover letter explaining why you wish to work with your chosen supervisor, particularly what areas of research you are interested in, and what your qualifications are to pursue this work. Most applicants should already at this stage provide their class rank in their previous/current University degree course. Normally only top students (rough guideline: top 5% of their class) are likely to be able to attract a bursary for overseas tuition fees, but your class rank may be less important if you have additional experience, for example, recent research experience, publications, industrial R&D. Include all information we should be aware of in the cover letter or in the CV/resume. The cover letter can be written in the body of the email.

The cost of overseas tuition fees is rarely covered by the research grants of academic staff. Overseas candidates should therefore additionally consider at this stage whether they can apply for funding that covers the tuition fees (currently between £16,000 and £20,000 per year, depending on the extent to which laboratory facilities and associated consumables are used). For outstandingly excellent applicants (typically candidates who completed their previous studies in the top 5% of the class at their previous University, and often with research experience that includes a scientific publication or two) we may be able to get part or, for exceptionally good candidates, even all the tuition fees covered through a scholarship funded by the University.

[2] If the prospective supervisor believes your application has a chance of success he/she will get back to you and you will start discussing possible research projects. You do not need to write a research proposal – we will assist you on developing a suitable project title.

[3] After an area for your research project has been agreed you must submit a formal application to the University. Follow this link to the submission system:

Note that you will need to supply various documents, including a full CV, transcripts from your previous degrees, references, proof of English language proficiency, and other documents specified in the application system. You must indicate in your submission which supervisor you wish to work with.

[4] A postgraduate admissions officer will then check your application and, if complete and satisfactory, send a copy to your chosen prospective supervisor.

[5] After reviewing your application the prospective supervisor will decide whether he/she will interview you. The University requires the successful completion of an interview before making any offer to you. The interview is best held in person, but with candidates outside the UK online videoconferencing systems (e.g. Skype) are often also used. In exceptional cases telephone interviews are also acceptable.

[6] On successful completion of the interview the prospective supervisor will recommend to the postgraduate admissions office that an offer letter is sent to you.

[7] On receipt of the offer letter most overseas applicants (i.e., applicants from outside the European Union) will now have to go through the process of applying for tuition fees funding. We will support you in this process if necessary. This is a helpful website:

We hope the above information gets you started on process that will lead to joining our team. Again, thank you for being interested in working with us – we hope you will find our guidance useful.