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How to apply for
our research degrees

If you’ve got the drive and the potential to join our ground-breaking research community here’s how you can apply for a research degree at the University of Stirling.

Are you qualified?

Our general entry requirements for our research degree programmes are:

  • an upper second class honours Bachelors degree or higher qualification. For some studentships and programmes of study a suitable masters degree may be specified
  • if your first language is not English you’re required to show English language competency equivalent to the minimum level of IELTS 6.5 (6.0 in all bands). Some subjects require a higher level of English language competency
  • a research proposal that is appropriate for the degree and agreed with the proposed lead supervisor

Your entry can also depend on the availability of suitable supervisory and resource arrangements.

How to apply

Follow these steps to apply for a research degree at Stirling.

  • Step 1: research overview and research proposal

    You should already have a good idea of what you what to study. You’ll need to produce a full research proposal as part of the application process. If you haven’t prepared a full research proposal yet, then please put together a research overview which covers the following areas:

    • Your overarching research question - what are you trying to address with this research?
    • Your experience in the area of study. Tell us how you developed your interest in your chosen topic.
    • Any specific ideas about how you intend to approach your research or any techniques you plan to use.
    • Any other relevant information (e.g. funding you are applying for).

    Your prospective supervisor will support you in refining and finalising your research proposal.

  • Step 2: find a supervisor

    You need to find and contact a supervisor by using our Find a Supervisor search. You can search by research area or faculty.

    Once you’ve found a potential supervisor, click on the 'Express Interest' button, fill out the form and attach your research proposal or interview.

    Your chosen supervisor will be in touch with you to let you know if they are able to supervise.

    If you’re unable to find a supervisor then please contact Graduate Admissions for further guidance.

  • Step 3: finalise your research proposal

    Once your chosen supervisor has agreed to consider your research idea they’ll help you finalise your research proposal.

  • Step 4: agree a start date

    You’ll need to agree potential start dates with your supervisor. Our preferred dates throughout the year are 1 January, 1 April, 1 July or 1 October.

    If you’re an international student and need a Tier 4 (General) student visa to study in the UK then make sure you leave enough time to apply for and secure a visa before your chosen start date.

  • Step 5: submitting your application

    The main way to apply is online on our portal.

    If you are an international student you may also be able to apply through an international agent.

    You’ll need to send the following documents to the Admissions Office as soon as possible after submitting your application:

    • transcripts (in English) of all post-school study
    • copies of all qualifications/certificates (originals are not required)
    • one reference – this can be sent directly to the Postgraduate Admissions Office by the referee. The reference should be on letter-headed paper or on the reference request form (pdf).
    • your research proposal

    If you’re an EU or International students you must also submit:

    • a translated version of your transcript (if necessary)
    • evidence of English language proficiency (if relevant)

    International students who require a visa to enter the UK must also provide:

    • a copy of the personal details page of your valid passport
    • a copy of your current Tier 4 (General) student visa, if you are currently studying in the UK
  • Step 6: accept the offer of a place

    If you satisfy the entry requirements we’ll write to you to offer you a place. We’ll let you know how to accept the offer and what you’ll need to know to start at Stirling.

When to apply

You can apply up to one year before you want to start your research degree. We can accept completed applications up to just before the start of semester, but we advise early application, particularly from overseas applicants, to allow sufficient time for our decision and to arrange visas and travel.

There are no deadlines as we consider applications throughout the year. 

You can normally begin a research programme (PhD/MPhil) in October, January, April or July.

We recommend that international candidates who require a Tier 4 (General) student visa to study in the UK should apply at least 8 weeks in advance of your course start date. 

EU applicants

If you commence your studies in 2018 or 2019, the UK Government has confirmed that you’ll remain eligible to apply for Research Council PhD studentships at UK institutions to help cover costs for the duration of your study. The Research Councils UK (RCUK) currently provides fees-only funding.

Graduate admissions

If you have any questions about postgraduate study please contact us.

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