Supporting documents for your PhD application

Along with your proposal, you will also be asked to provide supporting documents.

Academic CV

An academic CV is similar to one you would use in the professional world, but there are extra features to consider.

  • Your academic CV will not be as brief as a professional CV, but usually no more than four pages.
  • Your academic CV should be tailored to each application.
  • In terms of content, think about past research activities and interests.
  • You could make reference to any publications, conferences attended/contributed to or funding you may have been awarded.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language you will need to provide evidence that you have a good command of the English language before commencing your PGR degree. This may be evidenced by an English Language Qualification or if your undergraduate/Masters degree was taught and examined in English.

Find out more about English language requirements.

Transcripts and degree certificates

Academic transcripts provide full details of subjects studied and grades/marks attained for both your first and highest degrees at point of application. If your transcript is not in English you should also supply a certified translation. If you have not completed your degree yet, you will be asked to upload an interim transcript to show your grades so far. You will be required to upload your degree certificates for any completed degrees.


In your application for a place of study at Stirling, you may upload your academic reference, if you do not, you must upload details of a suitable reference, and we will request a reference before a place is offered. All letters of academic reference must be on headed paper and dated. A letter of reference should include the following information, and you must be clear that your referee is aware of this.

  • In what capacity have they known the applicant, and for how long? For previous students or employees, please also indicate how long ago.
  • Assess, as appropriate, the applicant’s abilities in terms of: analytical reasoning; ability to grasp concepts; ability to work independently; ability to argue cogently; originality; industry; motivation; perseverance; breadth of interest; technical competence.
  • Comment, as appropriate, on the applicant’s responsiveness to supervision/mentoring; responsiveness to constructive criticism, capacity for self-evaluation; ability to work with others; ability to organise work.
  • Comment on any academic or professional experience that you consider relevant to the qualification applied for.
  • If appropriate, indicate how confident you are that the applicant is likely to complete successfully the qualification aimed for. Please indicate how strongly you are supporting this application: not strongly, strongly or very strongly.
  • If appropriate, comment on any postgraduate study or other forms of training already undertaken or in progress.
  • If the applicant has yet to graduate, please indicate the degree result that, in your opinion, would most accurately reflect the applicant’s abilities.
  • If possible, indicate the applicant’s ranking compared to other students on the same course or compared to other students you have taught (for example, 5th in a class of 80 students; in the top 15 per cent of students taught).

For our PhD programmes in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, we request that candidates submit an example of their own writing. Requirements for each of our programmes in Arts and Humanities are given below. Your writing example should be uploaded to your PhD application in the ‘other documents’ section along with your CV etc. If you have any queries, please contact in the first instance.

PhD in creative writing

For Creative Writing projects, please upload a sample of creative writing, in English, of approximately 3000 words (prose fiction or non-fiction) or approximately 8 poems. This sample should showcase your abilities as a writer, but also reflect your ability to write to a PhD standard. We may, further, ask to see a sample of academic or self-reflexive writing, but initial consideration will be on the strength of your creative work.

PhD in English Studies, Publishing Studies, French, Linguistics, Religion, Spanish, Translation Studies, Global Cinema

Please upload a sample of academic writing, in English, of approximately 3000 words. This sample might be, for example, a chapter of your Masters dissertation, one of your best undergraduate essays, or any other piece of academic prose that you feel reflects your ability to carry out PhD study successfully. It should be related to the broad topic that you hope to study for your doctoral project.