How to apply for research programmes



The first step on your path to postgraduate study is finding the right course or research area. Search our online prospectus to find your course:

Find research opportunities

Once you have found the course you are interested in, follow these steps to complete your application:

Before you apply

1. Check entry requirements

The entry requirements for our postgraduate programmes vary depending on the course. Please see the relevant course page on the online prospectus for further information and contact details.
Evidence of relevant personal, professional and educational experience may be taken into consideration – please contact the academic school directly for further information.

International students

International and EU students can find guidance on alternative qualifications and entry requirements for their country on our country-specific webpages.

English language requirements

If you are an international or EU student and English isn't your first language, you will need to meet the English language requirements for your chosen course. These vary depending on subject area and school, and you should contact the academic school directly for details. Please check our Quality Manual for further details of our English language entry requirements.

English language preparation and support

If you require additional support to take your language skills to the required level, you may be able to attend a presessional course at the Centre for English Language Education, which is accredited by the British Council for the teaching of English in the UK.


2. Investigate research opportunities

There are a number of ways to begin the process of applying for a research opportunity, depending on which path you decide to take:

Identify a specific supervisor

You may wish to identify a specific supervisor working in your field of interest and approach them directly to discuss your research idea. They may be able to help you with developing a research proposal and applications to secure funding. You will still need to submit a formal application to the University.

Search our Expertise Guide for a supervisor

Investigate our current research projects

Alternatively you may want to find out if research in your area of interest is taking place at the University and then apply directly to the relevant school, department or institute.

Apply for a studentship

If you are applying for a studentship (a fully funded research place in a specific area), the process is similar to applying for a job and the advert will give specific details of how to do this. Many of our studentships are advertised in the jobs section of our website, and you can also search and You may also need to submit a formal application for the course.

Search for current studentships on our jobs site

Find out about doctoral training opportunities

Doctoral training programmes deliver tailored high-level research and skills training for our postgraduate students and often offer funded placements. Each doctoral training programme has a different application process and deadlines for applications. You may also need to submit a formal application for the course online.

View our current doctoral training opportunities


3. Check key dates and deadlines

Home/EU students 

Research programmes usually recruit postgraduate students throughout the year, but it is worth checking if there are any closing dates for the project you are applying for.

If you are applying for a doctoral training programme, please check dates and deadlines for the centre you are applying to.

International students 

International students are advised to submit applications as early as possible. The deadline for courses starting on 1 October 2018 is 
17 August 2018

You will need to have an unconditional offer and be able to demonstrate you have secured sufficient funding before you can apply for your student visa. The student visa process is likely to take some time, so if you are outside the UK you will need to factor this in to the overall timescales. 

For an overview of the student visa application process, see the International Office's 7 Step Guide.

For more information on visa processing times see

Funding deadlines

An offer of study is required for many funding opportunities and students should check deadlines for applications carefully, as these are often early in the year. 

Course start dates 

Entry to most postgraduate programmes is available on five dates throughout the year:

  • 1 October
  • 1 December
  • 1 February
  • 1 April
  • 1 July

Please contact your school or department for details of specific start dates.



4. Write a research proposal

Your applications will usually include a research proposal. This will normally be between 1,000-3,000 words in length, and is judged on both content and the proposal format.

For help and advice on how to write a research proposal, see our How To guide.

You can also contact the relevant academic school or department directly as they may be able to provide extra information.


5. Apply for funding

There are lots of options and support available. Wherever possible you should secure funding for your studies before applying for a course. However, some scholarships, loans and funding schemes may require you to secure an offer of admission from the University before you apply for funding.

For more information on funding your postgraduate studies, visit our funding webpages.

You can also check the course details on our online prospectus for any specific funding that might be available, or contact the school/department directly to find out about any other funding opportunities.

International and EU students

The University offers a range of masters and research scholarships for international and EU students. An offer of study is needed for most scholarships and closing dates are often early in the year. See our  scholarship webpages for more details.


6. Submit an application

The online application system is the quickest and easiest way of applying to The University of Nottingham and also allows you to follow the progress of your application for postgraduate study.

The online postgraduate application system:

  • enables you to fill out a standard application form online
  • submit your application to the University immediately
  • ensures that your application is not delayed or lost in the post
  • issues an automatic acknowledgement of receipt of your application

In addition, when you have submitted your postgraduate application, you can:

  • view its progress by using the online tracking system
  • access extra information about Nottingham and the University


You will be required to provide two references as part of your application. At least one of these will need to be able to comment on your academic ability.

Supporting documents

You will need to provide supporting documents as part of your application, including your degree certificate and transcripts. 

You can upload scanned copies of any documents that are required as part of your application. Please do not send original copies in the post.


Apply online


Other ways to apply

If you are unable to apply using our online application system, you can either:

When you have completed your application form, return it to Postgraduate Admissions:

Postgraduate Admissions
The University of Nottingham
Gatehouse Lodge
Wollaton Hall Drive
Derby Road
t: +44 (0)115 951 4749


After you apply

7. Track your application

If you apply through our online system you can log in at any time to track the progress of your application.

When we have made a decision on your application we will send you an email to tell you what that decision is and what you need to do next.

There is lots of information about the University and Nottingham that you can access in our Postgraduate applicants' area, as well as details on accepting your offer, accommodation and other helpful hints and tips.

You may be contacted ahead of your course start date with further information about your course and the University.  



Contact us

Postgraduate Admissions
The University of Nottingham
Gatehouse Lodge
Wollaton Hall Drive
Derby Road
+44 (0)115 951 5559


Apply online

How to write a
research proposal

Postgraduate funding

Graduate School

International applicants


Student Recruitment Enquiries Centre

The University of Nottingham
King's Meadow Campus
Lenton Lane
Nottingham, NG7 2NR

t: +44 (0) 115 951 5559
f: +44 (0) 115 951 5812
w: Frequently asked questions
Make an enquiry