Applying for a Mphil/PhD

We’re delighted that you are considering applying for an MPhil/PhD or MPhil at Derby. Here is the process you need to go through.

  1. Check our entry requirements below
  2. Choose your research project — You can either choose to apply for one of our predefined research projects (see the current list of fully-funded or self-funded projects) or if none of those appeal, you can design your own research project. If you already have a body of published research (which may include creative works), you may be able to apply for a Mhil/PhD by Published Works
  3. Check our fees and funding information
  4. Apply online or if you are an international student, you may prefer to apply through an agent (fees may apply)
  5. If you have a disability or medical condition that may affect your study, please visit our applicants with a disability page for more information

Apply for a research degree online

Entry requirements

Academic requirements

We would normally expect you to have a First or Upper-Second (2:1) honours degree from a UK university, and preferably a master's degree from a UK university, or equivalent international qualifications, or qualifications and relevant experience that we consider to be equivalent.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language, we must also be satisfied that you have the necessary English language skills to undertake a research investigation.

You will need:

  • A minimum of IELTS (International English Language Testing System) level 7, with level 7 writing and a minimum level 6.5 in other elements (reading, speaking and listening)

Please note that English language certificates are only valid for two years.

You do not need to supply an IELTS certificate if you have completed a degree from a predominantly English-speaking country, as defined by the UKVI (UK Visas and Immigration) or if you have citizenship of a predominantly English-speaking country, as defined by the UKVI.

Due to COVID-19 many IELTS Test centres are closed, so during this period, we will also accept:

  • TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) — 100 overall, minimum 27 in writing, 20 in speaking and at least 19 in each of the other skills
  • Pearson Test of English (Academic) — 76 overall and a minimum of 71 in other skill areas
  • Cambridge English — 190 overall, a minimum of 190 in writing and 184 in other skill areas

Visa requirements

If you are an international student, you must have a valid UK visa to enrol onto a postgraduate research programme. Our International Team is happy to provide visa advice.

Applying for a visa can be a lengthy process and your enrolment may be delayed if you don’t have it in time. Please consider this when you are thinking about your start date.

ATAS (Academic Technology Approval Scheme)

If you are a non-UK/EU/EEA citizen, you may require an ATAS certificate to study at the University of Derby depending on your subject area. For more information, take a look at the academic subjects on the gov.uk website.

Deadlines for applications

For self-funded MPhils/PhDs

All deadlines for applications to start during the 2021/2022 academic year have now passed.

The deadlines for applications to start in the 2022/2023 academic year will be updated soon.

For funded MPhils/PhDs (studentships)

Please check individual studentship pages for the deadlines.

Admissions policies

You may also be interested in reading our University’s admissions policies.

What happens after you have applied?

It can take up to 12 weeks for a decision to be made about your application. This is what happens:

  1. Our Admissions Team will check your application is complete and that you have provided all the required documents and information. They will then forward it to the relevant College Research Committee Chair
  2. The College Research Committee Chair considers your application from an academic perspective. This includes ensuring that we can offer appropriate supervision and facilities for you
  3. You may be invited for an interview
  4. Your application will be accepted or rejected. If we can offer you a place, our Admissions Team will contact you directly. If your application is not successful, you will receive an email from our Admissions Team explaining why

If you receive an offer

Once you have been offered a place, you will develop your initial research proposal and agree with your supervisory team on the approach you will take to achieve your MPhil/PhD. You will provide a document which details the research proposal and forms the final evidence basis for the College to accept your application.

We will also send you information about enrolling at the University prior to your start date, whether you are enrolling on campus or online. You will need to pay any fees before your enrolment can be confirmed. If you are being sponsored, you must provide proof of sponsorship before you can enrol.

Extra conditions for international students

If you are an overseas applicant and we make you an offer, this will be a conditional offer subject to you:

  • Either paying a deposit of GBP £5,000 or providing a sponsor letter (the deposit will be deducted from your tuition fees when you enrol)
  • Providing a copy of your ATAS certificate (if applicable) and indicating a firm start date for your studies
  • Obtaining a student visa

When we receive the deposit, ATAS certificate and notification of the start date from you, we will then issue a Confirmation of Acceptance to Study Number, which you can use to obtain your student visa. If your visa application is subsequently rejected, please check our admissions policies.

Applying for a visa can be a lengthy process and your enrolment may be delayed if you don’t have it in time. Please consider this when deciding your start date. Our International Team is happy to provide visa advice or you can find out more about the student visa, on the UK Border Agency website.

Enrolment dates

For the academic year 2022/23:

  • September 2022 intake: The enrolment period is 30 August - 13 October 2022
  • January 2023 intake: The enrolment period is 11 January - 20 January 2023
  • March 2023 intake: The enrolment period is 13 March - 24 March 2023
  • June 2023 intake: The enrolment period is 5 June - 16 June 2023

Contact us

If you have any questions about applying, please contact us:

E: phdadmissions@derby.ac.uk 
T: +44 (0)1332 591167