PhD Application Process

By choosing the University of Suffolk, postgraduate students can have the opportunity to benefit from working with academic specialist supervisors in their respective fields who have an outstanding track record of leading national and international research. Post-graduate researchers acquire in-depth knowledge, expertise and experience in a particular subject through original investigation. As a research student at the University of Suffolk, we will help you develop the advanced analytical, critical thinking and problem-solving skills you will need for your study and future career.

At Suffolk, we accept postgraduate research students on a rolling basis. Successful applicants for postgraduate research degrees will begin their programme of study at the beginning of the next suitable month. We have detailed below each step of the application process for potential research students and the Graduate School will advise you at each step of the process. You can also find for detailed information in our Research Proposal and Guidance section.

Our research degrees are awarded by the University of Brighton.

Applicants for postgraduate research degrees are expected to hold a Bachelors (Honours) degree, graded at 1 or 2:1, awarded by an institution or body with degree awarding powers in the UK or equivalent from a recognised overseas institution. 

Postgraduate Research Application Form

This needs to be submitted directly to the Suffolk Doctoral College at along with the research proposal. There is no prescriptive structure for a research proposal and it is understood that proposals do differ according to subject area and topic, but the proposal should be no shorter than 1000 words but no longer than 2000 words and include:

• Working title
• Summary of the aims and objectives of the research
• An outline of the ways the aims and objectives will be met, referring to research methods and specific resources
• Evidence of an awareness of relevant literature and theoretical approaches
• An overview of the expected outcomes and the original contribution the research will make to existing bodies of knowledge
• A timescale for the research and an awareness of the need for good planning.

The research proposal is a very important part of your application. The proposal will be read by academics who may be able to act as your research supervisor. In order for them to be able to assess whether they could be an appropriate member of staff and provide high quality guidance and supervision of your research project, they will need to receive a good research proposal. This proposal should not exceed 2000 words (excluding references).

We have provided full details in the Research Proposal and Guidance

If, following the submission of your research proposal and application form, it is decided to move forward with your application, you will be asked to send the following supporting documents to the Graduate School:

  1. Transcript of your university-level studies to date 
  2. Copies of certificate (s) for any degrees or awards that have been completed 
  3. Your CV
  4. Scan of your passport photo page
  5. Your IELTS (International English Language Testing System) (or equivalent) certificate (if your first language is not English)
  6. Equal Opportunities Monitoring Form 


As an applicant you must provide contact details for two referees, at least one of whom must be academic. Referees will be contacted in the event that you are invited to attend an interview.

To study for a postgraduate research degree you will need to have a good command of English. If English is not your first language we require evidence of your ability unless you can demonstrate that your previous education and qualifications have been in the English Language medium. The English language requirement for study at postgraduate research level is a minimum IELTS score of 6.5 in each area.

All applicants will be interviewed before there can be an offer of a place as a research student at University of Suffolk. Interviews will normally be held online. Applicants will be contacted prior to the interview to arrange suitable dates and times. The interview will provide you with an opportunity to meet your potential supervisory team discuss your research proposal further, assess your ability and potential to succeed and assess whether there are sufficient resources and facilities available to support the project appropriately. The interview will last for approximately an hour.

Students are interviewed by a panel consisting of at least two appropriately trained and research active academic staff who are members of the anticipated supervisory team, and a representative from the Graduate School.  Interviews are usually conducted online (normally via Microsoft Teams).

Following a successful interview and confirmation that any outstanding requirements of admission have been met, the University of Suffolk will send you a formal offer via the Graduate School office. On acceptance of this offer the Graduate School will send full details of enrolment and induction to you.