Frequently asked questions
Funding and finance
What are the possibilities for funding?
There are various routes for funding, depending on whether you are an overseas applicant or a UK or EU applicant. The Department usually has approximately 5 competitive Doctoral Training Award (DTA) full studentships from the EPSRC each year, for UK and EU applicants who meet the requirements. Many of our research groups are always interested in recruiting outstanding PhD students and some members of academic staff also offer project-specific PhD studentships, so it is always worth getting in touch with a potential supervisor to explore project ideas and funding. Prospective students are also able to apply for various College, external and international scholarships.
How likely is it I would get a DTA if I am eligible?
If you have a strong application, including a research project proposal agreed with a supervisor, and you meet the residency requirements, then there is a good chance you will get an award. There are also a number of potential funding routes for EU students. It is recommended that you apply by 1 April if you wish to be considered for a DTA.
How many successful applicants get a College scholarship each year?
This depends on the number of applicants across the College as well as on the number of awards the College has available and both of these vary from year to year.
What is the deadline for the Imperial College PhD Scholarship Scheme?
Information about the deadlines for submitting an application, and further details about how to apply, can be found on the Imperial College PhD Scholarship Scheme page. Please note that you must have already contacted a supervisor and agreed a research proposal with them before applying, and you should ensure you follow the guidance notes on how to apply for the Scholarship scheme.
How many students do you accept each year?
The Department recruits an average of about 60 PhD students each year.
What is the deadline for PhD applications?
Normally, an application should be received at least by the end of June if it is to be processed in time for entry the following October. However, we do accept applications through the year. When applying, please be aware that specific studentships may have additional deadlines.
If I'm accepted, can I start at any time?
Yes, usually, PhD students are able to start at any time.
Can I defer until the following year?
This will depend on the supervisor. For example, the PhD topic may be linked to a grant and so cannot be delayed.
What happens to my application after I have submitted it?
After making an application the Registry reviews your application. The Department also reviews the application. You may be invited to an interview and/or need to provide additional information to the College. If your application is successful an offer will be made to you. For more information please see our ‘How to Apply’ page.
What should I put in the research statement?
Your research project proposal should be agreed with your potential supervisor prior to submitting your application form. You could consider including information about:
- Motivation for the research
- Research issues you intend to address during your PhD
- Your initial ideas on the research methodology
You should refer to existing scientific literature where appropriate and mention any relevant previous work that you have carried out (if any).
The research statement does not constitute a commitment to carry out the exact research work that you have described, as this may change after acceptance and further discussions with your supervisor
How can I optimise my chances?
It is important to apply in plenty of time as some supervisors/areas are very popular and places may be filled early in the year. You are also strongly encouraged to contact potential supervisors in advance of submitting your application and to agree your research project proposal with them, otherwise your application will not be considered. When you submit your application, please ensure you include all the required documentation as per guidelines issued by the Registry. This is to ensure your application can be processed as efficiently as possible.
What should I do if I don't get a response about my application?
It can take several weeks, depending on the volume of applications, for your application to be processed by Registry before it is released to us. If you don't hear anything from us after 4 weeks you should contact Registry (firstname.lastname@example.org or +44 (0)20 7594 7243) who will forward your query to us.
I don't know what I want to do my PhD in, what should I do?
You could browse the different research group web pages in the Department and have a look at the webpages of the staff members. This will give an overview of their research topics.
You could consider taking the MSc in Advanced Mechanical Engineering, depending on your background. This would give you an opportunity to pursue potential interests through courses and a project prior to committing to a PhD. Please contact the Postgraduate Administrator if you have queries about the suitability of your background for PhD study.
If you are currently studying in the Department you should keep your personal tutor abreast of your plans and seek his/her advice.