Before you apply

Check your eligibility for study

You need to ensure you are eligible to apply for a NHLI PhD or MD(Res) programme.

We accept:

  • External applicants (full-time or part-time study)
  • Imperial College London staff (part-time study only)*
  • NHS staff (part-time study only)

*Please note: Staff who are employed by Imperial College London have to complete the online application form. However, you will also need to upload a copy of your current contract with your application. As a member of staff, you are entitled to a discounted rate of fees for the period of time that your contract covers. If your contract does not cover the entirety of your study period, then you will be asked for a new contract when your original one ends. If this cannot be provided, you will revert to full student fees.

Identify and contact a supervisor

You need to:

  • identify and contact a supervisor and begin to outline a research project
  • apply for a studentship

Please read through the research interests of our Department to find out more about our supervisors and our research. Applications without a named supervisor will not be considered.

How to apply

Submit a College application online

Once you have identified a suitable supervisor, you will need to submit a formal application for admission via Imperial College London's online application site.

Course codes

  • PhD: A3Z1DH
  • MD(Res): A3P1DH

Full-time (FT) or part-time (PT) study

  • True part-time students are required to complete a Part-time student application (DOC)
  • Part-time students deviting 80-100% of their time to the programme will follow 'FT milestones'
  • Part-time students devoting 50-79% of their tome to the programme will follow 'True PT milestones'
  • All Imperial College London staff are considered part-time and must select the ‘Staff Research Students’ field in their application. However, they are still able to follow full-time milestones, if their supervisor agrees
  • NHS employees are always considered part-time students

Please note: You are not eligible to study if you can only devote less than 50% of your week’s time to the degree programme.

For further guidance when completing the form please refer to the College's postgraduate application webpages

Provide two referees

You will be asked to provide the contact details of two referees in your application. The reference should indicate your suitability to undertake a PhD or MD(Res). You cannot use your proposed supervisor(s) as referee(s).

Once your application is received, the referees will be sent a link via which they can submit their references. You will be able to see the status of your references through your account on the College’s online application site.

In case there are any problems or delays, references can be sent directly to as long it is sent by the referee from an official University or company email address (a Gmail or Hotmail account, for example, will not be accepted).

Please follow up any outstanding references as this will delay your application.

How we process your application

Initial processing by College Admissions team

Your application is assessed for eligibility by the Medicine Postgraduate Admissions team in the College. When this has been confirmed, the application is forwarded on to the Department (NHLI PGR Team) for consideration.

Processing by NHLI PGR team

Once your application is with NHLI PGR team there are several steps to the application:

  1. The proposed supervisor(s) must confirm that they are happy to consider you.
  2. The applicant and proposed supervisor(s) must complete the NHLI PGR registration form 2019 (DOC), detailing the proposed project, funding, start date and supervisory package.
  3. The NHLI PGR team will arrange an interview between you and a postgraduate research tutor. This is in addition to any interview your supervisors may have already conducted. This interview is to determine, independently from your supervisor(s), your potential to undertake a PhD or MD(Res) within NHLI.
  4. We are happy to receive the Research Proposal as part of the registration process; however, it can also be submitted up to six weeks after your start date. This should be prepared by you with input from your supervisor(s). You can see our Research proposal guide (doc) for advice on writing a research proposal.
  5. Only when approval is received from the Director of Postgraduate Studies can your application be accepted by the Department and sent to Medicine Postgraduate Admissions for processing.

Please note: For clinical postgraduate students, employment as a Clinical Research Fellow does not automatically guarantee registration for a higher degree.

Final processing by College Admissions team

The Admissions team at College will then process your offer; this may be conditional on you meeting certain requirements including the English language and academic entry requirements.

Processing timelines

  • Your start date should allow at least two clear calendar months from submitting your application.
  • Medicine Postgraduate Admissions will only allow backdating in exceptional circumstances and strictly no backdating beyond three months from when an unconditional offer is accepted.
  • The time it takes for the NHLI PGR team to process an application varies. You can work on the basis it will take about one month, though it could be longer, depending on your circumstances. Medicine Postgraduate Admissions may then take two to three weeks to process your offer. Please take this into account when submitting your application start date.