Apply for a research programme
Have you found a supervisor?
Many of our departments require you to find a supervisor before you apply. Check with the department you intend to join in advance to see whether this requirement applies.
To apply for a postgraduate research programme (PhD, EngD, MD(Res)), you must use our online application system.
Once you have created an online account, you can search for the programme you want to apply for and start your application.
You don’t have to complete the application in one go. The system automatically saves your work during each session so you can edit the form as many times as you want before you submit your application.
When to apply
Our research programmes do not have a formal closing date – we have rolling start dates throughout the year depending on the department you wish to join.
You are strongly advised to contact a potential supervisor before applying. You may wish to provide the supervisor with a copy of your Curriculum Vitae (CV) and indicate what your proposed topic of study is, the potential start date and how you propose to fund the project.
If you are planning to apply for College funding, you need to be aware of the various closing dates for College awards. Use our scholarships search tool to search for scholarships you may be eligible for.
Each year, we offer 50 President’s PhD Scholarships, which do have a fixed closing date. Find out more on our Fees and Funding website.
You can only submit one application form in an academic year. You will have the option to apply for up to two programmes on one form.
We process your application for your first-choice programme first; we will only process your second-choice if your first-choice application is unsuccessful.
Some programmes are not available as a second choice and so will not appear in the second-choice list.
To show how you qualify for the programme(s) you are applying for, you will need to provide information about the higher qualifications you have achieved or which you’re currently studying.
All Imperial applicants must also show that they have a sufficiently good level of written and spoken English to meet the demands of our challenging academic environment. Find out more about our English language requirements for postgraduate study.
We can process your application more quickly if you upload scanned copies of the academic transcripts and certificates for the higher education qualifications you already hold when you apply.
If you receive an offer we may ask you to provide evidence of your previous qualifications as part of the conditions of your offer. Where this applies, you must send the original physical documents by post.
If you are completing a Staff Research application, you will need to ensure you submit a scanned copy of your contract with Imperial at the same time as your application.
You will need to provide the names of two people who can provide an academic reference in support of your application. An academic reference could be from, for example
- Your personal tutor
- Your thesis supervisor
- Your line manager in a research group
One academic and one relevant professional reference may be acceptable – contact the relevant Admissions team for confirmation before you apply.
There is no application fee for postgraduate research programmes.
Transfering from another institution
You may be permitted, in appropriate circumstaces, to transfer your research degree registration from another university to Imperial.
If your request is accepted, you would be required to follow a course of study at one of Imperial's campuses of not less than 12 months full-time (or 24 months part-time).
To find out more about the circumstances under which transfer is permitted, please download: Transfer of registration for research degree students [PDF].
Split PhD scheme
Our Split PhD scheme allows you to carry out some of your research abroad, either in the field or at an overseas institution. Find out more.
Partner Research Institution (PRI) Scheme
If you work in a public research institution, industrial research laboratory or at another university then you may be able to register for a PhD at Imperial but carry out the research where you work. Find out more about the PRI scheme and how to apply.