How to apply
We are very pleased that you are considering applying for our PhD Bioengineering programme and look forward to receiving your application. The PhD application process is outlined below:
- Check the Imperial College entry requirements to ensure you meet the minimum entry criteria for research.
- Visit the research and academic staff pages of the Bioengineering website to identify topics of interest and appropriate supervisors.
- Contact your chosen supervisor(s) directly, to devise or discuss potential projects.
- Make your official PhD application via the Imperial College online application system. Make sure you state your chosen topic and supervisor(s) on the form and details of any department/College funding you may be applying for, as well as attaching all necessary documents.
NB: the Research Proposal attachment should be more of a cover letter or personal statement and a maximum of two pages. In this document, please discuss your motivation for undertaking a PhD, the broad field or research area in which you are interested as well as how this aligns with that of your proposed supervisor.
- Your proposed supervisor will contact you to arrange for an interview.
- After your interview, your supervisor will tell you if they would offer a PhD position and/or would be nominating you for funding (if appropriate).
- You can expect to receive a decision on your application within 8-10 weeks of applying (the application can be tracked via your Student e-Service account.
Please note that for applications to the B-DTP, it would be helpful to identify and mention 2-3 projects of interest from our DTP project list if you have no preferred supervisor you would like to work with.
- Visit the B-DTP projects, research and academic staff pages of the Bioengineering website.
- However, we will still encourage applicants to make contact with supervisors directly, particularly if they are also applying for the President's PhD Scholarship Scheme. How the funding works for the B-DTP is covered here.
More details about the applications steps
Graduates with a degree in engineering, any of the physical sciences, mathematics, biological sciences, physiology or medicine may be accepted for a PhD. We will normally only accept applicants with a good 2:1 or 1st class degree from a UK university, or non-UK equivalent.
PhD applications can be made all year-round for the four eligible start dates of the first Mondays of the academic year, October, January, April and July. We encourage you to apply early, approximately a year prior to your proposed start date. Specific application deadlines apply if applicants would like to be considered for scholarships. Such deadlines are driven by the funding requirements.
There will be an initial round of funding consideration for applications submitted by early November. We would particularly advise all students requiring funding to apply by the January deadline at the very latest.
Deadlines for those wishing to be considered for funding for entry in the 2024-25 academic year are:
- Applicants who apply by 23:59 (UK time) 6 November 2023 and are awarded a scholarship will be notified by end of January 2024.
- Applicants who apply by 23:59 (UK time) 8 January 2024 and are awarded a scholarship will be notified by end of March 2024.
- Applicants who apply by 23:59 (UK time) 4 March 2024 and are awarded a scholarship will be notified by end of May 2024.
What to prepare before applying
- Preparing your CV
Your CV should summarise your educational qualifications and awards and indicate any relevant research experience, internships or relevant work experience. Please also include a list of relevant publications with web links if available. Please ensure that the CV is no longer than 2 pages.
- Preparing your personal/research statement
- When prompted for a personal statement you must include a 2-page document:
- the first page should be a personal statement (motivations for applying to Imperial and the scholarship, and any other supporting information not included elsewhere on the form that you feel will enhance your application)
- the second page should be your research proposal. You may submit updated versions of this statement if required following application submission if your department shortlists you for the scholarship. You are encouraged to write in the first person.
- To be considered for the President's PhD Scholarship scheme, you must select this option in the funding section of the additional questions tab within the online application form.
- When prompted for a personal statement you must include a 2-page document:
- Contact details of 2 academic referees: All applicants are required to provide the names and contact details of two academic referees. Please note that references sent from personal email account are not acceptable. When prompted for the names of two academic referees, these should be people who can provide an academic reference in support of your application (e.g. your personal tutor or your thesis supervisor). You should not include your proposed PhD supervisor. You are encouraged to share this guidance with your two referees, noting, in particular, the recommendation to use ‘they/them’ language (rather than gender pronouns).
How to submit application
- Applications are only accepted through the Imperial College Online Application System. In order to apply online, please complete the steps, explained on this page: http://www.imperial.ac.uk/study/pg/apply/how-to-apply/
Please note that applications are formally processed by the Department once a complete application has been received and processed by the College Registry. If one or both references are missing we need to hold the application pending. We strongly recommend you also read the Postgraduate prospectus.
The Department has an equal opportunities policy. Applicants are invited to declare their disability to our PhD Admissions Tutor in order to discuss suitable arrangements for the application process and PhD studies. The Department would like to ensure that best possible support is provided for all applicants and students. Please also see the College's arrangements for people with disabilities.
Once you have submitted your application for postgraduate study, you will be able to monitor the progress of your application via our Student e-Service. Within 12 working days of submitting your application you will receive an email containing a unique identify number called a CID. Please include this number in any emails you send us. Your application is initially sent to the Engineering Admissions team in our Registry. They will assess your qualifications and then send your application to the Department. When the Department's admissions team receives your application we pass it on to the relevant research group, and send you an acknowledgement email.
Your application will be considered by the academic staff in the research group working in the area specified on your application. If you have given the name of a potential supervisor, it will be sent to them first; although other members of staff working in that area will also review your application. If you are short-listed for a place you will have an interview with your potential supervisor and one of their colleagues, although an interview can also already happen when you start discussing a project with a potential supervisor.
Usually, you can expect to receive a decision on your application within 8-10 weeks of the application arriving in the Department.
How to make a strong application
Remember the general rules:
- Scholarship schemes have deadlines: Apply on time.
- Ensure the application is complete.
- Ideally, applicants should have contacted a supervisor already.
All eligible PhD applicants are considered according to the same scholarship allocation criteria, which are:
- Academic qualifications/excellence.
- Motivation/enthusiasm to do research and the PhD:
Explaining the reasons why you want to do research and this PhD; why the topic is important to you.
- Research experience: Any projects, placements, internships done, showing the skills relevant for the PhD and research.
- Research output: Such as publications, conference talks or scientific papers.
- Honours and awards: List any prizes, special mention, awards, scholarships, grants, honours.
Preparing for interviews
All applicants must be interviewed before a formal offer of admissioncan be made. This interview will be conducted by at least 2 members of academic staff; on occasions the Director of Postgraduate Studies Research or the Head of Department may be present.
Normally, interviews are carried out face-to-face. If it is not feasible for the candidate to meet with the potential supervisor – for instance if they are an overseas applicant – candidates may be interviewed by phone or via Skype.
During the interview the applicant should be evaluated according to criteria such as:
- Academic qualifications
- Experimental/theoretical skills
- Specific interests/work experience (academic and/or industry)
- Suitability for interdisciplinary research
The interview should be carried out in English and should last at least 30-40 minutes.