Applying to Life Sciences: the recruitment process

Where to Start?

The starting point is to identify a member of academic staff whose research interests are related to yours or apply for a funded project listed on our PhD Opportunities webpage.  

Choosing a Supervisor

If you are not applying for a specific programme then you should make contact with an academic member of staff as a prospective supervisor prior to submitting an application.  Thoroughly research your options and suitability on the following webpages: Themes, Centres, Research active staff profiles.

Approaching prospective supervisors:

  • Read through their online profile and familiarise yourself with a couple of their publications.
  • Compose a brief email highlighting your awareness of their research and how it aligns with your research interests.
  • Indicate your intention to apply for doctoral study and interest in working with them.
  • Summarise your research background and whether you've previously worked on research projects.
  • Do not use the same email template to contact different academics.
  • Include your funding status (secured funding, self-funded, will apply for a scholarship, applying for a specific advertised position), whether you are a UK, EU or Overseas Applicant.

Writing a Personal Statement

Your personal statement should be informative and persuasive and should indicate why you are interested in the area of research.


If you are interested in applying for a College funded programme, please ensure you follow the instructions on the specific webpages and check the deadlines. The deadline for applying for admission is generally set by the programme or the funding competition for which you are applying. If you want to apply for funding listed on the Departmental PhD Opportunities Page the closing date will be published in the advert. If you want to apply for College-wide funding refer to the Scholarship and Awards Search Tool for their competition closing dates.

Academic Requirements

Before making an application, you should meet the eligibility requirements:.

  • Have or expect to have a BSc degree of 1st class or 2.1 standard in UK system, or equivalent for overseas degrees. A Masters degree may also be required.
  • Applicants who do not meet the aboove criteria  but who sufficient relevant experience and background knowledge may be considered.
  • Have a commitment to and demonstrated ability in research.
  • Applicants also need to satisfy the English Language requirement. Please see the guide for more information.

International Applicants

You can find information on whether you require a visa to study in the UK and guidance notes on the Visas and Immigration website The process of applying for a visa and entry clearance can take a long time; you must therefore submit your applications for admissions to the College well in advance of your proposed starting date.

If your degree is from Overseas please refer to the Country Index for the College’s minimum entry requirements for particular countries. Please note that the Department of Life Sciences often asks for higher grades than the College minimum and you should refer back to the eligibility criteria within the advert.

As part of the application process you will be asked to show that you have met the College’s English-language requirement. Please refer to the College’s English-language requirements.

Making a Formal Application

Go to our online application site My Imperial.