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Accodion Widgit

How do I apply for my PhD?

Glad to hear that you are interested in a PhD in the Department of Materials!

Here you can find a list of DTP and other funded projects. Consider that with a few exceptions, funded PhDs are due to start with the academic year (October). So make sure you plan submitting your application on time, ideally by January of the same year.

Also, please, have a look at the list of our academics. In order to get a PhD it is vital that you get an academic supporting your application, even if you are self-funded! Get in touch with the ones working in fields relevant to you - just a heads up, teaching fellows cannot be PhD supervisors. Make sure that you choose a supervisor in your PhD application so your application can be shared with them.

You can submit your application through the Imperial application portal. Please, apply to a “Materials Research PhD” by typing “Materials” in the “Research Programmes” search box. If you have a preferred project name, you should be able to add it in a designated text box. If you experience issues in submitting your PhD application, please, contact the Engineering Admissions team ( You can also visit the How to Apply page for more info. Once on the page, please follow the step-by-step guide to complete your application. Also, check our admission policy.

What are the entry requirements?

For admission to a PhD research programme, the College would normally expect you to hold or achieve a Master's degree, in addition to a Bachelor's degree at UK Upper Second Class Honours Level.

If you are an international student you can find more details on the Entry Requirements webpage.


What are the English requirements?

The College's English language requirements can be found on our English Language Requirement webpage.

All Materials courses require Standard-level English.

What documents do I need to submit for my application?

To apply, you will need to fill in your personal details in the application form and upload the following documents:

  • CV
  • Transcripts
  • Personal statement
  • English certificate 
  • Contact details of 2 referees

Can I upload the reference letters myself? Or can my prospective supervisor be one of my referees?

Unfortunately, you will not be able to upload your reference letters and your prospective supervisor cannot be appointed as one of the referees.

Your referees will need to upload your reference using their work email. Alternatively, they can send your reference directly to Engineering Admissions.

What should I include in my personal statement?

What to include in your statement will depend on the scholarship that you are applying for. We recommend that you send a research proposal (no longer than two pages) and a short presentation letter. To ensure you meet all the requirements you can also ask for advice from your prospective supervisor.

Where can I find which academics are available?

To find available academics for your application, please visit our 'Academic staff' webpage.

Can I apply to more than one academic?

Unfortunately, the application process allows you to only apply with one academic per Department.

Please add the name of your chosen academic and the project you are interested in to your application. 

How long will it be before I recieve a decision?

Once you have submitted your documents to the College, they will be reviewed by our admissions team. This takes approximately a week but can take up to a month during extremely busy periods (December - late January). 

When the admissions team has reviewed your documents, they will be sent to your chosen academic (if your application contains at least one reference). 
Once your application is sent to an academic, they have up to five weeks to make a decision.

Therefore the total application process is expected to be between six to nine weeks.

Do I have to meet all the conditions before I apply?

We accept applications if you are still finishing your degree, and if your application is accepted, you will be given a conditional offer until you meet the requirements. 

This process is the same for English requirements. 

How many live applications can I have?

You are only allowed to have two live applications for one given academic year.

If you have already applied for a department and you would like to add a second choice, you can add this to your application. 

What scholarships are available?

Depending on your citizenship, you can apply for different scholarships. Check our Department PhD Scholarship Hub and try the scholarship search too to find out all the scholarships offered by the College.

Some of the available scholarships are: 

  • CSC-Imperial Scholarship
  • Lee Family Scholarship
  • Hans Rausing Scholarship
  • The Anne Seagrim Accommodation Scholarship
  • Stephen and Anna Hui Fellowship 
  • Imperial Commonwealth Scholarships 
  • The Imperial Marshall Scholarships

The Department of Materials also offers some funded PhD opportunities. Please enquire if you would like to know more.

I am an overseas student, can I apply for a CDT project?

If you are an overseas student, you will have to contact the CDT administrator before applying.

CDT's, unfortunately, cannot fund overseas students and most of the CDTs do not accept self-funded students. 

How much are the tuition fees associated with my PhD and what else should I consider if I plan to self-fund my PhD?

You can find information about the tuition fees associated with your course on our Tuition fees website.

If you think your fee status assessment is incorrect, please visit our Fee Status webpage for more information.

If you plan to self-fund your PhD bear we recommend also considering the cost of living in London. If you need a visa to join us, you might not be allowed to work more than 20 hours per week. Contact the International Student Support team for any specific questions. Also, while we have some great paid opportunities like, Graduate Teaching Assistant,  those will not be enough to cover your cost of living.

I am an overseas student. I would like some guidance for my ATAS application? Also what CAH number shall I use?

The CAH code to use for PhD programmes in the Materials Department: CAH 10-03-02

Please find here the college guidance on how to apply for ATAS and ATAS FAQ page. For specific queries about visas, ATAS clearance and other international student matters, you can contact the International Student Support team.

I am unsure whether my academic background is suitable for the programme. Is it even worth applying?

Of course, if you have a STEM background and meet the entry requirements you can definitely apply! Materials research is such an interdisciplinary field so you can definitely bring your unique perspective and contribution to your prospective PhD research group, even if you have a different background. 

I am a mature student and I am concerned about how easy it will be able to mix with my peers. How can you help me address this concern?

No worries! Each research group comprises a mix of students and postdocs of different ages. Additionally, the Department is a large welcoming community! Departmental events and seminars will allow you to connect and interact with other researchers and research students with a variety of backgrounds, ethnicity and age. 

Any further questions?

If you have any further questions, please contact Annalisa Neri, Postgraduate Research Coordinator in the Department of Materials.