Before you apply

Check your eligibility for study

Please check the College’s entry requirements for graduate programmes to ensure you are eligible to apply.

The National Heart and Lung Institute will accept the following for entry to the PhD or MD(Res) programme:

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

Tuition fees

The level of tuition fees you pay depends on your fees status (Home/Overseas). Information on fees for each year of study is available on the College’s Postgraduate tuition fees page.

Fees for Imperial staff

  • Please note that staff who are employed by Imperial College London (e.g. Research Assistants, Technicians, Clinical Research Fellows etc.) need to upload a copy of their current contract along with their application.
  • As a member of staff, you may be eligible for a discounted rate of fees. For more information, please refer to the College’s Tuition Fee Remission Scheme.

Fees for clinical staff at NHS Trusts

If you hold a staff contract with Imperial College London or associated NHS Trusts (e.g. Brompton and Harefield, Chelsea and Westminster, etc), you may be eligible for a departmental bursary entitling you to a third off tuition fees. You will need to supply a copy of your current contract along with your application. Please refer to the relevant FoM Tuition Fee Bursary policy (PDF).

Please note this does not apply to externally funded applicants or those with an honorary contract only.


Identify and contact a supervisor

You need to:

  • contact and make an agreement with an NHLI academic supervisor with an outline of your 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 an agreement with an NHLI supervisor, you will need to submit a formal application for admission via Imperial College London's online application site.


  • Clinical Medicine Research (National Heart and Lung Institute) (MD(Res)) [Code: A3P1DH]
  • Clinical Medicine Research (National Heart and Lung Institute) (PhD) [Code: A3Z1DH]

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

  • Students devoting 50-79% of their time to the programme will follow 'True PT milestones' and will be registered as part-time.
  • Students devoting 80-100% of their time to the programme will follow 'FT milestones' and will be registered as full-time.
  • All Imperial College London staff must select ‘Staff’ under the ‘Student Type’ field in their application.

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 from Imperial's Registry where they can submit their references. You will be able to see the status of your references through your account.

In case there are any problems or delays, one or both references can be sent directly to as long they are sent by the referee from an official University or company email address.

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

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 review.

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 have an agreement with you.
  2. Once your references have been received and initial checks of your application have been completed by the PGR team, including supervisor agreement and funding status, then your application will proceed to the next step. College does not allow backdating of course start dates. If you wish to curtail your course end date, you and your supervisor must present your case and evidence to be considered by the Director of Postgraduate Studies.
  3. The 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. The applicant and proposed supervisor(s) must complete and sign the NHLI01 Registration Form detailing the proposed project, funding, start date and supervisory package. 
  5. If your application relates to the Partner Research Institution (PRI) scheme or Split PhD scheme, or is the outcome of a funded studentship application, then the necessary documents need to be forwarded with your application to the Director of Postgraduate Studies for final approval.
  6. 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.
  7. The PGR team will forward your application and documents to the Director of Postgraduate Studies.  Only when approval is received from the Director of Postgraduate Studies can your application be accepted by the Department and an offer made by Medicine Postgraduate Admissions.

Clinical Research Fellows:

Please note that for clinical postgraduate students, employment as a Clinical Research Fellow does not automatically guarantee registration for a higher degree. You need to submit an application and follow the process detailed above. You also need to send your employment contract to once an offer has been made on your Imperial Gateway account. Please ensure your employment contract dates cover the entirety of the research programme for eligibility for fees remission (please refer to the 'Tuition Fees' section above).

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 requirement and academic entry requirements.

Processing timelines

Start date

Your proposed start date should allow at least two to three clear calendar months from submitting your application.


Backdating enrolment is no longer permitted by College Admissions. The PGR office team may be able to advise on a route, if there are exceptional circumstances.

  • Please refer to the flowchart below to give you an idea on the application process and its duration.

Flow chart for PGR applications