Lab equipmentFor some Master's students, the next step in their careers is to pursue a PhD.

Just like the leap from undergraduate to Master's study, becoming a Doctoral student will involve much more focus on independent research. You will be asked to work with a smaller cohort of students, and will closely interact with your main supervisor in both formal and informal sessions.

For full-time PhD students, the usual duration of study is around 36 months, and no longer than 48 months after registration. You may be able to study part-time. You will be expected to work across subject boundaries, and the Graduate School and your department will arrange activities to assist you in this.

Doctoral students will be able to collaborate with peers from across the world and take advantage of many global opportunities. Imperial has links with many international partner organisations, giving you the opportunity to develop research skills at international summer schools. You will also be able to take advantage of our international PhD programmes, through which you can split your studies between Imperial and one of our overseas partner institutions.

Many PhD students at Imperial are completing externally-funded projects known as 'studentships'. These are focused on a specific area of research, and will be located in a particular department or institute. You should research the project thoroughly and approach the relevant supervisor directly before applying for a studentship.

While many studentships have a particular deadline, some departments accept applications all year round from the right candidates. You may be asked to write a formal research proposal to define your area of investigation clearly.

As a PhD student you may be required to teach and supervise undergraduate and Master's students. This experience will help you to enhance your communication and technical abilities, at Imperial you will be supported by programmes to help you improve your teaching skills.

Find out more about the PhD study by taking a look at the Success Guide for postraduate research students.

International students

If you are an international student on a Tier 4 visa and you want to move into further study in the UK, you will need to make a new visa application in order to begin a new course.

Imperial has an International Student Support team that provides specialist immigration advice to Imperial College students, with particular expertise in Tier 4 (General) student visas. We offer a ‘check and send’ service where your visa application can be checked by an advisor, and your supporting documents submitted to the Home Office through the College. Please visit the visa information page for information about this service.