Apply for a research programme
When to apply
Many of our Doctoral courses do not have a formal closing date – we have rolling start dates throughout the year depending on the department you wish to join.
You are strongly advised to contact a potential supervisor before applying. You may wish to provide the supervisor with a copy of your Curriculum Vitae (CV) and indicate what your proposed topic of study is, the potential start date and how you propose to fund the project.
If you are planning to apply for College funding, you need to be aware of the various closing dates for College scholarships. Use our scholarships search tool to search for scholarships you may be eligible for.
Each year, we offer 50 President’s PhD Scholarships, which do have a fixed closing date. Find out more on our Fees and Funding website.
You may only be considered for a maximum of two programmes in any admission cycle. If you wish to be considered for two doctoral programmes, you will need to submit two seperate applications. If you apply for one programme at the outset and wish to add a second choice after submitting your application, you will need to send your request to the relevant admissions team.
To show how you qualify for the Doctoral course(s) you are applying for, you will need to provide information about the higher qualifications you have achieved or which you’re currently studying.
All Imperial applicants must also show that they have a sufficiently good level of written and spoken English to meet the demands of our challenging academic environment. Find out more about our English language requirements for postgraduate study.
We can process your application more quickly if you upload scanned copies of the academic transcripts and certificates for the higher education qualifications you already hold when you apply.
If you receive an offer we may ask you to provide evidence of your previous qualifications as part of the conditions of your offer. Where this applies, you must send the original physical documents by post.
If you are completing a Staff Research application, you will need to ensure you submit a scanned copy of your contract with Imperial at the same time as your application.
You will need to provide the names of two people who can provide an academic reference in support of your application. An academic reference could be from, for example
- Your personal tutor
- Your thesis supervisor
- Your line manager in a research group
One academic and one relevant professional reference may be acceptable – contact the relevant Admissions team for confirmation before you apply.
There is no application fee for Doctoral courses.
Transferring from another institution
You may be permitted, in appropriate circumstances, to transfer your research degree registration from another university to Imperial.
If your request is accepted, you would be required to follow a course of study at one of Imperial's campuses of not less than 12 months full-time (or 24 months part-time).
To find out more about the circumstances under which transfer is permitted, please download: Transfer of registration for research degree students [PDF].
Split PhD scheme
Our Split PhD scheme allows you to carry out some of your research abroad, either in the field or at an overseas institution. Find out more.
Partner Research Institution (PRI) Scheme
If you work in a public research institution, industrial research laboratory or at another university then you may be able to register for a PhD at Imperial but carry out the research where you work. Find out more about the PRI scheme and how to apply.