Beit Hall

Discover our application routes to Doctoral courses

We offer three types of Doctoral course at Imperial:

  • PhD
  • Professional Doctorate for people working in professional practice (MD(Res) and EngD)
  • Integrated PhD, available via our Research Council-funded Centres for Doctoral Training (CDTs) and Doctoral Training Partnerships (DTPs)

Each course gives you the chance to make an original contribution to your chosen field through an intensive programme of in-depth research.

There are three distinct routes of searching for Doctoral courses at Imperial.

Doctoral courses and integrated PhD

You have your own research idea

To search for opportunities to study a PhD based on your own research idea you first need to identify a research group whose objectives best match your idea.

Research groups are based in our academic departments and multidisciplinary centres and institutes.

If you find a suitable group, you should then identify a potential supervisor.

This is an important step as you will need to find out whether they have an appropriate supervisor. You will also need to discuss your research idea before you apply.

When applying, you will need to provide details of your proposed supervisor and a proposal of your intended research.

If the Department indicates that you don’t need to identify a supervisor before applying, you can submit your research proposal as part of your online application.

You want to join an existing research project

If you don't have a research idea that you're looking to pursue, we recommend searching our current fellowships and studentships.

These are PhD projects in specified areas for which funding has already been granted to Imperial.

You can browse the latest vacancies in our Jobs site.

You're interested in an integrated PhD

Integrated PhDs are offered within our Centres fo Doctoral Training and Doctoral Training Partnerships.

These can be fully funded or part-funded; they may also consider self-funding applicants who do not meet the funding criteria.

The specific training routes vary and may comprise a one-year Master’s course (MSc or MRes) followed by a three-year PhD (1+3), or may be a four-year PhD programme.

As a CDT or DTP student,  you may also have access to a supervisor and facilities at a partner institution.

Unlike traditional PhDs, our CDTs and DTPs recruit cohorts of students from a broad spectrum of disciplines, with the groups beginning and completing their training together for specific parts of the training.

Explore our current Centres for Doctoral Training (CDTs) and Doctoral Training Partnerships (DTPs).

The funding for these opportunities is provided by UK and EU Research Councils so funding eligibility criteria apply and these are closely related, but separate from fee status regulations.

Programme choice

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 separate applications.

If you apply for one programme and then wish to add a second choice after submitting your application, you will need to send your request to the relevant Admissions team.

Submitting evidence

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.

Application fee

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 view our Transfer of registration for research degree students [PDF].