Doing a PhD should not be undertaken lightly. It will take at least three years and could take up to six or seven years of full-time study. As such, it is important that you are sure that this is something that you want to pursue before completing the application. Prior to starting the application, you also need to decide on the topic of your research study, where you would like to study and complete your research, and who you would like to be your primary supervisor. It is well worth the effort to investigate these matters first, prior to beginning the application, and it is advisable to informally approach your prospective supervisor before making a formal application.
The final thing you need to consider before submitting your application is how you will fund your period of study. When applying to study for a PhD there are broadly two options. First, you might apply to fill an advertised studentship with a more or less well-defined research project. This is more likely to be the case for science-related PhDs, as the studentship usually forms part of the supervisor’s broad research programme. Second, you might simply apply to do a PhD in a particular discipline at a specific university. Here, the onus lies wholly with the applicant to determine the subject matter of the research.
The application process varies among institutions, but is outlined on their website and usually requires you to: satisfy the entry requirements; complete an application form; select a prospective supervisor; and submit a research proposal. The PhD Consultancy can help you with all of these aspects of the application process and these aspects will be discussed in greater depth in forthcoming articles.