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Applying for a research course

When you apply for postgraduate research study at UEL, we’ll give you all the support you need. From choosing a research area supported by UEL, to submitting a research proposal and finding a supervisor, we'll help you through the application process.

Making your application

Before you apply to do research at UEL, you need to submit a research proposal.

A research proposal for a PhD or MPhil is an important part of the application process. Putting your plans and ideas down on paper will help our academic staff understand and appreciate what you are trying to achieve, and how they can help you.

For advice on how to write your research proposal, please see our Research proposal guidance.

Questions about a research course?

If you’re interested in doing research at UEL, talk to our Graduate School about how to get started.

Contact Us

Qualifications and research supervision

Here are the entry requirements and how to go about finding a research supervisor. 

    To apply for a research degree such as a PhD or an MPhil, you should normally have either a first or second class Bachelor's degree with honours or a Master's degree from a UK university. 

    If you have qualifications gained outside the UK, we can still consider you for admission, but we’ll need to satisfy ourselves that these are of equivalent standard to UK qualifications. You should also provide the names of two academic referees who know your recent academic work. 

    If English is not your first language, you’ll need to provide proof of a minimum IELTS Academic English score of 7.0 overall, gained within the past two years, with a minimum of 6.5 in all components. This is the standard required for MPhil, MPhil/PhD, Direct PhD and Professional Doctorate students.

    Qualifications and experience

    Before applying to UEL to do a research degree, you should check whether we research in your chosen field, and then find two academic members of staff willing to supervise your study. 

    Think about the department and the people you want to supervise your research. Who you think is best known for their work in your area?

    As soon as you have found  someone, you should email them to discuss the possibility of doing an MPhil or PhD. Outline your ideas  and ask if they would be interested in supervising you. You should also make contact with the School’s research degrees leader before submitting your formal online application  to the Graduate School.

    Find a research supervisor

    Processing your application

    As soon as we receive your application, we will send you an acknowledgement. Check your email inbox regularly for UEL additional information requests or updates.

    We may cancel your application if you do not respond by the dates requested in communications,

    If you have been made an offer, we will also send you an official confirmation. This will include any conditions of entry and the amount payable for the tuition fees.

    If you have already submitted your application and have not heard from us, please email the Graduate School at

    Understanding our decision

    There are five possible outcomes to your postgraduate research application. If you receive an offer, you will need to accept your place before the specified deadline.

    We will give you an unconditional offer if we believe that you are academically qualified for the course, and the School where your research sits can provide adequate supervisory support for you to complete your research programme.

    You must supply evidence of your qualifications at enrolment if you have not done so already.

    If you have declared a relevant criminal conviction, or applied to a course involving contact with children or vulnerable adults, we will ask for further information to assess your suitability for enrolment.

    A conditional offer means we think you are academically qualified for the course and the School where your research sits can provide adequate supervisory support for you to complete your research programme. - provided that you complete specified qualifications or activities to a certain standard or grade.

    We will need to see your results or proof of attainment before we can confirm you have an unconditional place.

    We may request further information for certain courses, as with unconditional place offers.

    If you do not respond to a request from us for further information – such as clarification of your qualifications or an offer of interview – or if you do not attend for an interview or test without telling us, we will assume that you are no longer interested in studying at UEL. We will then withdraw your application without making an academic decision on your suitability for the course.

    If we decide that you’re unsuitable to study at UEL and are unlikely to successfully complete a degree with us, we will mark your application as ‘unsuccessful/reject’.

    You’ll still be welcome to apply again in the future, and our Information Advice and guidance (IAG) team can give you advice on other ways of getting into postgraduate study.

    If you would like feedback on your application, you should contact the academic department in writing, using the contact details listed under the relevant entry in our course pages.

    Fee assessment

    Before we can enrol you, we need to understand what level of fees to charge: Home/EU or International.

    For most students, we can assess this based on the information you supply at application. In some cases, we will need further information about your residence status and history in the UK or EU.

    Our assessment of you as a Home/EU or international fee payer will affect what financial support that you may be entitled to, including any UEL bursaries and scholarships. For more about how we assess tuition fee status, see our fees and funding.

    Further checks

    You may need to provide us with further information, such as a Disclosure and Barring Service check, as part of your research application.

      If you are applying for a course that involves working with children or vulnerable adults, such as physiotherapy or social work, you will need a satisfactory Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) enhanced disclosure certificate. You should check your course requirements to see if a DBS check is needed before we can accept you.

      A DBS check covers whether you have spent any and unspent convictions, cautions, reprimands and final warnings, or whether local police hold any information about you that can reasonably be considered relevant to the group or groups you will be working with.

      Disclosure and barring service checks

      Some of our courses will require you to provide occupational health clearance to make sure you are medically suitable to undertake your course. You should check the requirements for your individual course to see if you need occupational health clearance.

      Occupational health clearance

      Under the Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS), the UK government requires international – or non-UK or EU/EEA - students planning to undertake postgraduate research in science, engineering or technology areas to have an ATAS certificate to support their visa applications.

      If this applies to you, you will need to apply to the UK government for an ATAS Clearance Certificate to study in the UK as soon as UEL has made you an offer of a postgraduate place.  

      The scheme applies only to UEL postgraduate students in the Schools of Health, Sport and Bioscience (HSB) and Architecture, Computing and Engineering (ACE).

      Contact the Graduate School on +44 (0)20 8223 6274 or to find out more.

      Academic Technology Approval Scheme