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, please speak to Applicant Relations..

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. 

    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.

    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 Applicant Relations at

    People in a meeting room

    Understanding our decision

      This means that, based on the information you provided in your application and/or interview, we believe you're already academically qualified or have proved your academic and personal suitability for the course. Please note that you'll be required to provide evidence of qualifications detailed in your application before you enrol.

      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.

      Based on the information you provided in your application and/or interview, you will be academically qualified for the course providing you satisfy the conditions set out in the offer. Your offer conditions may include:

      • achieving minimum specified grades in qualifications you’re taking or for which you have not yet received results
      • meeting our minimum English language requirements
      • completing a minimum period of relevant work experience

      Once you have provided evidence that you have met the conditions, your offer will become unconditional.

      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.

      We may make you a conditional or unconditional offer for a different course to the one you applied for. This may be because the one you applied for is full or because you were not eligible for your original choice on the grounds of entry requirements.

      If you have applied for a research degree, we may offer you a place on our Masters in Research course to ensure you have the right skills to complete the degree.

      If you don't respond to a request for an interview/test/portfolio or fail to attend an interview or test without prior notification, we will assume that you have decided not to study at the University of East London.

      In such a situation, we'll withdraw your application without making a decision on your academic suitability for the course.

      To avoid this, please let us know if you're unable to fulfil an application requirement and we will do our best to accommodate this.

      If we feel that you are unsuitable for study at the University of East London and unlikely to complete a postgraduate qualification with us successfully, we will record your application as unsuccessful.

      We will already have considered you for other degrees or a foundation year but believe you need additional qualifications or skills not provided by UEL to successfully complete a degree.

      However, you would be welcome to apply again in the future.

      To find out more about possible ways into degree study, please contact our Information Advice and Guidance team.

      One of our advisors will be happy to advise you on study outside UEL.

      Fees assessment

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

      Our assessment of you as a Home 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.

      Alumni discount

      If you graduated from UEL you may be eligible for a postgraduate course discount. If you progress directly with no gap year, you may receive a  discount of up to 25 per cent; alternatively, you will receive a 10 per cent discount. See our alumni discount page.

      Help and support staff

      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.

        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.

        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.