Information on applying for a PhD or a Professional Doctorate at the School of Environment, Education and Development (SEED).

Admission to PhD or a Professional Doctorate in our School is highly competitive. In reaching a decision on applications, we review a number of criteria, including:

  • the availability of two appropriate supervisors for PhD programmes;
  • the relevance and strength of your research proposal;
  • your academic standing and relevant professional experience.

If you meet our entry requirements and are matched to a suitable supervisor, you may be required to attend an interview.

Application deadlines for internal funding opportunities are often at the beginning of February for programmes starting the following September. If you are planning to apply for a scholarship or award that is not attached to a particular project, it is normally stipulated that you hold an offer of a place from the University before applying.

Entry requirements

  • A First or Upper Second Class Bachelor’s degree (or its international equivalent).
  • A relevant master’s degree, with Merit and a minimum average grade of 60% in both the taught course units and your dissertation (or international equivalent of 60%).
  • Evidence of English language ability - an internet-based TOEFL score of 100, with at least 25 in the writing component and at least 22 in all other components, or an overall IELTS score of 7.0, with at least 7.0 in the writing component and at least 6.0 in all other components.

Some of our Professional Doctorate programmes have additional entry and documentation requirements.

How to apply

To apply, complete and submit an online application form. Your completed application should include:

  • two references, one of which should be familiar with your academic work, on headed paper from the institution, signed, dated and stamped;
  • a degree certificate and transcript for your bachelor’s and master's degrees;
  • a research proposal;
  • evidence of your English language proficiency;
  • a personal statement outlining your reasons for wishing to study on the programme, and the experience and skills you will bring;
  • a detailed CV.

When you submit an application, you will receive notification that it has been received. Our admissions team will contact you to let you know if we require any further information.

We aim to process all applications within six weeks and will contact you with our decision as soon as possible.

For more guidance, see How to write a research proposal.

Finding a supervisor

Most potential supervisors in the School will be happy to provide pre-submission feedback on a well-developed draft proposal that closely matches their research expertise.

You can read about some of our academic staff, and if you identify one who is interested in supervising your work, you may be able to receive advice and critical feedback that helps you to make your proposal stronger and more competitive. This is particularly beneficial if you are considering applying for funding.

Please send your proposal to one potential supervisor at a time only, copying in the postgraduate research lead for your chosen programme:

If you are not sure who would make the most suitable supervisor for your research, feel free to contact the postgraduate research lead in your relevant department at the address above. Your draft proposal will then be passed on to suitable colleagues, if appropriate.

Alternatively, you could apply directly. Your application will be given our full attention regardless of whether or not a potential supervisor is named.

For more guidance, see How to write a research proposal.