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Prospective PhD Students

On this page:
Finding a supervisor
Research studentships
Research training
How to apply (application checklist)
English language requirements
Enrolment and induction
Further information


The School aims to provide a stimulating and nurturing environment for postgraduate research. We are privileged to include many academics of the highest national and international research reputation, encompassing a wide range of fields from French, German and Russian Studies, Iberian and Latin American Studies, Linguistics and Film Studies to Literary and Cultural Studies, Modern Critical Theory and Cultural Theory, History of Ideas and Modern Continental Philosophy.

We receive financial support for projects from sources including AHRC, the ESRC and the Leverhulme Trust, and a number of staff members are fellows of the Royal Society of Arts, the AHRC Peer Review College, the British Academy and the Association of Art Historians respectively. Our postgraduate students enjoy the use of the facilities provided by the Arts Research Centre and the Lock-keeper's Cottage Graduate Centre.

Prospective research students are welcome to approach the School at any time in the academic year. We are happy to discuss research proposals and to provide advice both on academic matters and on possible sources of funding.

Finding a supervisor

  • You are strongly advised to identify a potential supervisor and provide them with a draft research proposal prior to making a formal application.
  • You will be able to find a list of staff in each department and their research interests by visiting our Academic Departments and following the links to people.
  • You may alternatively constult the appropriate Graduate Studies Convenor for your chosen subject area if you require further assistance in finding a supervisor.
  • We are open to proposals for research within individual departments and also to proposals requiring co-supervision, either within the School or involving other Schools in the Faculty.

  • If your research is based in linguistics, please be aware that the School offers two PhD programmes: Research in Linguistics offered by the Department of Linguistics and Research in Applied Linguistics offered by the Language Centre. Applicants for Research in Linguistics will need to submit an Applicant Query Form to the department, ideally, BEFORE contacting any potential supervisors directly or making a formal application.

Research studentships

The competition for the following awards is now closed for 2018/19 entry. Studentship details for 2019/20 are expected to be published in December 2018.

Queen Mary Research Studentships [PDF 146KB] - open to candidates applying to any department within the School.
ESRC London Interdisciplinary Social Science Doctoral Training Partnership (LISS DTP) - open to eligible candidates for Linguistics.
China Scholarship Council (CSC) Scholarships - open to eligible candidates applying to any department within the School.

Further information on areas for potential PhD research can be found in the research and postgraduate pages of each departmental website.

  • The application deadline for all Research Studentships (2018/19 entry) is 31 January 2018.
  • You will need to apply for admission to a research programme and your application will also be considered for any applicable studentships. (ESRC candidates will need to submit an additional Case for Support Form direct to the LISS DTP).
  • Please consult our Application Checklist for details on documents to be included.
  • If your application for admission is successful, you will, in the first instance, receive an offer for a place on the PhD programme only. Decisions and offers for funding are made separately.
  • Candidates whose applications are received after the deadline will be considered for admission, but not for funding.
  • Candidates for the Queen Mary Research Studentships will be informed early in March if the School will be nominating them to go forward to the College for a final round of cross-faculty selection. The School will not be holding interviews for these studentships. (This is a change to previously published information).
  • Decisions on funding will be made at the end of March and successful candidates will be informed shortly thereafter.

Research training

The School delivers a research training programme, compulsory for students on all PGT programmes in the School and our PhD students are also strongly encouraged to attend.

QMUL Academic Development delivers research training and development opportunities to all research students in such areas as dissertation management (i.e., how to finish on time), academic publishing, research ethics, knowledge transfer, funding your research, and developing an academic career.

How to apply

Application process
You may apply at any time of the year. However, if you intend to begin your PhD at the start of the academic year in September, which we recommend, you should aim to submit your application before August, (unless you are also applying for funding when you may need to apply much earlier).

Application Checklist

Application Form:
This is available via the online application process.

Degree Transcripts/Certificates:
You should include those that you have already obtained. If you need to post these, please provide copies, not the original documents. If these documents are in a language other than English, a certified translation must also be provided.

English Language Proficiency:
Overseas applicants from non-English speaking countries should provide evidence of proficiency in English.

Writing sample in English:
Flexible word length, but maximum 10,000 words.

Research proposal:
You must include a 1,500-word research proposal. Ideally you would finalise this following consultation with your potential supervisor and it should be headed with a provisional title for your project

Personal statement:
This should typically be one side of A4 paper in which we recommend that you include:

  • Why you would like to undertake a PhD in your discipline.
  • Why Queen Mary is the right place for you to undertake this research.
  • What ethical issues you will need to consider in undertaking this research.
  • What research training and professional preparation you have already received.
  • What further training you think you will need to complete a PhD.

Reference Letters:

  • Please provide the contact details of two referees.
  • We will normally require two academic references. At least one reference must be from an academic referee who is in a position to comment on the standard of your academic work and suitability for postgraduate level study. Where appropriate, a second referee can provide comment on your professional experience.
  • Your referees will be contacted via email to supply a reference, preferably electronically. However, a scanned colour copy of a reference provided on paper can also be provided either at the point of application or in response to the reference request email your referee will receive.
  • If your referee has agreed to provide you with an open reference letter you can scan this and upload it, in the upload document section of the online form. References that cannot be uploaded with your application should be sent directly to Research Admissions.
  • If you are applying for a studentship, we will need to receive your references no later than one week following the application deadline.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you will need to provide evidence of your proficiency in English. The College's preferred test is the International English Language Testing Service (IELTS) and the School will require a score of at least 7.0, plus 7.0 in the writing element. Further details and a table showing how the IELTS compares with scores of other tests which are accepted by the College for entry can be found on the College website for English Language Requirements.

Enrolment and Induction

Enrolment for the start of each academic year takes place in September. Once you are in receipt of an offer, have accepted your place online and met any conditions set, instructions for online pre-enrolment will be sent to you by the Research Admissions Office from August. You will then need to complete your enrolment in person. If it is not possible to confirm your place in time for enrolment in September, or if you intend to begin your PhD at any other time of the year, you will be sent pre-enrolment instructions in time for one of the next available enrolment slots which are set on the first working day of each month.

All new students are expected to attend the QMUL PhD Induction event which runs twice a year, once at the beginning of the Autumn semester and once during the Spring semester.

A School Induction Meeting is also be held early in semester one for all new PhD students.

Further information

The Doctoral College supports the life-cycle of Postgraduate Research Degrees at Queen Mary University Of London by working with both postgraduate research students and staff to support a thriving research community. The Doctoral College works with schools, institutes and academic services across QMUL to oversee the recruitment and admission, training and development, academic progression and examination of QMUL’s PhD students.

The QMUL website also contains information on admissions, accommodation, fees, fundinginternational students and open events or to order the Postgraduate Prospectus.

For more information about applying for postgraduate study in the School, please contact:
Postgraduate Studies
Tel: +44 20 7882 8332

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