How to apply

Finding the right department 

When you make an application you will need to identify the department where you wish to conduct your research. Before applying please familiarise yourself with the research that is conducted at Brunel and decide where your own research would best fit.

Research at Brunel

Advice on your application

If you have identified a potential research supervisor at Brunel, it can be useful to contact them informally prior to making your application. They may be able to give more specific advice for your own discipline and some may be willing to comment on a draft research proposal. 

All PhD programmes are administered by the Postgraduate Programmes Office in Colleges. Once you have identified your area of research and a potential supervisor, please use the contact details below for enquiries. 

Preparing your research proposal

You will be required to submit a research proposal, usually between 1000 and 2000 words, as part of the application process. Many departments will issue specific guidance on what should be included and this should be followed carefully. Typically you might be expected to describe the context of the work (academic background and why the research is needed), define the aims and objectives of the work, and describe how you will approach the research (research methods to be used, rough plan of work).

Completing the online application

Online application is available for most research degrees. You will need to register to use the system prior to making your application. When completing the online application make sure you have the following information to hand:

  • Personal details
  • Academic qualifications (level, subject, where studied, results, year taken)
  • Work experience details (name of organisations, start and end dates)

When you access the online application, you will be given the opportunity to submit electronically the documents required as part of your application, shown in the table below. These supporting documents can alternatively be posted to the Admissions Office (clearly referencing your application reference number, which will be emailed to you when you save or complete the online application).





An academic transcript for each previous degree you have completed

We can accept a scanned copy of your transcript if applying online, however you must bring the original with you when you register. If your transcript is not in English you will also need to provide a verified English translation..

Reference 1

An academic reference from the academic institution you most recently attended

References should be on headed paper and signed by the referee.

Reference 2

A second academic reference or a reference from your current or most recent employer

See above.

Sponsorship details

A copy of paperwork confirming the award of sponsorship

Only applies to those in receipt of sponsorship or other grant. Examples might include a letter from a Government agency or an employer.

English language qualification

Any relevant certificates for language qualifications (eg IELTS, TOEFL)

English language requirements for each course are listed on the Entry Requirement page


A copy of your passport 

Only applies to applicants from outside the EU we need a copy of details page of your passport, (including personal information and date and place of issue)

Personal statement

A brief personal statement in support of your application

Typically this will be a brief explanation of why you want to pursue a research degree at Brunel University London. It can be uploaded as an attachment if you already have an electronic copy or it can be typed directly into the online form later in the process.


Any relevant certificates

This includes any certificates you consider relevant to your application (not already submitted under transcripts or language qualifications).

Other documents

Any other relevant documentation

This includes any additional information which you consider relevant to your application, for example a Curriculum Vitae.

Research proposal

A description of your proposed research

See guidance on ‘preparing your research proposal’ above.

If you find that you don’t have the required information at any stage, you can save your progress and exit the online application process and then resume it later.

Start dates

The main intake dates for research degrees are at the start of October and January. Many research students find that it is most convenient to commence their studies at the start of October, since this is date on which annual re-enrolments take effect for research degrees. However, on most programmes it is possible to register from the first of any month (and then re-enrol from the following October). The exception is degrees with a substantial taught component (for example the Brunel Integrated PhD) where you may be required to start in October (or exceptionally January) in order to fit around the taught programme delivery.

Page last updated: Tuesday 03 May 2016