A quick guide to the doctoral application process
1. Identify your area of interest
There are two main types of PhD project – those that are predesigned by an academic (more common in science and engineering subjects), and those you design yourself.
- A predesigned project will often form part of a wider research initiative being undertaken by an academic or research group. The project will usually have a defined title, fixed aims and objectives, and be supervised by the academic who designed it. Swansea advertises several of these opportunities throughout the year. You can find projects with funding attached on our research scholarships web page and projects for self-funded students on our PhD projects page.
- Your own research idea will take a little more work to get off the ground. After coming up with a project, you need to identify a potential research supervisor. A good starting point is to find the University department with the areas of strength that are most relevant to your research. You can also search Swansea’s directory of expertise to find an academic with research interests close to your own.
2. Contact your prospective supervisor
If you have identified a predesigned project you would like to apply for, simply follow the application instructions on the advert. This will often involve submitting an academic CV with a covering letter.
If you have identified a prospective supervisor for your own research idea, you need to contact them prior to submitting a formal application. Academics welcome informal approaches from prospective students – include in your email a brief description of your research idea and details of your academic background.
3. Submit a formal application, including your research proposal
Once you are in touch with your prospective supervisor, they will be able to help you with your research proposal. You can then submit a formal application for postgraduate study. This is usually just a formality, as your supervisor will already have decided whether or not they are able to supervise your project.
Application procedures for funded places may vary. You can view details of all current research funding on our research scholarships page.