A PhD is the highest level of education one can achieve. The UK is the home of numerous world-leading universities for the brightest and most ambitious individuals looking to study a PhD as the final step of becoming an expert in their field.

What is a PhD?

A PhD, or Doctor of Philosophy, is the highest academic degree that can be obtained in most fields of study. It is a research-based program that allows individuals to delve deep into a specific subject area and make an original contribution to the field through their research. Pursuing a PhD involves conducting extensive research, analyzing data, and producing a thesis or dissertation that showcases new insights and advancements in the chosen field. It is a rigorous and intellectually challenging journey that requires critical thinking, independent study, and a strong passion for knowledge. Graduates with a PhD are recognized as experts in their field and often pursue careers in academia, research institutions, industry, or other specialized fields.

There are two options for PhD studies:

For many PhD courses, you choose your research topic and you work on this project independently under the supervision of an academic.

A PhD may be offered as part of an existing project which the university is already working on. This is sometimes called a ‘studentship’ and means you will be working on a predetermined project.

How long does a PhD study take?

The doctoral program in British universities takes between 3 to 4 years and it is mainly research-based. In the last year of study, PhD students are expected to write up a PhD thesis and submit it to the university, pass the PhD viva to get the doctorate.

What are the requirements to study a PhD?

Students are required to have successfully completed an undergraduate and postgraduate degree program from a recognised university. Also, you need to provide your personal statement, two letters of recommendation and a research proposal that fits with the specialties of the university.

You will also need to meet the English requirements, this will range between an IELTS score of 6.5 to 7.5 for PhD levels of study and this will vary depending on the subject you re applying for.

Should you contact the university before applying for a PhD?

Many universities strongly advise students to contact a potential supervisor before making a formal application. You may wish to provide the supervisor with a copy of your Resume/CV and indicate what your proposal topic of study is or which project you are interested in. But don’t worry the IS-NET team will assist you in finding the right academic supervisor and we will help you to get your application approved.

What are the funding options?

There are three main funding routes for PhD students:


Many students pay their own tuition fees to complete a PhD. You can use the course search in the Study and Travel with Hamid website to find relevant courses and to see the tuition fees.


Universities often receive funding from research councils, charities and industry partners to undertake research. If you apply to undertake your PhD as part of one of these projects, your tuition fees are usually covered under the studentship and you may also receive money towards your living costs. Please note that some studentships are not open to international applicants.


Many universities in London offer part or full scholarships for international PhD students. For more information, feel free to contact us through WhatsApp online chat.

When should you apply for a PhD?

Most PhD courses have several start dates in the year but it will usually fall to September or October and January to April of each year, However, PhD opportunities, especially funded ones, are very competitive and you are advised to apply as early as possible. Studentships and scholarships often have application deadlines of 3 to 6 months before the course start date.

The start date of the study is usually September or October and January to April of each year, but it is possible to start in any month of the year if your supervisor approves the start date as the doctoral study is research-based.

How long does the process of a PhD application take?

After the approval of the principal supervisor, a formal application is submitted to a university. The admission process usually takes 6 to 8 weeks before a decision is made.

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