Students in Guild

How to apply for a PhD programme

How you'll apply for your PhD will depend on how it's funded. If you want to pursue a self-funded research degree, you'll need to identify a supervisor, develop a research proposal and source your own funding.

Funded studentships and research projects have separate application processes.

Fully funded PhD studentships

The University of Liverpool provides access to many fully funded PhD studentships. Each opportunity describes the required application process.

Self-funded and externally funded research degrees

To apply for a self-funded or externally funded research degree (MPhil/PhD/MD):

  1. Find a research opportunity which matches your research interests
  2. Identify potential supervisors for your research project. You can do this by contacting the institute or school’s postgraduate research student support team and by viewing the staff and research pages of their website. This isn't obligatory, but you are encouraged to indicate your preferred supervisor(s) in your application.  It's also a good idea to contact potential supervisors before making an application. They may indicate an interest in your research proposal, but this does not guarantee entry to the programme
  3. Finalise a research proposal to outline the research you would like to undertake. You will need this for your application and may also need it for funding applications
  4. Register and apply online.

If you're considering applying for a University of Liverpool PhD based at Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool University (XJTLU), China, you should contact their Graduate School Office.

Making your application

Applying online for a self-funded postgraduate degree is fast and easy.  You'll need to submit a full application with all supporting documentation, including how you intend to fund your research degree.

To complete the online application, you'll need:

  • School or college transcripts/ certificates
  • University transcripts
  • Degree certificates
  • English language certificates (International applicants only)
  • Personal statement
  • Two references signed and on letterheaded paper (these should be academic references if you have been in full-time education in the last three years)
  • Research proposal (may be tested for plagiarism, collusion and other irregularities).

Applications are assessed primarily on the basis of prior and predicted academic achievement, so you should complete the application form without any omissions.  If you wish to apply for a degree under a collaborative agreement with another institution, you must state this in your application.

References can be either uploaded directly to the application form by the applicant or emailed to the Department Admissions team (details below).

For any admissions related queries please contact the School/Institute Admissions Teams:

Faculty of Health and Life Sciences

Institute of Life Course & Medical Sciences:

Institute of Infection, Veterinary & Ecological Sciences:

Institute of Population Health:

Institute of Systems, Molecular & Integrative Biology:


Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

School of the Arts:

School of Histories, Languages and Cultures:

School of Law and Social Justice:

Management School:


Faculty of Science and Engineering

Scchool of Engineering:

School of Electrical Engineering, Electronics and Computer Science:

School of Physical Sciences:

School of Environmental Sciences:



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