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How to apply for a research degree

Step 1: Find your research area at 3PԼ

Use the search tools below to find doctoral research opportunities in your area of interest, or browse our expertise to find the right fit for you. 

Discover PhD opportunities at 3PԼ

Learn more Discover PhD opportunities at 3PԼ
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Webinar: How to apply for a PhD

Step 2: Choose your topic and contact your potential supervisor

Find the supervisor you wish to work with below, and get in touch with them to discuss your interest in joining their research area. They will welcome the opportunity to have a chat about your proposed topic and provide feedback for your research statement, which forms an essential part of the application process. Some supervisors are looking for PhD students to join their current activities or topics of research, and you can browse these topics below too. 

Topics proposed by supervisors

Step 3: Get your paperwork in order 

How to write a research statement?

You can explain your proposed areas of research in a statement of generally 1000 words. Please note that Law requires 3000 word research statement. This is an important part of your application and you can contact your proposed supervisor for feedback to help you finalise your statement. We recommend that you include the following:

  1. Research title: The title of the proposal should reflect the key research question(s). 
  2. Research question: Your proposed research should attempt to answer a research question. This question is what the aim and objectives of your work will address. 
  3. Brief Literature Review: A written summary of the relevant literature used to develop your research topic and research question(s). Check the latest publications from your potential supervisor. Use the literature review to demonstrate that you have a fair sense of current trends in the research area. This section should also highlight the problem or uncertainty that the proposed research seeks to address.
  4. Advancing knowledge: Explain how your project may address current knowledge gaps and further advance understanding in your chosen field.
  5. Research location: Where you will conduct your research from
  6. Data: Primary and secondary, sources, sample size, target populations and their locations
  7. Methods and analysis: Explain which methods you will use to collect your data. Describe how you plan to analyse the data to answer your research questions.  Try to give as many details as you can about the overall plan
  8. Reasons why: A summary of the factors which prompted you to conduct research in your chosen topic. What will you personally gain from doing a research project?
  9. Reference List: A list of the literature you have used is your research statement

Your outline will not bind you to a specific research topic or project.  If you are accepted to study on a PhD/MPhil programme with us, you may refine the scope of your project, hone your research question(s), your hypotheses and the research methods with the help of your designated supervisory team.  It may also be the case that your research questions and/or focus will change as your studies progress.


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How to write a research statement when applying for a PhD?

How to complete the online PhD application?

The online application link is available on each programme page. For a full list of PhD programmes . While completing the online application please 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).

Documents required with research degree application
Document  Description Notes
Transcript  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 . 
Passport    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 3PԼ. 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.
Certificates   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 statement  A description of your proposed research  See guidance on preparing your research statement above.