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School of Arts, Languages and Cultures

Applying for a postgraduate research programme

Before applying, you should read all the information available regarding your proposed choice of study.

To apply online for one of our PhD or MPhil programmes, you must complete an online application form.

Before you apply, you must identify a potential supervisor for your PhD or MPhil thesis, and contact them.

When completing the application form, you should read the associated guidance notes and follow the instructions provided.

The following must be enclosed with your application:

  • Two academic references
  • Photocopies of degree certificates if the degree has already been awarded and official transcripts of previous and current study
  • Research Proposal
  • Evidence of English language ability (if English is not your first language); either IELTS, TOEFL, Pearson Test of English, or Trinity Integrated Skills in English III certificate. The required scores are:

    • an overall IELTS score of 7.0 with 7.0 in the writing component
    • a TOEFL score of 600 paper-based test or 100 internet-based test
    • a  Pearson Test of English (PTE) score of 70 overall with 70 in the writing component
    • an overall Trinity Integrated Skills in English (ISE) III grade of Merit, with Merit in the writing component

Whilst the School entry requirement for IELTS is an overall score of 7.0 with 7.0 in the writing element, applicants may be admitted to the Composition/Electro-Acoustic Composition PhD with an overall IELTS score of 6.5 with 6.5 in the writing element. Please note that students admitted with the lower score will be required to take the In-sessional English courses offered by the University Language Centre in their first year.

English language test results are only valid for two years. Your English language test report must be valid on the start date of your programme.

  • A copy of your passport (if you will need a visa to study here).

Subject-specific information, see below:

  • PhD Composition: You must submit a portfolio of compositions
  • PhD Creative Writing: You must provide a writing sample
  • PhD Electro-Acoustic: You must submit a CD of works

Please note, if any documents are in a language other than English you must provide official translations.

How applications are considered

Once the University has received your application, your details are recorded and you will be sent an acknowledgement.

Your application is then passed to us here in the School for consideration.

You are advised that often decisions on admission will not be made until a complete application is received so failure to enclose all the necessary supporting documentation will result in delays in processing your application.

To help us make a decision as quickly as possible please make sure you clearly state the exact title of the PhD or MPhil programme in which you are interested. If your application is successful, you will be made either:

  • A conditional offer of a place (for example, if you have not already completed your current programme of study or have yet to satisfy the English language requirements).
  • An unconditional offer

On receipt of an offer, you should inform us as to whether you wish to accept the place. If there are conditions attached to the offer, you need to let us know as soon as they have been satisfied and provide the necessary documentation.

Closing dates

For the majority of PhD or MPhil programmes there is no official closing date for applications, although you are advised to apply as early as possible. 

Please note that applications received during August and September may take longer to process due to the administrative pressures associated with the start of the academic year.

Students intending to apply for funding need to be aware of the funding bodies' closing dates. It is a condition of such bodies that you hold at least a provisional offer of a place to study at the University before you can apply for a studentship, scholarship or award. Therefore, it is especially important for you to apply as early as possible.

We look forward to receiving your application and welcoming you to Manchester and the School of Arts, Languages and Cultures.


For PhD or MPhil admissions enquiries, please contact Miss Rachel Corbishley, the Postgraduate Admissions Administrator:

Rachel Corbishley
Postgraduate Admissions Administrator
Graduate School
School of Arts, Languages and Cultures
Room CG6, Ellen Wilkinson Building
The University of Manchester
Oxford Road
M13 9PL

Tel: +44 (0)161 275 3559