Applying for a postgraduate research programme

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

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

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

Required documents

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

While the School's 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 if you are admitted with the lower score, you will be required to take the In-sessional English courses offered by the University Language Centre in your 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.

Subject-specific requirements include:

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

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

The application process - what happens and when

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 decisions on admission will often 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 programme you wish to apply for. 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 requirement);
  • 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.

Application Procedure – What Happens and WhenIndicative Timescale
A programme application is submitted  
If some of the compulsory supporting documentation is missing, you will be emailed.  We will send you 3 email requests, 2 weeks apart, with a deadline for submission of the documents in the third and final email request. If the documents are not received by the deadline, the application will be closed and not considered.
A complete application is sent to subject area PGR Director and named supervisor for review. This will be sent as soon as possible following a complete application being submitted, normally within 2 working days of the application being completed. Please note, this may take longer if we need to obtain guidance on the equivalence of non-UK qualifications before forwarding for review.
An interview will be arranged if an offer is being considered. Ideally the interview should be arranged within 10 working days of the application being sent to PGR Director for review though please note that this may take longer depending on the availability of all necessary attendees.
The decision is returned to Graduate School Office for processing. Normally within 5 working days of the interview taking place.
The decision is ratified by the School PGR Director. Normally within 5 working days of the decision being returned to the Graduate School Office.
The outcome is sent to you by email and letter. Ideally within 5 working days of the decision being approved by the School PGR Director. 

The interview

The University requires Schools to interview all applicants to whom we consider making an offer.

Interviews will be conducted by two academics, usually the proposed main Supervisor and the subject or divisional PGR Director (or an assigned representative). The interview can be either face-to-face or conducted via Skype, conference call or email.

The interview serves several purposes. It allows us to:

  • get a better picture of your ability to carry out your proposed doctoral project than the research proposal on its own may convey;
  • explain what the proposed supervisor(s) can bring to the project;
  • discuss with you directly any potential problems with the practical aspects of your studies, and explore solutions together.

Closing dates

For the majority of PhD 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.

If you intend to apply for funding, you 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. It is important, therefore, for you to apply as early as possible. We recommend contacting your proposed Supervisor several months before the deadlines of the funding competitions to enable you to discuss, strengthen and refine your Research Proposal before submitting your application. Successful candidates in the past contacted their proposed Supervisor in October-December prior to the year in which they started their programme.

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

Enquiries

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

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

Email: PhDSALC@manchester.ac.uk
Tel: +44 (0)161 275 3559