Research Degrees - How to Apply

Find out about the PhD application process on the Queen Mary website.

Listed below you will find the steps to follow when applying for a PhD research degree in the School of Engineering and Materials Science, for more general information on postgraduate research degrees see the research degrees webpage.

1. Review entry requirements and funding

The entrance requirement for entry to a research degree is a good second class honours degree or a master's degree from an UK university or a recognised equivalent from an accredited overseas institution or an equivalent professional qualification. You should also take note of any English Language requirements if English is not your first language.  The College’s standard requirement for English is IELTS 6.5. Further details can be found on the International students pages.

On your application, please be sure to include details of how you intend to secure sufficient funding to complete the research programme and writing up process within the normal time period, which is at least 36 months.

We offer some studentships in the school.

2. Make sure there is a research match

Before applying you need to ensure that the School has the expertise within the specific area to supervise your research. You could find it useful to look at our research pages, what research groups there are and review individual staff research interests.

3. Applying

Once you have identified a research area that matches your research interests, and perhaps identified a research supervisor, you should now complete the online application process.

Please navigate to our degree programmes page and select your choice of programme, study-mode and start month; this will take you to the online application form for your preferred programme.

Full guidance notes are provided during the online application process. You can also visit our guide on applying for a PhD.

You should read the full application guidelines notes, but generally each application should also include the following:

Degree transcripts. Please provide a transcript of your degree(s). If you have not yet completed your degree please provide a transcript of your results achieved to date.

  • If your degree was from a UK university-please upload a transcript of your marks for each year.
  • If your degree was from an overseas institution, you should supply a transcript of your marks for each year of your studies and a copy of your degree certificate together with a certified translation if the document is not in English. Please note that original documentation will be required before you enrol. International applicants are also advised to include high school transcripts.

Two references. Please provide the contact details of two referees. At least one reference must be from an academic referee who is in a position to comment on the standard of your academic work and suitability for postgraduate level study. Where appropriate, a second referee can provide comment on your professional experience.

Your referees can either submit a paper copy and post it to us, or complete it electronically and send it via email. Download our reference request form here: 

If your referee emails your reference to us we can only accept it if it is sent from a university or company email address. References from a personal email address such as ‘Yahoo’ or ‘Hotmail’ are not acceptable. Paper reference forms should be endorsed by an appropriate institution/company official stamp or on official institution/company letterhead. Alternatively if your referee has agreed to provide an open reference letter you can scan this and upload it, in the upload document section of the online form.

Research Proposal

All PhD applicants must write an acceptable research proposal.   This should answer three questions:

  • What area of research are you interested in and why?  You should be as specific as possible.  Please indicate if you have already identified a research supervisor
  • What is your experience in the relevant area?
  • What are your career plans?

Your statement of research interest should be no more than 500 words long, or one side of A4 paper.

Curriculum Vitae (CV)/ Resume.

The above documents are mandatory but it is also advisable to send the following documents in support of your application:

  • Statement of purpose Your statement of purpose should explain why you want to study your proposed course and how it will help your life and career. This should typically be one side of A4 paper.
  • IELTS certificate If English is not your first language then you will require a valid English certificate, The College’s standard requirement for English is IELTS 6.5 with a minimum score of 6.0 in Writing and 5.5 in each other individual test section (R,L,S). Further details can be found on the International Students' pages.

4. What happens next

The Admissions and Recruitment Office will forward your application to the School. If the School is interested in taking your application further, they will contact you directly to arrange an interview with two members of academic staff (one of whom will be your possible supervisor). Interviews normally last 30 minutes and may take place in person by visiting Queen Mary, occasionally interviews are conducted via teleconference call at a mutually agreeable time. We aim to inform you of a decision on your application within six to eight weeks of receipt if you have provided all the required documentation. If you require a decision by a given deadline in order to apply for funding please make this very clear on your application.

5. Contact Details:

The Graduate Admissions Office
Queen Mary, University of London
London E1 4NS
Tel. no. 020 7882 5533
Fax no. 020 7882 5588

SEMS Postgraduate Research Admissions