How to Apply
PhD: take the next step
We have two intakes each year, in October and January. Closing dates for applications are:
- January 2021 intake: 30 October 2020
What do I need first?
- English language requirements:
If English is not your first language you will need IELTS 7.0 (no element below 6.5) or Pearson Test of English Overall Score 70+ (No element below 62). Please note that these can be no more than 2 years old at the month the programme starts, eg. for a programme commencing in October 2014 the IELTS or PTE test must have been taken in or after October 2012). Further information about acceptable tests.
- For UK students:
A Masters degree, normally with a mark of at least 65% in your Masters dissertation.
- For non-UK students:
A degree that is equivalent to a UK Masters. You also need to have completed and passed (at a level equivalent to at least 65%) a dissertation module. Check the full list of equivalent qualifications.
It is important that your general research interests match those of at least one member of our academic staff. For information on the range of expertise and experience of our academic faculty and details of their research interests, see Our People.
If you have any questions about finding a potential supervisor, we’re happy to help. Please get in touch with the Research Admissions Team.
The Application Process
Successful application is based on your ability to meet the entry requirements, your research proposal and the School's capacity to provide relevant supervision for your research.
Our admissions process follows three stages:
Please ensure that:
- you meet our entry requirements (above)
- you can meet the financial requirements of the programme
- you have your research proposal ready.
Applications should be made using the on-line application form. You will be asked for the following information:
- academic qualifications and career to date
- an outline of your research interests
- the names and addresses of two academic referees
- any specific support needs you may have (see Disability Support)
- your chosen College. (If you wish to read for a full-time programme you must become a member of one of our Colleges as well as being accepted by a department. Find out more about the Durham Colleges.)
The following documents should also be submitted online as part of your application. Without these documents your application cannot be processed:
- Research proposal of 1500-2000 words. Please submit your proposal within the section of the online application entitled 'Other Relevant Experience'. However, if your research proposal contains tables or equations, please upload your document via the 'supporting documents' section under 'Scholarships/Other'. Advice on writing a research proposal.
- A 300-500 word abstract giving a summary of the Research Proposal
- Copies of certificates of degrees awarded (up to 3 may be uploaded)
- Copies of transcripts of modules studied (up to 3 may be uploaded)
- Evidence of proficiency in English (where this is not your first language)
- Two references, one of which must be academic.(Reference letters should be emailed directly to us by your referees using the downloadable reference form.) Download the reference form
- Your Curriculum Vitae.
Only files of type .doc, .docx, .gif, .jpg, .pdf, .png, .rtf are permitted to be uploaded.
The maximum file size is 5MB.
If you have any problems attaching your supporting documents to your online application, you may email them to us.
We will process your application on the basis of all the information provided and will normally let you know our decision within four to six weeks. In certain circumstances we may need to request further information.
A successful application will be sent to Durham University's Student Recruitment and Admissions Office (SRAO) with a recommendation for approval. (We will contact you direct if we are unable to recommend your application for approval.)
The SRAO is responsible for approving all postgraduate applications. You should be aware that approval by the SRAO is not a formality and that in some cases where we recommended approval, the SRAO will be unable to support this. Until you receive an offer from the Student Recruitment and Admissions Office, you have not received a formal offer of a place.
If you have any queries about the application process, contact:
Phone: (+44) 191 3345442
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Phone: (+44) 191 3345748
Marketing and Management
Phone: (+44) 191 3345990