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Research Degree Programmes - How to Apply

Applying Online

We strongly advise you to use our online application form because it is the quickest and easiest method for applying for admission to our courses. If you are unable to apply online please contact apply@aston.ac.uk

For information on completing the form view the Online application guidance notes.
If you are experiencing technical difficulties with the online application form please see the Online application guidance notes - Technical Problems, alternatively email: isa_helpdesk@aston.ac.uk

Please note: When progressing through the application form please use the hyperlinks/buttons at the bottom of each page and not your web browser back and forward buttons.

Start your application by going to the online application form and selecting a start year and Degree Programme.

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Entry Requirements

Academic Entry Requirements

You should have been awarded, or expect to achieve, a first or upper second class Honours degree or a Master’s degree in a relevant subject (or an equivalent qualification from an overseas institution). Please provide transcripts of the marks you have already achieved with your application.  If your qualification is suitable and your grades are good, we would normally accepted this as providing evidence of your research potential.

We also consider applicants who have substantial and significant work experience in a relevant field.  These applicants will normally conduct their research in their work environment.

English Language Entry Requirements

Non-native speakers of English are normally required to satisfy the following minimum English language requirements:

TOEFL: 600 (paper-based test), or 250 (computer-based test), or 100 (internet based test) IELTS:   6.5 (6.0 in each test)

Applicants may be granted exemption from this requirement if their overseas degree programme was delivered in English or if they have recently studied in an English speaking country for a significant period of time. Please enquire for further details.

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Your Research Interests

There is a section on the application form asking about your research interests. This enables us to match you with potential supervisors or research groups more easily. If you wish to submit a research proposal on a project you may do so, however your research activity will be defined in consultation with your supervisors.

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When should I apply?

You can apply for a place at any time of the year, unless you are applying for a specific studentship or scholarship with a deadline. Research students can commence their studies on one of four dates: 1 January, 1 April, 1 July or 1 October in any year. Please apply as early as possible before your preferred start date to enable us to process your application in good time for your start date. This is particularly important for international students who need extra time to apply for a visa.

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Supporting Documents

Please include the following supporting documents with your application form:

  • Transcripts of degrees and copies of certificates
  • Two academic references from your most recent academic institution, or details of two referees that you are happy for us to contact. If arranging your own references, please provide your referees with this Reference Form
  • If English is not your first language, your IELTS or TOEFL score (or test date if you have yet to sit the examinations)

We may not be able to reach a decision on your application if any of these documents are missing.

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Successful Applications

Once we have all your references and associated documents, your application will be forwarded to possible supervisors in relevant research groups. At this point, a potential supervisor may contact you either to discuss your application, request more information, or even invite you for an interview. 

If you meet our criteria for admission and a supervisor in your chosen area of research is available, an offer letter will be sent to your correspondence address.  If your offer is conditional, you will be required to fulfil these conditions prior to your enrolment.

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Unsuccessful Applications

Applicants that are unsuccessful will be notified by letter. The most common reasons for an applicant to be unsuccessful are that either you do not meet our entry criteria, or no-one suitable is available to supervise you at this moment in time. You may reapply at a later date if you have improved your qualifications, English Language ability, or your research interests have changed.

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Employable Graduates; Exploitable Research