How to apply

Applying for a place on one of our postgraduate research programmes requires some preparation in advance.

Applications for postgraduate research are submitted online through the University's online admissions application system.

Read the steps listed below carefully before you complete your online application and, if you have any questions, please contact the admissions team:

Entry requirements

For entry to most of our PhD programmes, we require a bachelor's (Honours) degree with a minimum Upper Second class (or the overseas equivalent) in a relevant subject area.

Candidates applying with a Lower Second class bachelor's (Honours) degree may be considered if there is evidence of academic progress through master’s study (taught master’s at a minimum grade of Merit). Alternatively, they may be considered for an MPhil instead.

Competition for entry to our funded programmes is high. We would not generally consider applicants with a Lower Second class degree unless they have considerable research experience and/or a good master's degree.

Before you apply

Before making a formal application to the University you must have already been in direct contact with a potential supervisor as we cannot accept unsolicited applications with no proposed supervisor or project. Supervisors with available projects (funded or for self-funded/sponsored applicants) can be found in the projects database.

If you have not identified a supervisor/project, then you should contact the admissions team for help with this process, before applying online.

You can get a flavour of research areas and interests of our academics via the University's Research Explorer though not all academics will be in a position to consider applicants, so ensure you contact them directly before applying.

Step 1 - Choosing your project

Decide on the type of degree you wish to apply for.

  • PhD - For entry to our PhD programmes, we require a Bachelors (Hons) degree with a minimum Upper Second (or the overseas equivalent) in a relevant subject area.
  • MPhil - For applicants interested in an MPhil, we can usually accept a Bachelors degree with a Lower Second (or the overseas equivalent).
  • MD Medicine - Please contact us for information on how to apply.
  • Funded programme - i.e. BBSRC DTP, MRC DTP, Wellcome Trust ICD.

If you are interested in a funded programme or studentship, carefully follow the additional application instructions on the specific webpages for that programme and check the associated deadlines.

You may need to apply earlier than self-funded candidates.

The majority of funded programmes and studentships are advertised between October and March for PhD study starting the following September.

  • View funded programmes and follow the specific guidance on those websites on how to apply, as well as the steps below.
  • Search for projects (use the funding type filter to find funded projects) and follow the instructions below.

Step 2 - Contacting your supervisor

Make contact with the project supervisor once you have found a project most relevant to your research interests by searching our list of available projects. You can include up to two projects/supervisors on a single application.

In a small number of cases, it may not be possible to match you to one of your preferred projects/supervisors. However, we will always endeavour to find you an alternative project by bringing your application to the attention of other potential supervisors.

The University uses electronic systems to detect plagiarism and other forms of academic malpractice and for assessment. A number of programmes will require the submission of a research proposal as part of the application process. The Doctoral Academy upholds the principle that where a candidate approaches the University with a project of study, this should be original. While it is understandable that research may arise out of previous studies, it is vital that a candidate's proposal is not the subject of plagiarism.

Step 3 - Completing the application form

Once you have decided on your project and spoken to your supervisor, you can apply using our online admissions application form.

When completing the application form, please make sure you use the below guidance and complete all fields accurately:

  • Level of Study - Postgraduate Research.
  • Entry Year – Select the academic year you wish to study in. For example, January and April 2024 are in the 2023/24 academic year and September 2024 is in the 2024/25 academic year.
  • Academic Programme– search for your main subject area of interest (for example, PhD Biochemistry, PhD Immunology). Do not worry too much about the area, but try to select one that meets your general interests. For funded programmes, search for the programme title (such as BBSRC MRC).
  • The full range of subject areas we offer in the Faculty can be found on the subject listings page. You can select one of these for self-funded applications in particular.
  • Section 6 of the online application form asks for Research Details.
    • If you are applying for specific project(s), you must state the name of the project supervisor and provisional project title in the format below. You can indicate up to two supervisors here in the following format:
    • Name of Supervisor – Project Title
  • Section 9 – Funding Sources. You will need to provide details of how you intend to fund your studies. It is important to give as much detail as possible about your known or expected funding arrangements.
    • If you are applying for a fully funded studentship, you must follow the instructions on the specific webpage for the programme.
    • If you have not secured or do not intend to apply for funding to cover the cost of your studies, you should select "No". In this case, you do not need to provide any further details and we will assume that you are funding your studies yourself.
    • If you have other sources of funding, please indicate this here and include your scholarship letter, if you have one.

Step 4 - Supporting documents

Your application form must be accompanied by a number of supporting documents by the advertised deadlines. Without all the required documents submitted at the time of application, your application will not be processed and we cannot accept responsibility for late or missed deadlines. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

Supporting statement

This should summarise:

  • your motivation for postgraduate research study;
  • why you want to do a postgraduate research degree in Manchester;
  • any research experience that you have.

If you are applying to one of our funded schemes, you should also include in your supporting statement why you are interested in that particular programme.

If you have completed a research project during your undergraduate/master's study, please give a short description of the work you undertook, including the following details:

  • the research problem
  • your key findings
  • techniques acquired and skills learned.

This information is especially important for applicants from overseas, so we can fully assess your practical background and experience alongside your academic qualifications. Failure to include this information may delay the processing of your application.


We require two references from people who have knowledge of your academic ability. These are usually academic references from a lecturer or professor at your previous university.

You will need to provide details of your referees in section 10 of the online form. Your referees will be contacted directly after you submit your application and directed to complete our online reference form.

Email addresses

The email address you provide for your referees must be related to the academic institution or organisation to which they belong, rather than a personal-use email (for example,

Certificates and transcripts

You must provide copies of both your undergraduate and, if applicable, postgraduate qualification, including official translated copies where applicable.

If you are still completing a qualification an interim transcript of marks achieved to date should be provided.

Official English Language certificate

This should be a valid English language qualification, where applicable. See Step 5 below for further details.

Curriculum Vitae (CV)

Ensure your CV is current and up to date.

Step 5 - English language requirements

In Section 5 of the online application form, you will be asked to provide details of how you meet the English Language requirement.

We mainly accept IELTS or TOEFL tests. Please note IELTS and TOEFL are only valid for two years.

For the majority of PhD/MPhil applicants, we require a minimum IELTS score of 6.5 overall or TOEFL (iBT) 90. Each component of the English test should meet the minimum requirement of IELTS 5.5 in all components, TOEFL (iBT 22). For the writing component, we expect you to have achieved a minimum of 6.0 (IELTS).

Some programmes require overall IELTS 7.0 and in each component. Check requirements for your programme by searching on the programme listings page.

If your IELTS or TOEFL expires before the start of your programme, you will need to take another official English test before we can issue you with a CAS for your visa application. This is a requirement of UKVI.

For more information about English language tests, see English language requirements.

Please contact us at for further information.

Step 6 - Application submission

Once submitted, you will receive an acknowledgement that your application has been received. Your application will be reviewed by the Doctoral Academy Admissions Team to ensure you meet the minimum entry requirements.

If eligibility is met your application will be reviewed by the proposed supervisor(s) and/or funded programme recruitment panel.

Step 7 - Interview

You will be kept informed of the progress of your application throughout the application procedure. If appropriate, you will be invited for an interview either in person or via Zoom. Interviews for funded programmes will be arranged on specified days.

At the interview, you may find you are asked to present on a previous research project you have conducted or comment on a scientific paper. Interviews are conducted by an independent postgraduate tutor.

Application deadlines

The deadline for submitting an application for postgraduate research in the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health depends on when you intend to start your research.

If you are applying for one of our funded programmes, please refer to the deadlines detailed on the dedicated programme page.

  • January 2024 entry: Sunday, 15 October 2023
  • April 2024 entry: Monday, 15 January 2024
  • September 2024 entry: Saturday, 15 June 2024