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How to apply

Applications are now open for September 2019 entry.

How to apply

Applications are open for September 2019 entry.

You should apply online as soon as possible once applications open.

If you wish to be considered for Wellcome Trust 4-year PhD and meet our eligibility criteria, you must complete an online application.

Follow the information below, and ensure you submit all the required documents. References can be emailed separately if they are not available to submit immediately (see below).

Complete the form following the instructions below.

Key dates

Previous applicants need not apply.

  • Applications open October 2018.
  • Applications close on 31 May 2019.
  • Interviews are likely to be held in mid-June 2019.

Application instructions

Step 1: Check you are eligible to apply

We take a maximum of five students per year onto the programme, which begins at the end of September. Competition for entry to the programme is fierce, and we are looking for candidates who demonstrate academic excellence and high motivation for research.

You must have, or expect to achieve, a First or Upper Second class degree, or its equivalent, in a related subject area.

Due to the interest in the programme our selection criteria for shortlisting is strict. We select candidates for interview based on the information you provide in Step 4.

Please note: You are not required to select a PhD project/supervisor at this stage or make a separate application for funding for this programme.


Step 2: Register to apply

Go to the Postgraduate Application Form and ensure you read all the instructions carefully.

Application form

If you have not already registered for an account, do so first of all.


Step 3: Create a new application

Please make sure you read all instructions for completing the online application carefully. If you have any problems with the online form please contact us at

Once logged in, choose to create a new application Select the following:

  • Academic Career – Postgraduate Research.
  • Mode of Attendance – Full-time.
  • Program Description – search for Wellcome Trust and then select PhD Wellcome Trust Molecular and Cell Biology.
  • Step 3 of the online application form asks for your Proposed Research Supervisor. You just need to type into the Research Title box Wellcome Trust 4 Year PhD at this stage.
  • Step 8 – please select Internal from the drop-down menu and University Scholarship from the Award Type drop-down menu. Then type Wellcome Trust PhD Programme into the Awarding Body text box.

Step 4: Supporting documents

Your application form must be accompanied by a number of supporting documents. These are:

  • A document of a 1,000 words maximum describing why you wish to take a four year PhD programme and outlining any previous research-related experience you may already have (industrial year, final year honours project, etc). Include any other information you consider relevant to your application.
  • Two references from people who have knowledge of your academic ability. References must be signed, dated and on headed paper. References should be accompanied by a Referee Report Form. Please ensure that your referees complete this form electronically and submit this with your application, or email it to
  • Certificates and transcripts from all your previous degrees.
  • Current curriculum vitae (CV).

All supporting documents can be uploaded and submitted with the online application form or, alternatively, can be sent directly to the Doctoral Academy Admissions Team at Your application can not be considered until all your supporting documents are supplied.


Step 5: Language requirements

For applicants whose first language is not English you must supply an official IELTS or TOEFL transcript to support your application, or provide a date on which you will be taking a test. Please note the IELTS and TOEFL are only valid for two years.

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 the UK Border Agency.

We require a minimum IELTS score of 6.5 overall [or TOEFL IBT 90]. The University of Manchester’s TOEFL code is 0757. Following an update to UKVI requirements, each component of the English test should meet the minimum requirement of IELTS 5.5 in all components, TOEFL IBT (Listening/Writing 22; Reading 22; Speaking 22).

Step 6: Acknowledgement

Once submitted you will receive acknowledgement that your application has been received.

Your application will be reviewed by the Wellcome Trust Programme Director after the deadline date for applications, as advertised on the website. You will be kept informed of the progress of your application throughout the application procedure. If shortlisted, you will be invited for interview.

Step 7: Interview

You will be kept informed of the progress of your application throughout the application process. We will contact you directly if we wish to invite you to one of our interview days.

Interviews will be carried out by members of the Wellcome Trust QBB Management Board, which currently comprises:


Contact us

For queries regarding the application process or your eligibility, please contact Hannah-Emily Smith.