How to apply

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

Applicants applying for a funded PhD programme or studentship should follow the how to apply instructions on the specific webpages for that programme and check associated deadlines.  The majority of funded programmes and studentships are advertised between October and March for PhD study starting the following September.  If you are interested in funded programmes you may need to apply earlier than self-funded applicants.

All other applicants are advised to complete the Expression of Interest form and a suitable supervisor will be sought.  If you have already approached a potential supervisor and they have agreed to consider a formal application, follow the how to apply instructions below.

Applicants for standard MPhil or PhD programmes should ideally apply at least four months prior to the date of registration.

How to apply

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

Follow the steps listed below carefully to complete your online application. If you have any questions, please contact the Postgraduate Admissions Team at

Step 1

Decide on the type of degree you wish to apply for

  • PhD - For entry to our PhD programmes, we require a bachelor’s (honours) degree with a minimum Upper Second (or international equivalent) in a relevant science discipline.  
  • MPhil - For applicants interested in MPhil, we can usually accept a bachelor’s (honours) degree with a minimum Lower Second (or international equivalent) in a relevant science discipline. 
  • MSc by Research - For applicants interested in MSc by Research, we require a bachelor’s (honours) degree with a minimum Lower Second (or international equivalent) in chemistry, analytical chemistry or other chemistry related disciplines.
Step 2

Complete the Expression of Interest form if appropriate.  This will allow your application to be directed to the most suitable supervisor.    

Step 3

Please apply using the online application form.

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

The online application form

When on the 'Create New Application' screen, for MPhil and PhD applications, select:

  • Academic Career – Postgraduate Research
  • Mode of Attendance - Specify full/part time
  • Programme Description – search for your main subject area of interest (eg Chemistry, Biological Chemistry, etc). Do not worry too much about the area, but try to select one that meets your general interests. 
  • The full range of subject areas we offer in the School can be found on the University’s Research areas page so you can select one of these for self-funded applications in particular.
  • Step 3 of the online application form asks for your Proposed Research Supervisor and Research Title. If you have the name of the supervisor you can indicate this here otherwise leave this blank. 
  • Step 8 - funding.
    •  If you are applying for a fully funded studentship, please select 'Internal' from the Internal/External drop-down menu and 'University Scholarship' from the Award Type drop-down menu.
    • If you are self-funding or have other sources of funding, please indicate this here and include your scholarship letter, if you have one. Please also provide evidence of how you intend to fund your studies.
Step 4

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

1. A supporting statement (Statement of Purpose/Personal 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 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.

2. Two references from people who have knowledge of your academic ability. 

  • References must be issued within 6 months of the submission of the online application signed, dated and on headed paper.
  • Where possible references should be accompanied by a Referee Report Form and submitted with your application, or you can email it to the Postgraduate Admissions Team at

3. Certificates and transcripts from all of your previous degrees.

4. Official English Language transcript (IELTS or TOEFL) - see Step 5 below for further details.

5. Current Curriculum Vitae (CV).

6. A research proposal is not required as you can devise a suitable project with your proposed supervisor.

All supporting documents can be either:

  • uploaded and submitted with the online application form


  • sent directly to the Postgraduate Admissions Team

The processing of your application may be delayed if all your supporting documents are not supplied.

Step 5

For applicants whose first language is not English, or if you have not studied recently in the UK, 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 UKVI.

For the majority of PhD/MPhil/MSc by Research applicants, we require a minimum IELTS score of 6.5 overall or TOEFL (IBT) 90 overall.  Each component of the English test should meet the minimum requirement of IELTS 5.5 or TOEFL (IBT) 22. 

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

Please contact us at for further information.

Step 6

Once submitted, you will receive an acknowledgement that your application has been received. Once all of your supporting documents have been received, your application will be reviewed by Postgraduate Admissions Team and the proposed supervisor(s).

Step 7

You will be kept informed of the progress of your application throughout the application procedure. If appropriate, you will be invited for interview either in person or via Skype.

At interview, you may find you are asked to present on a previous research project you have conducted or comment on a scientific paper. Interviews usually consist of the academic supervisors.

Show enthusiasm for the project you are applying for. A PhD is a great commitment, so you must demonstrate your interest and wider knowledge on the research area.

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