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PhD/MPhil/MbyR application process

How to apply for an MPhil or PhD Degree

Entry requirements

The minimum entry requirement is an Upper Second Class Honours degree (or equivalent) at undergraduate level in an appropriate discipline, and/or a Master’s degree. In some cases appropriate professional or experiential learning may be considered in combination with a lower classification of Honours degree.

English Language Requirements

Applicants whose first language is not English or where the First or Masters Degree was not taught in English, are required to hold a suitable English language certificate.

Applicants requiring a Tier 4 visa are required to provide one of the following English language certificates:

  • West African at B(4)
  • NECO at B(4)
  • IELTS 6.5 with no band less than 6.0*

In addition, applicants who do not need a Tier 4 visa or are EEA Nationals, are permitted to use one of the following:

  • TOEFL 80 with no band less than 18*
  • Pearson’s PTE 61 with no band less than 56*

*The University can only accept these qualifications if they were completed 2 years prior to the start of the programme.

Application process

A full application should be completed electronically and contain the following:

  • Application Form -
  • Two (2) academic reference reports - Research Degrees Reference
  • Your Research Proposal
  • Copies of your Degree Certificate(s)
  • English Language Qualifications (if required)
  • A copy of the photographic page of your passport

Completed applications should be emailed to

What to include in your Research Proposal (Section 5 of the RDC application form)

This is your opportunity to state your research objectives, to grab the reader’s attention and highlight your suitability for research degree study.  You have a short time to convince a potential supervisor that you have a suitable project topic, that it is feasible and it is worth doing.

Contact potential supervisors and ask for their feedback and be prepared to take their comments into consideration for future revisions; please also clearly identify how your studies will be funded.  You should avoid vague blanket emails to several potential supervisors (these are obvious and will be ignored).

You are advised to use a structured approach:

  • Title
  • Abstract (Summary)
  • Introduction/Background
  • Hypotheses and objectives
  • Methodology
  • How to disseminate your findings
  • Ethical considerations
  • Summary and conclusions
  • References


  • Be clear and concise
  • Structure your proposal by breaking up blocks of text into smaller paragraphs (with headings)
  • Reference you work
  • Justify your objectives
  • Briefly write about your previous relevant experience which will help you achieve your objectives and identify your additional training needs.

When to expect a decision

Once the full application and associated documents have been received, the usual response time for any offer is 20 working days. The application is assessed on whether (a) the proposed project and applicant is suitable for admission and (b) an adequate supervisory team is available.

Entry dates and deadlines

Abertay offers a choice of two entry dates for research study – October and February of each year. Unless otherwise stated, deadlines for submitting a full application are:

Applications for October entry by 30 July (if you need a Tier 4 visa then the deadline is 3 June)

Applications for February entry by 30 November (if you need a Tier 4 visa then the deadline is 30 October) 

An applicant can apply to defer from one entry point to another on one occasion, however, subsequent requests must be supported by an additional full application.

Tuition Fees

Scottish/EU Tuition Fees
Tuition Fees – England, Wales & Northern Ireland
Overseas Tuition Fees

Contact us

For more information on how to apply, phone University Admissions on 01382 308476 or email