Entry criteria and how to apply

1. Choose your research degree

De Montfort University is the perfect place to find a postgraduate research programme. We aim to transform our students by providing an inclusive and stimulating environment; ensuring our students develop a broad range of skills.

We offer:

  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
  • International PhD (IPhD)
  • PhD through Extended Professional Experience
  • Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)
  • MA/MSc by Research

Full or part-time programmes are available. We offer 3 intakes per year: October, January and April.

Please note, applications to our MA/MSc by Research is open to the faculties of Computing, Engineering and Media (CEM) & Health and Life Sciences (HLS) only.

Further information about our Research Degree options can be found on our Which Research Degree Should I Study page.

2. Check our entry requirements

In order to be admitted as a student for a research degree programme, an applicant must:

  • Possess a UK Honours degree with at least an upper second class [2:1] or a Masters Degree or an academic or professional qualification plus experience in their sector or industry which the Research Degrees Committee Faculty Review Panel deems to be equivalent.
  • Demonstrate competence in the use of the English language. Please see section 5b. for further details on meeting our English language entry criteria.

Please note, entry criteria must be met before an application can be considered. Conditional offers will not be issued based on meeting academic or English language entry criteria.

3. Write your research proposal

As part of your application, you will need to write a research proposal. This will mean we can properly assess whether our expertise, facilities and supervisory capacity can support your research needs.

See further guidance on writing your proposal.

4. Find a supervisor

Applicants must have already contacted a potential supervisor to discuss their research proposal, prior to applying. This will establish a mutual interest in research and will help your application to be aligned with like-minded academics. You can find further information on our Research Centres and Institutes pages.

Please mention the name(s) of any academic you have contacted on applying.

5a. Apply to De Montfort University

New to studying at DMU? To apply for a research degree, you will need to apply via our Admissions Portal. You are required to provide the below documentation listed in 5b when applying.

Studied at DMU previously? If you have studied at DMU previously, please submit the below documentation listed in 5b via email to pgradmissions@dmu.ac.uk, not through the admissions portal. You will also need to complete and attach our application form and annexe form alongside the documents requested below:

You will need to select a programme code when applying from a list of research degree programme codes. Please select the programme code closest to your research proposal.

Please ensure you have funding in place for your research degree before submitting your application, this could be in the form of self-funding, sponsorship or scholarship.

5b: Submit mandatory documents

As part of your application, you will be required to submit a range of documents. Below we have outlined five of the key documents:

Research proposal

See our helpful guide on what your proposal should include.

Certificates and transcripts

We require scanned copies of your most relevant academic certificates and transcripts. Documents that are not in English must be provided with a certified English translation.

Two academic references

References must be dated within the last two years. Should your intended route be a DBA or PhD by Extended Professional Practice, one of your references can come from industry/practice. References must be provided in one of the following formats. The below guidance can be forwarded on to your referees:

  • Complete our Reference Form and send to pgradmissions@dmu.ac.uk from a valid institutional email address, or;
  • Complete our Reference Form and return back to you for uploading onto the admissions portal alongside your application, or;
  • Complete our Reference Form and send it by post to the Doctoral College with an original signature (address found at the bottom of this page), or;
  • Submit a reference on headed paper from the referee's institution / organisation, signed and dated by the referee.
  • We welcome references in other accessible formats such as audio files, braille and captured videos.
  • The reference report form must contain full contact details of the referee.

Unfortunately, the Doctoral College are not able to contact referees on behalf of applicants.

English language proof

Applicants who are required to evidence their English language will need to produce either:

  • A IELTS (Academic) certificate at 6.5 or equivalent, with no component below 6.0 and shall have been taken not more than two years prior to entry, or;
  • Copy of a Degree certificate from a majority English speaking country, dated within the last 5 years. (Further information on country exemptions), or;
  • WAEC/WASSCE at grade C/6 or above, or;
  • NECO grade C/6 or above.

Please note that we no longer accept TOEFL or TOEIC as proof of English language proficiency. We do provide an English examination for research degree applicants which can be used in place of an IELTS (Academic) certificate. More information about the De Montfort University English language test can be obtained from the Doctoral College at: PGRadmissions@dmu.ac.uk

All applicants must have first met the academic entry requirements for a research degree at DMU before they can be booked onto the De Montfort University English language test. Tests can only be booked via the Doctoral College at PGRadmissions@dmu.ac.uk


We require a clear copy of the photo page of your passport that details your passport number and nationality.

The Doctoral College will not be able to process your application without all of the above documentation.

6. Deadline for applications

You can apply all year round for our research degrees. Please see below our current intake and deadline dates:



Intake: 1 April 2024 | Application deadline: 1 February 2024

Intake: 1 October 2024 | Application deadline: 1 August 2024

Intake: 1 January 2025 | Application deadline: 1 November 2024 

Please note, applicants to our MA/MSc by Research are only able to be considered with our October intake.

7. Fees, funding, visa, ATAS


Information regarding our current fees can be found on our tuition fees page.

Funding and scholarships

Information regarding our current and upcoming scholarships can be found on our scholarships page.

Applicants requiring a visa

To find out if you need a visa to study in the UK, please read the following advice and guidance. Please do not book any non-refundable travel until you have obtained a visa. Full-time overseas applicants must also make a pre-payment of 50% of the first year's programme fees in order to receive a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS).

Applicants requiring an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS)

Students studying certain research programmes in the UK must gain ATAS clearance before applying for a visa to study the programme.  ATAS clearance is a scheme operated by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) to help stop the spread of knowledge and skills that could be used in the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and their means of delivery.  Applications for ATAS clearance usually take around 20 working days to be processed.  This can be longer during busy periods and we encourage applications to be made as soon as an offer letter has been issued from DMU.

8. What happens next?

The Doctoral College will process your application which includes determining if a qualification check is required. We will then forward your application on to the relevant Faculty for consideration.

The Doctoral College is responsible for sending out all correspondence relating to formal offers and acceptance, as well as sending information on accommodation, visa requirements and other important issues.

If you are unconditionally accepted, an unconditional offer letter and information pack will be sent to you.

If you are conditionally accepted, a conditional offer letter and information pack will be sent to you outlining the conditions you must fulfil before your offer of a place is confirmed.

Once you have been unconditionally accepted, the Doctoral College will contact you to complete your registration and inform you of the upcoming Doctoral College induction event.

If your application is not accepted, you will receive a letter from the university informing you of the outcome.

Apply now


Please contact our dedicated Doctoral College Admissions team if you have any queries around how to apply for a Research Degree:

Email address: pgradmissions@dmu.ac.uk

Visit us in person: Room 0.02, Portland Building, Leicester, LE1 9BH