Entry criteria and How to apply

Information for research degree applicants - COVID-19 response

We appreciate there is a lot of uncertainty around how your university research degree application could be affected, and we want to reassure you that your application is very important to us.

We remain committed to processing everything as quickly as possible and are doing all we can to provide you with the answers you need.

If you have any questions that have not been answered below, please do not hesitate to contact our admissions team via email: pgradmissions@dmu.ac.uk.

I'm interested in studying a research degree at DMU, can I still apply?

We welcome all new applications and are working hard to continue processing everything as normal. The information on this page will provide you with information on how to apply.

I have an unconditional offer from DMU, will this change?

If you have received an unconditional offer to study at DMU then this will remain unchanged and your offer to study with us still stands. While the current circumstances mean things are changing frequently, please rest assured that your unconditional offer is secure and we look forward to welcoming you to DMU when the next academic year starts.

If you do have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact our admissions team.

I have a conditional offer from DMU, what happens now?

We’d like to assure you that if you hold a conditional offer to study with us then this still stands, and we continue to think you have a great future with DMU. If you require any support in meeting the conditions of your offer, please do not hesitate to contact our admissions team.

I've been invited to an interview, will this still be going ahead?

Interviews of research degree applicants will take place via video conference (e.g. Skype or Zoom). If you do have any questions, please contact our admissions team.

I have accepted my offer. Will I still be able to start at DMU in October 2020?

As things currently stand, the academic year will run exactly as normal, with a new academic year starting in October 2020. If any changes are proposed, either to the timelines, or to the mode of delivery (e.g. by distance-learning due to COVID-19), we will keep you updated.

I'm an international student, is it still safe to come to the UK to study?

The health, safety and wellbeing of our students is our highest priority, so please rest assured that we are following the government’s advice and guidance to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 and protect anyone who could be at risk.

We are accepting new applications as normal, and will do everything we can to ensure students are still able to register on our programmes this year. If we are required to make any changes to our programmes, deadlines or entry requirements, then we will update you as soon as possible.

I'm an international student needing to evidence my English language to meet entry criteria. However, IELTS centres in my home country have closed. What should I do?

We recommend that you keep up-to-date with the advice provided by test centres on arrangements for exams. You can check on the IELTS website. If the centres do not open in time for our August deadline for an October intake, please note that we do have further intakes in January and April each year as well.

What should I do if I can't get hold of transcripts and certificates?

It might be that you are currently unable to provide all of the documents we have asked for as part of your application, such as transcripts, references or certificates. If this is the case, we recommend you contact our admissions team and apprise them of any difficulties.

I need to apply for an ATAS/CAS/Visa. What should I do?

If you are able to use a super priority service, we recommend choosing this. You can find out more about this here, as well as the opening times, address and contact details for UK visa application centres near you. Please be aware that choosing a priority visa service will incur a cost.

UK Visas and Immigration is continually reviewing requirements and we are monitoring this closely. You can find further details on their website.

For additional queries relating to CAS applications, please contact central admissions via email: admissions@dmu.ac.uk


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)
  • 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.

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 UK master's degree (or equivalent).
  • Demonstrate competence in the use of the English language. Please see section 5b. for further details on meeting our 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.

    Click here for further guidance on writing your proposal.

    4. Find a supervisor

    We encourage you to contact a potential supervisor to discuss your 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. If you do not contact a supervisor prior to submitting your application, we will match you with a supervisor during the assessment of your application.

    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, a list of research degree programme codes can be found here. 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 here.

    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 and 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.

    English language proof

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

    • An IELTS certificate, dated within the last 2 years. The overall score must be at least 6.5 with no less than 5.5 in each component, or;
    • Copy of a Degree certificate from a majority English speaking country, dated within the last 2 years. (Further information on country exemptions can be found here), or;
    • WAEC/WASSCE at grade C/6 or above, or;
    • NECO grade C/6 or above.


    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 October 2020 | Application deadline: 3 August 2020

    Intake: 1 January 2021 | Application deadline: 2 November 2020

    Intake: 1 April 2021 | Application deadline: 1 February 2021

    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 here. 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.


    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

    Telephone number: 0116 250 6309

    Visit us in person: Room 3.30, Gateway House, Leicester, LE1 9BH


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