4.1 Admissions


The University has a set of admissions principles and procedures that should be considered and followed by those involved with research degree programme admissions.

4.1.1 Admission requirements

General admission requirements for entry to research degree programmes are contained in the Postgraduate Prospectus. Each programme or group of programmes will provide a detailed admissions statement that details entry requirements and any local admissions procedures. Admissions statements are accessible via the online prospectus pages. Doctoral training entities may have specific entry criteria and these should be outlined within the online information available.

There are specific admission requirements for distance learning research students as set out in the Policy for Research Degrees by Distance Learning in Annex 11.

Some programmes or specific doctoral projects with external sponsorship may need to include clarification on intellectual property rights, in line with the University's Intellectual Property Policy for Students.   

The following are the University’s minimum requirements for entry to research degree programmes:

  • a first degree, normally at a level equivalent to at least UK Honours 2.1 level; or
  • a relevant postgraduate Masters qualification; or     
  • evidence of prior learning or achievement that enables the University to assess the candidate’s potential to succeed in the programme applied for.

Applicants whose first language is not English are required to satisfy the University’s Language Entry Requirements.

Faculties and schools should facilitate and encourage students to attend language courses, as appropriate, either before their programme begins or during the programme if required by the school/faculty.

4.1.2 Admission procedures

The University Student Recruitment Committee has overall responsibility for postgraduate admissions. It is chaired by the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Global Engagement) and is responsible for:

Faculty PGR Directors oversee postgraduate admissions within their faculties, approving any offers made outside normal entry requirements.

Heads of School are normally responsible for the integrity of the admissions processes in their school. It is therefore the Head of School’s responsibility to appoint school admissions selectors, and to ensure that these selectors are given time to undergo training in admissions and have sufficient resources for them to carry out their responsibilities effectively.

Interviews: If interviews take place, the training in recruitment and selection detailed in the University’s resourcing guidance may be beneficial.

The University’s core requirements in respect of decisions made about formal applications for admission to research degree programmes are:

Decisions on admissions to research programmes must be taken by two or more members of academic staff. Selectors must ensure that all admissions decisions take account of the University’s statutory responsibilities in respect of equal opportunities and any related University policies and must be based on fair and justifiable criteria. Selectors should encourage applicants to disclose disabilities in order that appropriate support may be put in place.

In the case of entrants seeking to use accreditation of prior learning or achievement to meet the entry requirement for admission to a research degree programme, criteria must be in place to enable a prospective research student’s preparedness and potential to complete the programme to be evaluated. Those involved in decision-making will provide evidence that the criteria have been applied to the relevant faculty office.

The reasons for the decision made must be recorded in a brief file note.

Interview panels should normally include the applicant's expected supervisors although for some doctoral training entities this may not be possible if supervisors are not known at this point.

For some doctoral training entities, the admissions process may need to accommodate multiple institutions. In such cases, it is important that the core principles of the University’s admissions policy are incorporated.

4.1.3 Pre-entry advice for disabled students

All applicants are considered using equitable academic criteria. Prospective students who have a disability are encouraged to make early contact with Disability Services to discuss what support may be offered by the University, and how it may be funded, so that they can make an informed choice about any offer of a place.

4.1.4 Pre-entry advice for faculties/schools where an applicant has a disability

Advice is available from Disability Services to staff on how the faculty/school can support disabled students. Applicants should be encouraged to declare any disability at the earliest opportunity and staff should support this and signpost such students to Disability Services. To promote early contact, offer letters to successful applicants also provide appropriate signposting to Disability Services. In addition, there are School Disability Coordinators who have oversight of the support for disabled students within each school.