Frequently asked questions for PhD applications
Information about applying for a PhD in Bristol Dental School
How do I apply for the PhD programme?
Full details on how to apply for the PhD programme and information about what you need to include with your application are available. You can apply to undertake a PhD with Bristol Dental School here.
I have a research topic in mind. Can I do a PhD within the Bristol Dental School?
We can only accept applications if we are able to supervise the research topic you are proposing.
The school hosts two overarching research groups:
- Lifecourse Epidemiology and Population Oral Health (LEPOH)
- Microbiology and Materials
The LEPOH group focuses on head and neck cancer and nutrition. Academics also have experience in epidemiology, statistics, and social science.
The Microbiology and Materials research group has three main focuses:
- Biomaterials Engineering: Materials and surface engineering for biomedical applications.
- Oral Microbiology: Microbial pathogenesis, polymicrobial communities, and host-microbe interactions.
- Oral Nanoscience: Multi-functional biomaterials.
Check out our ‘Supervisors’ page to find a potential supervisor with similar research interests to your desired topic before you apply. We receive many applications, and are concerned to ensure that we accept only those students to whom we can offer high quality supervision.
What are the entry requirements for study on the PhD?
Applicants should typically have, an upper second or first class honours degree and be studying for (or have already completed) a Masters degree from a British university; or international equivalent.
I am applying for a PhD in Oral and Dental Sciences. Can you give any guidance on how to write the research proposal?
The purpose of developing a research proposal is a necessary part of the application process as it provides a basis for decision-making, and helps to make sure that you get the most appropriate supervisor for your research. You should start by contacting the proposed supervisor to discuss a potential research topic. Later, and following a successful application, a more fully worked up proposal helps to crystallise your thoughts into a coherent research project that will be a useful reference as it develops.
A typical research proposal might look something like this:
- Rationale for the research project, including: a description of the phenomenon of interest, and the context(s) and situation in which you think the research will take place; an explanation of why the topic is of interest to the author; and an outline of the reasons why the topic should be of interest to research and/ or practice (the 'so what?' question); a statement of how the research fits in with that of potential supervisor(s) in the School.
- Issues and initial research question. Within the phenomenon of interest: what issue(s) do you intend to investigate? (This may be quite imprecise at the application stage); what might be some of the key literatures that might inform the issues (again, indicative at the application stage); and, as precisely as you can, what is the question you are trying to answer?
- Intended methodology: How do you think you might go about answering the question? Do you have a preference for using quantitative methods such as survey based research, or for qualitative methods such as interviews and observation?
- Expected outcomes: how do you think the research might add to existing knowledge; what might it enable organisations or interested parties to do differently?
- Timetable: What is your initial estimation of the timetable of the dissertation? When will each of the key stages start and finish (refining proposal; literature review; developing research methods; laboratory work; analysis; writing the draft; final submission). There are likely to overlaps between the stages.
An initial research proposal that forms part of a PhD application should be between 600 and 1000 words in length.
Information about the PhD Programmes
How many students are there on the PhD programme in the Bristol Dental School?
There are currently around 25 research students enrolled at the Bristol Dental School. More details can be found on our research profiles search engine.
What is the research environment like in the Bristol Dental School?
Research within the School falls into three main themes.
If you choose to undertake a PhD at the Bristol Dental School, you will be well supported by an enthusiastic research community with excellent research facilities.
80% of the research activity within the Bristol Dental School was recognised as internationally excellent or world-leading in the Research Excellence Framework (REF 2014).
To what extent are research students integrated into the department?
Research students are strongly encouraged to interact with other members of the School, and to attend the term-time seminar series, including external and internal speakers. Students also have opportunities to present their own work in less formal workshops, and to take advantage of many opportunities for further advanced training.
What funding is available for PhD study?
Studying for a PhD represents a major financial commitment and you should ensure that you have made appropriate long term plans for this. We strongly advise you do not arrive at Bristol without funding in place.
The most common sources of funding for our PhD programmes are from the Medical Research Council (MRC), Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), and other charities such as The Wellcome Trust.
For further information regarding other available funding please view the Fees and Funding pages.
What is the structure of the PhD programme?
The PhD degrees are awarded on the basis of the thesis submitted and an oral viva examination. The thesis for a PhD must represent a new contribution to knowledge, showing evidence of originality and independent critical power. The period of research for a PhD is normally four years. For part-time students this study length is doubled.
What are the fees?
For further information on fees, please see our prospectus. You may wish to note that you may be required to fund additional Bench Fees for your project. Bench Fees are required to cover the costs of consumables and other aspects of your research project. The actual Bench Fee required can vary depending on the project you are proposing. A discussion with your proposed supervisor will help give you a better idea of the Bench Fee required.
I have successfully been offered a place on the PhD programme, but I want to improve my English language skills.
The University of Bristol Centre for English Language and Foundation Studies can provide language support.
Life at Bristol
What accommodation is available?
The University’s Accommodation Office can often help graduate students to find somewhere to live.
Please note that it often takes several weeks to find accommodation for families, so students with families are very strongly advised to delay bringing their families until they have found accommodation.
You can find out more about the Universities Accommodation Service at the Accommodation Office web pages.
I am an international student. Can you give me any more advice?
The University of Bristol offers advice and support to international students and international staff to get the most out of their life in Bristol. More information for interested research students can be found on the International Office web pages.
How much does it cost to live in Bristol?
Your living expenses will depend upon your way of life. Our Funding Advice page will help give you an understanding of estimated costs of living in Bristol.