PhD application information

Applicants who wish to study for a PhD at Bristol Dental School, should first contact your prospective supervisor from the staff on our website by email with your CV and possible research project before completing the online application form. The supervisor will interview you (usually via Skype) to carry out initial assessment of your suitability.

Formal applications can be made through our online application system. Application forms should be accompanied by two academic references, official transcripts of the marks of your undergraduate and postgraduate degrees, a research proposal and evidence of your English language proficiency, if applicable. Please carefully read the instructions before submitting your application to make sure it is complete. Full details on the entry requirements and application process can be found in the Admissions Statement.

It is in your interest to provide full and accurate information without delay, thus enabling the University to make a more prompt decision.

You can easily and quickly upload these documents to your online application. Please do not post items to us unless we have requested them.


We always require two academic references in support of your application. We are also happy to receive additional professional or employer references from any applicants who completed their studies over two years prior to submitting their application. However we will not be able to process your application until we have received references from two people who are familiar with your academic work.


You will need to upload to your online application form a full transcript showing the courses you have taken at university, and grades in those courses. If the documents are not in English, they should be accompanied by certified English translation.

English language requirements

Those whose first language is not English must demonstrate English language proficiency shown by one of the following:

  • IELTS at least 6.5 overall, with minimum 6.0 in each element (writing, reading, listening and speaking).


  • Successful completion of the Pre-sessional Academic English Course at the University of Bristol Centre for English Language and Foundation Studies with an overall grade of 65% or higher and no element below 60%.

Details of other accepted ‘Secure English Language Tests’ can be found in ‘Profile E’ of the University’s English Language Policy.

These items can be uploaded to your online application form. If you need to retake a language test please do so in your home country if at all possible.

Language tests are not normally required from overseas students who have completed a full three-year undergraduate degree in the UK.

Research proposal

Your application must also include a typed research proposal. This is an important part of your application, and we will look carefully at the proposal when deciding whether or not we can find a suitable supervisor for your research project.

Before you write your proposal, it is essential to discuss with your prospective supervisor to ensure that we can offer expert supervision in your chosen field. If we cannot offer supervision in your field, the application will be rejected, and many applications are rejected on exactly this basis.

Your research proposal does not commit you to researching in a specific area if your application is successful, but it is important that we have a clear idea of the broad research field you are most interested in.

Ideally, your proposal should be organised around a small set of ideas or hypotheses that you would like to investigate, and some evidence of relevant background reading is useful. As a rough guide, your proposal should be between 600 and 1000 words in length.

Application deadlines

There is no deadline for PhD applications, and you can apply at any point in the year. However, please note that it can take time to process your application. As a guideline, we advise allowing three months to receive a decision on a completed application.

If you wish to commence studying for a PhD on a specific date you should ensure that we receive a complete application well in advance of that date to avoid disappointment.

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