Visiting Postgraduate Research Students 

The Faculty of Science welcomes research students from other universities who wish to spend time studying with us. 

How to apply for a visit

You must first secure the agreement of a member of academic staff to act as your supervisor for the duration of your visit.  If you have not already done so, please see the relevant School research pages (listed below) to find members of staff whose research area matches your interests.  You should contact them directly, using the contact details given on the relevant web page.

Earth Sciences:
Geographical Sciences (Physical):

Once you have secured the agreement of a potential supervisor, and have agreed dates for your visit with them, please submit a complete application through the University online Postgraduate Application System which includes degree certificates and transcripts of qualifications.  You will also need to provide an official letter from your current institution confirming the research degree programme that you are registered on along with your dates of study - the letter must include your programme start date and your expected end date.


Please note we will require 4-6 weeks to process a complete application.  Applicants are therefore advised to complete their application form 3-6 months prior to the anticipated visit dates to allow adequate time to process the application, secure the relevant supervisory approvals and make the necessary pre-arrival arrangements (including ATAS and visa applications if applicable). 

Once we have processed your application, we will send you an offer letter and provide further information.

Points to consider before submitting an application

Prospective visiting postgraduate research students should note that:

  • You may be required to pay a bench fee.  The definitive bench fee will be confirmed in your offer letter.
  • You are responsible for all costs associated with your visit, including accommodation, subsistence, travel and leisure costs.  We do not currently offer any bursaries or other financial support for visiting research students.
  • The University of Bristol will not award any credit or make any awards based on work undertaken during the research visit.
  • You will be expected to engage with the research community in the Faculty of Science within the relevant research theme and, if appropriate, within the school.


  • Postgraduate research students can ONLY come to the Faculty having received and accepted an official invitation to visit through the University online Postgraduate Application System.
  • To come to the Faculty of Science as a visiting research student, you must be registered as a research student at another university.
  • Confirmation of academic supervision for the duration of the visit will be required before the official invitation can be issued. 
  • In the case of students requiring Student visa sponsorship your supervisor will hold responsibility for monthly monitoring of academic engagement.

International applicants

Visiting for more than six months

Please note, applicants whose first language is not English are required to demonstrate that they meet the English Language requirements for the programme.  You should provide an IELTS or TOEFL certificate which is less than two years old before your proposed start date; i.e. all tests for entry in September 2021 must have been taken in October 2019 or later.  A minimum overall score of 6.5, with no less than 6.0 in each band (Profile E) is required for postgraduate research programmes in the Schools of Earth Sciences and Geographical Sciences.  A minimum overall score of 6.0, with a minimum of 6.5 in either Listening or Speaking, and minimum of 6.0 in other bands (Profile F) is required for postgraduate research programmes in the Schools of Chemistry, Mathematics, and Physics.  Please refer to the University of Bristol English Language entry requirements for further guidance.

You will need to apply for a Student visa, and some programmes will require ATAS clearance.  Please visit the Student Visa Services webpage for further details of who is required to apply for ATAS. We will only be able to provide you with a Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies (CAS) once any academic and language conditions have been met.

Students requiring a CAS for visa purposes will be asked to provide official confirmation (student status letter) from their home institution of the degree they are currently registered for, their start date and their expected end date. A CAS cannot be issued to an international visiting research student who is NOT returning to their home institution to complete their research degree (PhD).  Students who fall into this category should contact the relevant School directly as they may qualify as an Academic Visitor.

Visiting for less than six months

If you are visiting for less than six months you are not currently required to provide an IELTS or TOEFL certificate.  You will be interviewed by your prospective supervisor who will confirm your standard of English is suitable for the visit. In this case, you will be able to apply for a Standard Visitor visa

Students are asked to contact the University’s Student Visa Services office directly for advice regarding visas.  Please refer to their website for further details:


If you have any questions about the application process for visiting research students, please contact us at



Visiting Research Students

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