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All applications are made online and applicants are advised to discuss their application prior to submission with relevant staff in order to develop an appropriate research proposal.

The application process

This video explains the application process and how to apply online. If you click on the arrow at the bottom centre of the video, you can view the table of contents and navigate to a specific section.

If you wish to view the captions/subtitles, please click on the cc button on the bottom right of the video screen.



FAQs for the online application process

  • Can I apply for multiple projects?

    Once you have created an account on the applicant portal, you can create multiple applications.  The system will remember most of your details.

    You will still need to upload supplemental items for each application, including a unique research proposal for each project. You can manage your applications through the applicant portal.

  • I don't currently hold a valid passport but the system requires me to complete these details

    If you don't hold a valid passport, you can simply type in dummy data to bypass this section of the application form.  You will require a valid passport by the time you need to apply for a visa but we can still assess your application without this.  Please use '0000' to bypass this field so that it is clear it is dummy information.

  • Can I still apply without my English language proficiency evidence?

    You may still submit an application without your English language evidence, but we will require that you have passed any necessary tests and submitted certificates within a defined period (usually six weeks) from the closing date.  If you have booked a test, please upload this information in lieu of the certificate.

  • I am completing the application but I can't find where to upload the supplemental items

    The supplemental items will only be requested once you have submitted your application.  This is because different programmes require different supplemental items.  You will receive an automated email upon submission prompting you to upload the required documents.  Please note that both the application and the supplemental items must be uploaded before the closing date or else your application will be automatically withdrawn.

  • I'm trying to upload supplemental items but they are not saving

    Once you browse and select the files from your PC or device, you need to click on the small 'upload' button below the file to fully upload the file to the system.

  • How can I attach references to my application?

    You do not need to attach references at the application stage.  Some of our research areas may require references to be submitted and if so, you will be advised by email to initiate the 'Recommendation Requests' section.  You simply need to enter details of two academic referees and the system will automatically invite them to complete a form.  You can manage this via the portal.

  • My application has been withdrawn and I'm not sure why

    Once the closing date for applications has passed, those applications deemed 'incomplete' will be withdrawn by default.  This is usually because you have failed to upload a unique research proposal for the project in question or have other missing mandatory supplemental items.

  • I have not completed my degree/postgraduate degree so cannot upload the certificates

    We receive a number of applications from candidates who have yet to complete their degree programmes.  Although the system will initially require transcripts and degree certificates for both postgraduate and undergraduate courses, the Doctoral College team will waive these requirements once we could to assess your application (based on information provided in your CV).  We can process your applications through for consideration based on incomplete degrees, provided we have transcripts to date.

  • I have been made a reserve offer - how should I proceed?

    If you have been listed as a reserve for a funded position, you should decline the offer of admission to self fund (unless you are able to switch to self fund your studies).  We will then retain you on the reserve list for a funded place and make a new offer if a position becomes available.  We work through reserve lists up until September each year, so you should continue to check your inbox.

  • I have been made a conditional offer - how long do I have to meet the conditions of offer?

    If you have been made a conditional offer based upon receiving a particular grade in your degree or MSc programme, you will have until mid to late August to upload your certificates.  You will be unable to register without providing evidence of meeting the requirements.  In case of other conditions, such as English, you should upload your certificate as soon as you receive your test results so that your offer can be amended to unconditional.


Applicants should hold, or expect to obtain, a First or Upper Second Class Honours Degree in a subject relevant to the proposed area of study.

We may also consider applications from those who hold equivalent qualifications, for example, a Lower Second Class Honours Degree plus a Master’s Degree with Distinction.

In exceptional circumstances, the University may consider a portfolio of evidence from applicants who have appropriate professional experience which is equivalent to the learning outcomes of an Honours degree in lieu of academic qualifications.

A completed application includes an application form plus mandatory supplemental items, which you will be prompted for as soon as you submit the application form.

Advertisements for funded opportunities will include details of the closing date and any shortlisting criteria. Applicants should note that the closing date is strictly enforced and is the deadline by which you should have submitted both the application and any required supplemental items.

Apply online

  • Applications are made by using the online application system
  • You will receive an automated receipt email once your application has been submitted along with details of required supplemental items.

Apply online

Get help

If you need help with your application contact

What happens once you submit your application?

Once you've submitted your application, it will be reviewed on the following criteria:

  • the applicant's academic history including experience and qualifications
  • the suitability of the proposed project
  • the ability of the faculty to provide adequate resources and supervision in the specific area

On the basis of this assessment, you may be invited for interview where you will be assessed based on your relevant experience and other competencies.

If you are invited to interview, we will request the details of two academic referees via the Applicant Portal.  You should manage this process to ensure that references are provided to the University before the interview date.

You will receive notification of the outcome of your application via the Applicant Portal.  If you are successful, you can accept or decline the offer via the Portal.

If you are unhappy with the outcome you can undertake an appeal.

Further guidance

Checklist of supplemental items required for application:

The following are mandatory items:

  • Research Proposal

    A fully defined research proposal is a requirement for all subject areas EXCEPT for those applying to Intelligent Systems, Geography and Environmental Studies or to Nursing (applicants to projects within these fields should upload a copy of the project description). Applications to Psychology are asked to provide an example of academic writing instead of a research proposal.

    Research proposals are typically around 2,000 words (subject level guidance will be contained in each advert and may vary) and should include seven main sections:

    • Title of the topic
    • Background to the project including your research question(s), rationale and context, aims and objectives.
    • Overview of key literatures/theories relevant to the topic.
    • Proposed methodology including discussion of the research design, including the methodology to be adopted and the rationale for adopting it.
    • Ethical considerations related to the research.
    • Timeline of activities over three years (full-time) or six years (part-time)
    • Indicative Bibliography
  • Your CV

    Use an existing CV, Ulster Employability and Graduate Future's CV template or one of many other CV templates available . Include details of any publications you have as well as any work experience related to the project area.

  • Degree certificates and transcripts

    This is an official record from your University of modules and courses undertaken to date or as part of your qualification.  (Terminology - UG = undergraduate and PG = postgraduate).

    These are mandatory items and you will be required to provide certified English translations if appropriate.  If you have an award pending, simply upload the transcripts to date.  If you do not hold a postgraduate qualification, the administration team will waive this requirement when your application is due to be assessed.

  • English Language Proficiency

    An approved document that provides evidence that you meet the English language requirements of the University.

    For UK students this will usually be a copy of your GCSE English certificate. If you require a Student Visa you should provide evidence in the form of a UK Home Office approved Secure English Language Test. Please note that a letter from your institution confirming that your degree was in English is not sufficient for Home Office purposes.

    If you have an English test booked, please upload these details.

  • Personal Statement

    Please tell us why you wish to study at Ulster University on this particular programme. For students requiring a Student Visa, this statement will be used to prove your 'Intent to Study' to the UK Home Office. Use this guidance to help you understand what your personal statement should contain.