How to apply online

Applications are made by using the online application system - the right information and and advice to make a successful application.

All applications are made online - competition for funded entry is high and applicants are advised to discuss their application prior to submission with relevant staff.

Application requirements

  • 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.Applicants deemed by Senate to hold an equivalent qualification will also be considered.

A completed application must be completed in full, including:

  • all information on existing qualifications and transcripts
  • funding details or requirements
  • evidence of English language proficiency
  • names and addresses of referees
  • For funded scholarship opportunities, the advertisements for each project will include any shortlisting criteria.
  • A research proposal may be required as part of the application process and this will be noted in the shortlisting criteria for funded projects.   Self-funded applications must be accompanied by a proposal.

Research proposals

Applicants should discuss the research proposal with a member of staff who is your potential supervisor for the PhD.

Proposals are typically around 2,000 words although there is no word limit.

Your proposal should include seven main sections:

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

Apply online

  • Applications are made by using the online application system.
  • You will receive an automated receipt email once your application is complete and all the necessary documents have been correctly uploaded.
  • If you do not receive this email your application will not be considered, and you should contact the Doctoral College team for further advice.

Apply online

Setting up an account

  1. If you have not applied online before you should select 'First Time User Account Creation' where you will create an ID and PIN.
  2. When logged in you should select 'New' to create a new application, then from the drop down menu at the bottom of the page, select 'Research (All Nationalities)'.
  3. You can then proceed to enter the requested information.
  4. When selecting the programme type you should select the Faculty under which your chosen project lies.
  5. Finally, when you are ready to submit your application, you should select 'Application is Complete' on the Checklist page.
  6. You will then receive an automated email confirming safe receipt of your application.

Upload your documents

Upload the following documents as part of your application:

  1. A research proposal. If the proposal is not a required element of shortlisting for your chosen subject area, please upload a copy of the project description.
  2. Your CV. Use an existing CV or re-use one of many CV templates available and include details of any publications you have as well as any work experience related to the project area.
  3. Your degree(s) certificate and transcripts to date. This is an official record from your University of modules and courses undertaken to date or as part of your qualification.
  4. Proof of English Language Proficiency. This 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 Tier 4 Visa you should provide evidence in the form of a UK Home Office approved Secure English Language Test
  5. Your Personal Statement. Please tell us why you wish to study at Ulster University on this particular programme. For students requiring a Tier 4 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.


If you are having issues uploading document please note:

  • Check your pop-up blocker and firewall settings.
  • You may need to ask a Technician to enable cookies and assist you in uploading your documents.
  • Do not use the Student Portal to apply if you are an existing student.

Get help

If you need help with your application contact

What happens once you apply

Once you've submitted your proposal, 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. Here's an example of the assessment form we used in our interviews.

If your application is successful, the Board of the Faculty will be asked to approve the decision and the Doctoral College will issue a letter of offer.

If your application is not successful you will be notified of this outcome. If you are unhappy with the outcome you can undertake an appeal.


Registration for full-time funded study typically takes place at the beginning of the academic year, during the second week of September.

Students in receipt of funding to undertake full-time study must be available to register at this time.

Part-time and self-funded students may find that an alternative date is more suitable and the University can accept new enrolments throughout the year.