How to apply

apply hereWhen submitting an application for any postgraduate programme, you are also required to submit supporting documentation to accompany your application form. Here's some helpful tips on the application process, and what you will need to consider

Choose your Programme

In the College of Medical and Dental Sciences, postgraduate researchers can undertake research work leading to the award of a Master of Science by Research (MSc by research), Master of Research (MRes), Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) or Doctor of Medicine (MD). This activity is managed by the College of MDS Graduate School, Institute Graduate Directors and Co-ordinators and other academic staff to ensure that postgraduate researchers following this route of study receive the necessary support.

A programme, normally of one year's duration of training in research with an emphasis on the acquisition of research skills. The programme comprises between 30 and 70 credits of taught modules from a notional 180 credits for the programme, together with one or more research report(s) or a thesis.

It is a stand-alone programme that would be of particular interest to students who wish to apply for further training at PhD level.

MSc by Research
Supervised research degree awarded on the basis of a thesis and oral examination and can be studied full time or part-time.  MSc by Research students are registered for 1 year full time or 2 years part time. Ideal for those seeking research training for progressing to a PhD.

PhD students are registered for 3 years full-time or 6 years part-time. Assessment is based on the production of a thesis and oral examination. A PhD thesis should represent an original contribution to knowledge, demonstrate that you can exercise independent judgement and be worthy of publication in whole or in part in a learned journal or the equivalent.

All students in the College of Medical and Dental Sciences wishing to study for a PhD are first registered onto the MSc by Research programme and expected to progress to PhD by going through a formal upgrade process after about one year. Successful candidates will then be registered for a PhD.

Doctor of Medicine (MD)
A supervised research degree for students already registered with the General Medical Council, is studied part-time over two years. MD students are registered for 2 years part time.

Once you have chosen which type of Research Degree is most suited to you the next step is to choose your Programme of Study. The College of MDS is made up of 8 Institutes dedicated to Research in a variety of fields and each Institute has a Postgrduate Research programme. To find the programme for your research field you can look at Our Research Programmes.

Each programme may have different entry requirements and tuition fee costs, therefore it is important to read through the Course Profile of each programme carefully for further information.

Prepare your application

Step 1. Identify a Supervisor

How to Identify Potential Supervisors:
Identify at least one member of staff within the College of Medical and Dental Sciences who might be your supervisor by looking through the Institute Staff Lists and looking at their Research Interests and Postgraduate Supervision areas.

Consider whether your chosen field is relevant to the member of staff. If it is then it may be worth contacting them to express your interest and to explain briefly your ideas for a proposal.

Make a connection
When you are ready to contact potential supervisors, approaching them by email is a good initial step. Ensure that your messages are tailored to each supervisor, not generic. You must catch the interest of the supervisor quickly and make a good first impression. State why you are approaching this particular supervisor, and why your research interests and goals are a good match. State why you are interested in Postgraduate Research (including career goals) and emphasise any research or leadership experience. If you already have funding, state the amount, duration and source.

Step 2. Application Documents

Research Proposal
If you are applying for any of our research courses - MRes, MSc by Research or PhD - you will need to supply a research proposal with your application.

Your proposal should include information about your chosen area of research and your proposed research question(s) so that we can understand exactly what you’re hoping to study. Each discipline requires slightly different things in a research proposal, so you might find it useful to seek advice from the admissions tutor or your potential supervisor before you apply but the following guidelines give a sense of what is often included.

Your proposal should normally be around two pages (double spaced) and will often include:

  • Overview: an outline of your chosen topic or overview of your research.
  • Background: some background on the topic (what’s already been done) and an indication of why your research will be important and interesting (what questions will it answer?).
  • Aims: your research question(s) or a clear description of your area of study with an indication of the literature you will be drawing on, for instance, primary works or thinkers.
  • Methodologies: in addition some disciplines will also require an indication of appropriate methodologies and of any specific resources (such as archives) you propose to use. 
  • Timescale: provide a timescale for the conduct of your research.
  • References: provide a list of references to the sources which you have mentioned in your application.

Research proposals are not expected to be a finished document, and you may wish to refine or change your research focus in negotiation with your supervisor at a later date.  It is important that it is your own work so that if you are asked about it at interview you can explain your arguments clearly.

CV and Personal Statement
An up-to-date CV (approximately two sides of A4 paper) demonstrating clear evidence of academic, personal and professional achievements (including prizes received or papers published) and a personal statement, approximately 5000 characters, explaining why you are interested in studying on your chosen programme. Alternatively, you can type this within your application.

Two academic references (or if appropriate to the programme applied for, one could be from your employer) 

Degree Transcripts
Degree transcript(s) - originals or certified photocopies (Your qualifications must have the original certification stamp and should be certified by either the institution where you studied, a notary, the British Council or a University of Birmingham Overseas Representative) 

English language requirements
International applicants are required to provide evidence of their proficiency in the English language, if English is not their first language or they are from a country not on the UKVI list of English speaking countries. All research programmes within the College of Medical and Dental Sciences require an overall score of IELTS 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in each individual component.

All shortlisted candidates will be interviewed, either in person or by conference call/telephone.

Apply Online

When you have decided on the Research Programme you wish to study, have identified a Supervisor and you have your documents ready you will be required to submit your application online.

On the course finder page of your chosen Research Programme click on the 'Apply Now' button under Course Details tab and you will be directed to an application specifically designed for the programme you wish to apply for where you will create an account with the University application system.

Once you've completed your online application and submitted it electronically, it will be checked by staff in the Postgraduate Admissions team before being sent to the College of Medical and Dental Sciences for consideration. Selection processes differ depending on the type of application you have made.

International applicants
We encourage you to apply early, so that you have plenty of time to prepare the necessary travel, study and immigration documents. In some cases, it may be a time-consuming process to apply and receive the necessary travel and study documents. We recommend that you apply well in advance of the start date for your chosen programme.

Accept your Offer - What next?

If you have questions about the conditions of your offer please contact Admission via the contact details on your offer letter. Further information on registration and induction will be sent to you and you will be ready to commence your studies on the agreed start date.