phd requirements scotland

Postgraduate research PhDs

What is a phd.

PhD stands for 'Doctor of Philosophy'. To be awarded a PhD you must undertake a piece of independent and original research that results in a significant contribution to a field of knowledge in a specific area. You must write a thesis and defend your findings in an oral examination (viva).

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Is a PhD right for you?

Do you have a passion and a curiosity about a field of research.

A deep passion and an enquiring mind are critical to successfully navigating a PhD.

You’ll need to be determined and resilient because your research will go on for three to four years. But remember, although this is about independent research, you will not travel the journey alone. With the support of expert supervisors, our comprehensive researcher development programme and the community provided by Strathclyde Doctoral School you will be well equipped for success.

phd requirements scotland

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Education PhD

Awards: PhD

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding opportunities

Programme website: Education

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Research profile

Why edinburgh.

The University of Edinburgh was ranked first in Scotland for research power in Education and Sport (Times Higher Education, REF 2021) and we offer the largest concentration of researchers in education in a Scottish university.

This means you will be supported by and collaborate with leaders in the field. Our research activities cover all aspects of education and learning - from pre-school to higher education and lifelong learning.

Moray House School of Education and Sport staff provide supervision on a wide range of topics within the fields of:

  • teacher education
  • pedagogy, curriculum and schooling
  • outdoor education
  • social justice and inclusive education
  • comparative education and international development
  • childhood and youth studies
  • digital education
  • philosophy of education
  • language education: policy and practice

Many opportunities exist for interdisciplinary research.

Research Thematic Hubs

With over 250 research staff and students, we have a vibrant and expanding research community with a broad portfolio of academic disciplines gathered within seven broad research themes with permeable boundaries. These thematic hubs are:

  • Advanced Quantitative Research in Education
  • Children and Young People
  • Digital Education
  • Language, Interculturality and Literacies
  • Social Justice and Inclusion
  • Sport-Related Research
  • Teacher Education, Curriculum and Pedagogy

Research community

As a postgraduate research student you will join a vibrant Graduate School community with over 150 research students. There are also several opportunities for optional training and development throughout your studies.

Research students are encouraged to attend and actively engage with the activities of School research thematic hubs, which include seminars, meetings and workshops. In addition, several academic and social events for research students take place throughout the year.

We organise an annual series of around 25 training, talks and seminar events, as well as the student-led ‘Interweaving’ conference for research students and staff.

Programme structure

The PhD is a substantial piece of independent research which makes a contribution to the state of existing knowledge in the field.

The PhD programme is designed to take three years full-time or six years part-time. The programme is examined by submission of a thesis of up to 100,000 words and by oral examination.


You are encouraged to contact a potential supervisor to discuss your research project before making a formal application.

You may start your studies with us either on 1 October or 10 January of a year.

Find out more about compulsory and optional courses

We link to the latest information available. Please note that this may be for a previous academic year and should be considered indicative.

Training and support

Students following the PhD degree are normally supported in their research by two supervisors.

The first of these will be a member of staff who has expertise in the general area of your proposed research topic and the second will be another expert in the field who may come from within the School, University or a field of practice.

Most students who are accepted begin a period of research leading to a PhD; however, the first year of this degree is probationary and progression to year two is dependent on satisfactory progress.

We offer a number of courses in research methodologies, which you are encouraged to take during your first year.

You will work closely with your supervisors, who are recognised experts in the field. All PhD students pursue an individually tailored programme of research training agreed with their supervisors.

Our PhD programmes provide core training in the research skills necessary to flourish at doctoral level and beyond.

PhD by Distance option

The PhD by Distance is available to suitably qualified applicants in the same areas as our on-campus programmes.

The programme allows students who are unable to commit to basing themselves in Edinburgh full time to study for a PhD from their home country or city, however, this is not intended to be a fully online distance learning programme.

For further information on the PhD by Distance option (including criteria for eligibility, required application form and how to apply) please visit the School website:

  • Moray House School of Education and Sport PhD by Distance

Entry requirements

These entry requirements are for the 2024/25 academic year and requirements for future academic years may differ. Entry requirements for the 2025/26 academic year will be published on 1 Oct 2024.

A UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in a related subject is normally required.

Normally also a postgraduate degree with a 60% overall grade point average and 60% in the dissertation, or its international equivalent.

You must also submit a research proposal that fits well with our staff expertise. You are encouraged to contact potential supervisors in advance to informally discuss your research proposal.

We may also consider your application if you have other qualifications or substantial experience; if in doubt, please contact us to check before you apply.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

  • Entry requirements by country
  • English language requirements

Regardless of your nationality or country of residence, you must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies.

English language tests

We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS Academic: total 7.0 with at least 6.5 in each component.
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Home Edition): total 100 with at least 23 in each component. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • C1 Advanced ( CAE ) / C2 Proficiency ( CPE ): total 185 with at least 176 in each component.
  • Trinity ISE : ISE III with passes in all four components.
  • PTE Academic: total 70 with at least 62 in each component.

Your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the programme you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS , TOEFL, Trinity ISE or PTE , in which case it must be no more than two years old.

Degrees taught and assessed in English

We also accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree that has been taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country, as defined by UK Visas and Immigration:

  • UKVI list of majority English speaking countries

We also accept a degree that has been taught and assessed in English from a university on our list of approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries (non-MESC).

  • Approved universities in non-MESC

If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than three and a half years old at the beginning of your programme of study.

Find out more about our language requirements:

Fees and costs

Tuition fees, scholarships and funding, featured funding.

Moray House School of Education and Sport funding for postgraduate research students

Research scholarships for international students

UK government postgraduate loans

If you live in the UK, you may be able to apply for a postgraduate loan from one of the UK's governments.

The type and amount of financial support you are eligible for will depend on your programme, the duration of your studies, and your residency status.

Programmes studied on a part-time intermittent basis are not eligible.

  • UK government and other external funding

Other funding opportunities

  • Search for scholarships and funding opportunities

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • Search for funding

Further information

  • Postgraduate Admissions
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 650 4086
  • Contact: Admissions Office
  • Deputy Director of Postgraduate Research, Dr Darío Luis Banegas
  • Contact: [email protected]
  • Moray House School of Education and Sport
  • Old Moray House
  • Holyrood Campus
  • Programme: Education
  • School: Education and Sport (Moray House)
  • College: Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

Select your programme and preferred start date to begin your application.

PhD Education - 3 Years (Full-time)

Phd education - 6 years (part-time), application deadlines.

We encourage you to apply at least one month prior to entry so that we have enough time to process your application. If you are also applying for funding or will require a visa then we strongly recommend you apply as early as possible.

  • How to apply

You must submit two references with your application.

You must also submit a detailed research proposal using the following template:

Research Proposal template

Guidelines on writing your research proposal

Find out more about the general application process for postgraduate programmes:

phd requirements scotland


Here at GCU, the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals are at the heart of our research strategy. These global goals are reflected in our University for the Common Good ethos.

PhD opportunities

You can find a PhD project at Glasgow Caledonian University using the search facility below. Here you can filter your search to view funded, competition funded and self-funded opportunities within your chosen research discipline. Further information on the funding can be found at the links below

Application process

You can submit your PhD application using our online application portal and select from a list of strategic research subjects and intakes.

Fees and funding

Learn more about postgraduate research fees and explore options for funding support.

The PhD search tool may take a little time to load, thank you for your patience.

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University of Aberdeen

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Entrance requirements for a PhD at the University of Aberdeen are either a Masters degree or a first or upper-second class Honours degree in an appropriate area from an approved university ( or an equivalent qualification ).

Those with lower qualifications may be asked to register for a Masters degree by research (Mlitt, MSc, MTh, LLM, MLE or MRes) with satisfactory progress allowing conversion to a PhD programme.

Admission to the University of Aberdeen is entirely on merit and based on the ability to achieve. We operate an admissions policy which ensures equality of opportunity to all applicants. Applications are welcomed from students with excellent academic potential and the University recognises the importance of admitting applicants to a degree suited to their ability and aspirations. The selection process therefore takes account of all aspects of an application and not just an applicant's academic profile.

In seeking to attract applications from students with excellent academic potential, the University of Aberdeen is committed to widening participation and to promoting wider access to Higher Education. There are no admissions quotas which advantage or disadvantage any group of applicants and the University of Aberdeen is committed to treating all applicants within the admissions cycle fairly.

Every degree has an admissions selector, who considers all the applications for that area of study. Selectors are interested in an applicant's academic achievements but they will also take note of the spread of subjects studied and will check for competence in any specific subjects required for particular subjects. Selectors take an applicant's personal statement and the Referee's Report into account when they make their decision, as well as actual or predicted examination grades. Selectors are looking for evidence of knowledge and understanding of a subject, of commitment, motivation and responsibility, and ability to cope with the challenges of a university education.

Applications for admission to all degrees are considered without regard to any inappropriate distinction eg ethnicity or national origin, nationality, disability, sexual orientation, gender, religious or political beliefs, marital status or socio-economic background. Mature students (those who will be 21 or over at the time they start an undergraduate degree), and students who have suffered educational hardship or disruption (including students with disabilities), may receive special consideration.

The University of Aberdeen believes a diverse student population is important from an educational and social perspective; enhancing the educational experience for all.

The University's Guidance Notes for Admission provide further information for applicants who wish to submit an application.

  • Postgraduate Guidelines for Admissions
  • Terms and Conditions (Postgraduate)
  • Student Collection Notice
  • Tuition Fees
  • Visas and  Language requirements
  • Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) requirements

Find out more about:

  • Aberdeen City and campus
  • Our research environment and  research centres
  • Support for your studies
  • Finance and Funding

Most applicants will already know what area they wish to specialise in. Initial research will allow you to refine your ideas. If you are going to be self-funding your research degree as opposed to applying for a funded opportunity then you should identify potential sources of funding and find out if they are applicable to the area you are interested in.

You can also apply to a pre-defined PhD. These are projects which the University has identified as strong research opportunities for high calibre applicants. You can find out more information on these PhDs here:

You can contact potential supervisors within your school or institute of interest to discuss research proposals. If applying for a pre-defined project, you can choose to make contact with your identified supervisor before you apply to introduce yourself and ask any questions. Contact details for staff can be found here:

Some students, such as those who are not applying for a pre-defined or funded project, will likely need to write a research proposal as part of their application. You can find out more about this during your application.

All applications should be made using our online application form . You will be sent an email informing you of whether you have a place on your chosen programme. If there are conditions attached to the offer please ensure these are completed and sent back as soon as possible.

If you are offered a place and wish to accept your offer, please return your completed acceptance forms as soon as possible. If you are waiting to hear the outcome of a funding application you can still accept the offer of admission then send the relevant financial forms of sponsorship later. Find out about accepting your offer .

Structure and Assessment

The structure and assessment of research degrees can vary. Students may register either for full-time or part-time study, although for visa purposes international students can only study full time, if they wish to study on campus. Applications to undertake a PhD via distance learning are considered and potential applicants should refer to the relevant Research Areas page  to check what is offered in the research area they wish to study.

The precise focus of research is agreed between the supervisor and the student, to suit the student’s particular interests and needs as much as possible. During the first year, students may be required to undertake some formal research training which is compulsory in some disciplines. Throughout the research period students will be encouraged to attend specialist seminars and conferences and keep staff and fellow students informed of their progress at seminars within the School or College.

Assessment for PhDs is on the basis of a thesis and oral examination.

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  • Postgraduate study

Research opportunities A-Z

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Postgraduate research  

Management PhD

A female student chat outside the quadrangle

A management PhD is a research intensive degree programme for students with a strong academic background. The PhD program develops researchers in Management for careers in academia, industry and public service.

Our programme combines robust taught research training and applied research practice within a flexible timeframe of three to five years. Beginning with foundation training in research methods, you will follow advanced training pathways in qualitative and quantitative methodologies and benefit from extensive training in research skills.

As a postgraduate researcher, you will form the bedrock of our research community, and we will actively encourage you to engage with peers while publishing your research and participating in research seminars, training retreats, workshops, conferences and presentations.

Our research is organised into six research clusters and we offer expert guidance on PhD projects in:

  • strategic management
  • international business and enterprise
  • human resource management and organisational behaviour
  • operations management
  • entrepreneurship, development and political economy
  • Initial programme enquiries to  [email protected]

Testimonial from Carole Couper

Adam Smith Business School is triple accredited

Study options, routes into management phd.

Depending on your prior qualifications, experience and the quality of your research proposal, you can enter the PhD directly or undertake our MRes in Management programme first. If you enter the PhD directly you will be required to pass two compulsory taught courses in research training in your first year.

Direct entry onto the PhD will require you to work on implementing your research proposal from the onset and you are expected to complete your PhD in three years.

You will need a Masters degree in business or management at Merit or 60% and above that includes coverage of appropriate research methodologies. You will also need to produce an outstanding research proposal that will attract two PhD supervisors.

Your PhD progression will depend on the successful completion of taught courses and progress of your independent research in year one.

MRes in Management

If you do not meet the direct entry criteria for the PhD, your research journey could begin with our highly relevant and structured MRes in Management programme.  This provides training on specialist management topics of your choice and core research skills. Your training will be highly applied and aimed at developing a robust PhD proposal. For your MRes dissertation you could be working with a potential PhD supervisor and this work may directly contribute to your PhD.

This route is open to students:

  • Who do not have a Masters degree in Business or Management.
  • Who have not had sufficient training in research methods.
  • Whose proposals failed to attract PhD supervisors.

Your admission to PhD will depend on successful completion of the MRes at Merit or above and a research proposal that attracts a supervisor.

Assessment and Progression

A PhD is an independent research project and the criterion for the award is a significant contribution to knowledge. This judgement is made on the basis of a thesis of between 70,000 and 100,000 words and an oral examination (viva voce).

The progress of your independent research will be formally reviewed once a year and your continuing registration on the PhD programme will depend on a successful Annual Progress Review.

Entry requirements

As an applicant for one of our research degrees, you should possess a Masters degree at 60% (Merit) or an overseas equivalent, with a significant component in Business or Management.

If you have a Masters degree in a subject other than the one you plan to research you will need to demonstrate specialist academic knowledge, for example through your masters dissertation or, in exceptional cases, prior experience of management.

Candidates who do not meet the entry criteria should consider the integrated route through MRes.We consider all applications on their own merit and cannot review individual eligibility before you apply. 

Supporting documents

We can only accept applications submitted with all the following supporting documents:

  • Transcripts/degree certificate 
  • Proof of language requirements fulfilment (where applicable)
  • Two references
  • A research proposal (3000 words maximum)
  • Name of potential supervisor

English language requirements

For applicants whose first language is not English, the University sets a minimum English Language proficiency level.

International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic module (not General Training)

  • 7.0 with no sub-test under 6.5
  • Tests must have been taken within 2 years 5 months of start date. Applicants must meet the overall and subtest requirements using a single test.

Common equivalent English language qualifications

All stated English tests are acceptable for admission to this programme:

TOEFL (ibt, my best or athome)

  • 94; with Reading 19; Listening 20; Speaking 20; Writing 21
  • Tests must have been taken within 2 years 5 months of start date. Applicants must meet the overall and subtest requirements , this includes TOEFL mybest.

Pearsons PTE Academic

  • 66 with no subtest less than: Listening 59;Reading 60; Speaking 59; Writing 74
  • Tests must have been taken within 2 years 5 months of start date. Applicants must meet the overall and subtest requirements using a single test.

Cambridge Proficiency in English (CPE) and Cambridge Advanced English (CAE)

  • 185 overall, no subtest less than 176

Oxford English Test

  • Oxford ELLT 8
  • R&L: OIDI level no less than 7 with Reading: 25-26 and Listening: 18-19
  • W&S: OIDI level no less than 8.

Trinity College Tests

Integrated Skills in English II & III & IV: ISEII Pass with Pass in all sub-tests.

University of Glasgow Pre-sessional courses

Tests are accepted for 2 years following date of successful completion.

Alternatives to English Language qualification

  • students must have studied for a minimum of 2 years at Undergraduate level, or 9 months at Master's level, and must have complete their degree in that majority-English speaking country  and  within the last 6 years
  • students must have completed their final two years study in that majority-English speaking country  and  within the last 6 years

For international students, the Home Office has confirmed that the University can choose to use these tests to make its own assessment of English language ability for visa applications to degree level programmes. The University is also able to accept UKVI approved Secure English Language Tests (SELT) but we do not require a specific UKVI SELT for degree level programmes. We therefore still accept any of the English tests listed for admission to this programme.

Fees and funding

  • UK: To be confirmed by UKRI [23/24 fee was £4,712]
  • International & EU: £25,290

Prices are based on the annual fee for full-time study. Fees for part-time study are half the full-time fee.

Irish nationals who are living in the Common Travel Area of the UK, EU nationals with settled or pre-settled status, and Internationals with Indefinite Leave to remain status can also qualify for home fee status.

  • Fee status and policies

Alumni discount

We offer a 20% discount to our alumni on all Postgraduate Research and full Postgraduate Taught Masters programmes. This includes University of Glasgow graduates and those who have completed Junior Year Abroad, Exchange programme or International Summer School with us. The discount is applied at registration for students who are not in receipt of another discount or scholarship funded by the University. No additional application is required.

Possible additional fees

  • Re-submission by a research student £540
  • Submission for a higher degree by published work £1,355
  • Submission of thesis after deadline lapsed £350
  • Submission by staff in receipt of staff scholarship £790

Depending on the nature of the research project, some students will be expected to pay a bench fee (also known as research support costs) to cover additional costs. The exact amount will be provided in the offer letter.

We offer competitive PhD Scholarships to exceptional applicants and these cover full tuition fees, living allowance, research support and conference budget. 

  • Postgraduate research funding opportunities
  • Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) funding

Training opportunities

Management phd training programme .

Year 1:Core foundation courses

  • Management research methods
  • Master class in management theory and practice
  • Research integrity training

Years 2 & 3: Optional foundation and advanced courses:

  • Academic writing and publishing in management
  • Applied multivariate analysis
  • Case study research
  • Comparative case study analysis
  • Constructing and analysing large data sets
  • Ethnographic research
  • Grounded theory
  • Measurement and scale development
  • Mixed methods
  • Qualitative analysis with NVIVO
  • Qualitative interviewing
  • Quantitative analysis with SPSS and R
  • Reviewing and evaluating manuscripts
  • Structural equation modelling
  • Survey research

Further  deveopment and training 

In addition to formal training, Management hosts a number of research events including twice yearly PhD retreats, seminars, workshops and conferences, that are open to staff and research students. 

Research Support

The Adam Smith Business School provides financial support for PhD students to attend international academic conferences to present research.

We offer students a generous allowance to participate in external training courses.  For example with:

  • Scottish Graduate School of Social Science  [ESRC funded]
  • National Centre for Research Methods .

How to apply

Identify potential supervisors.

All Postgraduate Research Students are allocated a supervisor who will act as the main source of academic support and research mentoring. You may want to identify a potential supervisor and contact them to discuss your research proposal before you apply. Please note, even if you have spoken to an academic staff member about your proposal you still need to submit an online application form.

You can find relevant academic staff members with our staff research interests search .

Also see our research clusters & members in:

  • Entrepreneurship, Development and Political Economy
  • Human Resource Management and Organisational Behaviour
  • International Business and Enterprise
  • Services and Operations Management
  • Strategy and Technology Management

Gather your documents

Before applying please make sure you gather the following supporting documentation:

  • Final or current degree transcripts including grades (and an official translation, if needed) – scanned copy in colour of the original document.
  • Degree certificates (and an official translation, if needed): scanned copy in colour of the original document.
  • Two references on headed paper and signed by the referee. One must be academic, the other can be academic or professional. References may be uploaded   as part of the application form or you may enter your referees contact details on the application form. We will then email your referee and notify you when we receive the reference.  We can also accept confidential references direct to  [email protected] , from the referee’s university or business email account.
  • Research proposal, CV, samples of written work as per requirements for each subject area.
  • If you have any questions about your application  before  you apply:  contact the Adam Smith Business School
  • If you have any questions  after  you have submitted your application:  contact our Admissions team
  • Any  references  may be submitted by email to:  [email protected]

International Students

  • Advice on visa, immigrations and the Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) can be found on our  International student pages

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  • Postgraduate programmes


The overriding aim of undertaking PhD and MPhil study is to make an original contribution to knowledge. The programmes do not follow a prescribed course of study but benefit from close supervision and a range of research training that is designed to support the project being undertaken, and provide wider opportunities for professional development as a researcher.

Our vibrant multidisciplinary environment includes performance and new work in dance, drama and music, performing arts education and policy, Scottish music, historically-informed performance, musicology, and a range of other specialist areas.

Following a historic agreement between RCS and the University of St Andrews , we offer research degrees leading to the awards of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) and Master of Philosophy (MPhil). These programmes are validated and awarded by the University of St Andrews.

The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland offers opportunities for suitably qualified students to work towards the achievement of research degrees in appropriate areas of enquiry. Applications will only be successful if it is clear that the proposed research can best be undertaken within a Conservatoire context, in which performance and/or creation is held central.

The specific areas for research degrees are:

  • the processes and methodologies of developing new performance work (music/drama/music theatre), including collaborative and devised performance
  • performance
  • musical composition, in all genres, for live, electro-acoustic and mixed media
  • Scottish music
  • methodologies of specialist performance training, including the use of IT
  • socio-cultural studies of performance
  • performance education and pedagogy

Programme structure

Research degree students do not follow a prescribed course of study, but benefit from close supervision and a range of research training that is designed to support the programme of research being undertaken, and provide wider opportunities for professional development as a researcher. In addition, an external supervisor is normally appointed to provide further support for, and an additional perspective on, your research.

The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland is housed in a modern, specially designed building and has some of the best performance and rehearsal facilities of any conservatoire in Europe.

The Royal Conservatoire library contains one of the most comprehensive performing arts collections in the UK. The collections feature extensive print and online material covering all Conservatoire subject disciplines and wider multi-disciplinary research materials. The RCS Archives is also a unique research resource, rich in both the depth and diversity of holdings. ICT facilities and a study lab for research students are available.

Conservatoire research students also have access to the extensive  library resources held by the University of St Andrews . Students also have access to the specialist academic training through the University’s  Centre for Academic, Professional and Organisational Development (CAPOD) .

All research students undertake training within the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland through participating in a number of study days held throughout the academic year and engaging in The Exchange Talks series. The resources of the  Scottish Graduate School of Arts and Humanities  (SGSAH), of which the Conservatoire is a member, can also be accessed.

Head to our  Campus and Facilities page  to find out more.

Fees and scholarships

Tuition fees for academic year 2024/25.

You can find tuition fees for entry in September 2024 on our fees and funding page.

Please note, all EU students commencing study in Scotland will pay fees at the Overseas rate.

Because of a long-standing agreement between the UK and Republic of Ireland, new students from the Republic of Ireland starting their studies will be eligible to pay the UK fee.

Sources of external funding

Scottish graduate school of arts and humanities (sgsah) ahrc doctoral training partnership.

Outstanding applicants applying for PhD study at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland may be eligible to be nominated for Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funding through the Scottish Graduate School of Arts and Humanities (SGSAH) Doctoral Training Partnership. Successful applicants receive full funding in the form of a generous stipend, tuition fee waiver, and research training and expenses. Visit our Apply page for more information.

For more information about alternative funding sources, including external scholarships and bursaries, please visit our Fees and Funding page.

The RCS International and Student Experience team are available to advise and assist applicants and current students in respect of queries about funding your studies at RCS. Please  email  or telephone +44 (0)141 270 8281/ +44 (0)141 270 8223 for further information.

Entry requirements

Admission to doctoral level programmes is normally on the basis of a first degree at 2(i) level or higher (or the overseas equivalent) in the relevant subject or a relevant postgraduate qualification. However, where a prospective student lacks a suitable first degree, alternative mechanisms for assessing qualifications and preparedness, reflecting professional or other work experience, may be used. Increasingly the UK research councils in several disciplines require that funded students on doctoral programmes have first completed an approved masters programme that prepares the student for doctoral work. The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland is committed to the principles of the Accreditation of Prior Learning, including experiential learning, and will bring those to bear on the admissions process for its doctoral students.

Applicants for whom English is a second language must demonstrate an IELTS score of 7.0.

We accept a wide range of qualification, including international qualifications. If you wish to check the suitability of your qualification/experience, please contact us at [email protected] .

How to Apply

Applicants for doctoral study should apply through UCAS Conservatoires . Please then submit your proposal online via Acceptd . The Guide for Applicants and template of the online proposal form can be found here .  Those applicants who meet the admissions criteria and whose proposed research projects accord with the Royal Conservatoire’s research priorities and context will be interviewed/ auditioned. With the safety of our students, applicants and staff as our priority, all interviews will take place online. At least two supportive references from appropriately qualified persons will also be required. The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland may require an applicant to provide additional material in support of their application prior to, or following, their interview/audition.

An interview/audition panel will be chaired by a specialist member of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland staff and will include other members of staff or external advisers as appropriate. An interview panel will normally be chaired by the Head of Research and will include at least one other member of staff or external adviser as appropriate. At the conclusion of the interview/audition process, the panel will formulate a recommendation to the Research Degrees Committee regarding the application.

We have a number of policies and statements which you should read when applying to study at the Royal Conservatoire.

Please select the links below to read each policy.

  • Feedback policy.
  • Equality and diversity
  • Applicants with disabilities
  • Guidance for applicants with criminal convictions
  • Admissions policy


Dr Laura Bissell Lecturer in Contemporary Performance Practice and Lecturer in Research

Laura Bradshaw Lecturer in Contemporary Performance Practice

Professor Stephen Broad Head of Research and Knowledge Exchange

Professor Joshua Dickson Head of Traditional Music

Dr Emily Doolittle Athenaeum Fellow

Dr Rachel Drury Lecturer in Learning and Teaching in the Performing Arts

Professor Celia Duffy

Dr Laura Gonzalez Athenaeum Fellow

Professor Roy Howat Senior Research Fellow

Deborah Keogh Knowledge Exchange Manager

Professor Alistair MacDonald Composition Tutor

Dr Stuart MacRae Composition Lecturer

Professor Rita McAllister

Dr Karen McAuley Researcher

Helen McVey Head of BMus Programme

Dr Jill Morgan Lecturer in Learning and Teaching in the Performing Arts

Professor Arnold Myers Senior Research Fellow

Dr Oliver Searle Interim Head of  Composition

Dr Marc Silberschatz Head of Classical and Contemporary Text

Dr Lori Watson Lecturer in Traditional Music

Dr Bethany Whiteside Research Lecturer and Doctoral Degrees Co-ordinator

Interviews and auditions

Applicants for doctoral study should apply through UCAS Conservatoires . Please then submit your proposal online via Acceptd . The Guide for applicants and template of the online proposal form can be found here .  Those applicants who meet the admissions criteria and whose proposed research projects accord with the Royal Conservatoire’s research priorities and context will be interviewed/ auditioned. With the safety of our students, applicants and staff as our priority, all interviews will take place online. At least two supportive references from appropriately qualified persons will also be required. The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland may require an applicant to provide additional material in support of their application prior to, or following, their interview/audition.

Funded PhD opportunity

The sounds of science: a practice-based phd exploring the use, purpose and potential of music in science centres.

Project-type : Interdisciplinary practise-based PhD

Funding for : Scottish, UK and International Students, covering tuition and living expenses

Duration : 3.5 years full time (or 7 years part time)

Location : Glasgow, St Andrews, and Dundee, Scotland

Funded by : Scottish Graduate School for the Arts and Humanities Collaborative Doctoral Award

Applications due : June 7 2021

Starting date : October 1, 2021

Summary : In this fully funded, practice-based PhD, a student with a background music composition, sound design, and/or sound-based installation and an interest in science communication will explore how sound and music can be used to create effective learning environments at Dundee Science Centre (DSC). The student will be supervised by an interdisciplinary team consisting of Dr Rachel Drury (music psychology) and Dr Emily Doolittle (music composition and interdisciplinary science-arts research) at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Dr Bede Williams (music and interdisciplinary collaboration) and Dr Mhairi Stewart (public engagement and science communication) at St Andrews University, and Rebecca Duncan (head of development) at Dundee Science Centre.

Project description:

Science centres exist to educate and enthuse the public, in particular children, about science, through informal learning. They typically encourage visitors to interact freely with exhibits, including making all the noises associated with play and discovery. Though this kind of free interaction can facilitate learning, it can also create a noisy atmosphere which may disturb focus, and can ultimately discourage visitors. As Robert Fry asks, ‘If interactive museums are concerned with experiential learning, why do the places we inhabit so often allow an atmosphere of acoustic chaos?’ 1 In this fully-funded, practice-based PhD project, a student with a background in music composition, sound design, and/or sound-based installation and an interest in science communication will design and create a series of compositions, sound installations and/or sound interventions for different parts of Dundee Science Centre (DSC), which seek to facilitate learning while also striving to mitigate the effects of unpredictable and noisy sounds coming from multiple directions. By working directly on the sound design with DSC, the student will aim both to make DSC a more inviting, aesthetically pleasing environment, and to enhance the potential for effective learning to take place.

In the first year of their PhD the student will complete a literature review, and conduct in-person reviews of existing scientific installations in the UK and mainland Europe which incorporate sound and/or music. The student will also spend considerable time in DSC, observing the physical layout, exhibits, and the way visitors and staff use the space. For the second and third year of the project, the student will determine the needs of DSC in discussion with key staff, and will design and implement three large-scale installations for different areas of DSC. Depending on the background and interests of the student, this could include (but is not limited to) creating recordings of instrumental music, writing songs with educational content, creating interactive installations, writing music which interacts with the flow of visitors, creating an acoustic background which integrates the diversity of unpredictable sounds heard throughout the day, and/or creating music for DSC’s off-site outreach activities. They will take into account the principles of inclusive design, which recognise that making sure the (sonic) environment meets the varied individual needs of visitors will in fact enhance the experience for all. 2 In the final 6 months of the PhD the student’s focus will shift towards evaluating the effect of their sound and/or music installations on the experiences of different demographics of visitors, and of staff. The student’s final submission will be mixed mode, consisting of a portfolio of the three musical/installation works, and a written commentary addressing the conception, creation, and effectiveness of each of these works.

We welcome applicants from a wide variety of backgrounds. The successful applicant will have a strong background in music composition, sound design, and/or sound-based installation art,?as well as an interest in science education, but formal qualifications could be from any of a wide array of fields, including music, fine arts, sound design, museum studies, communication, education, psychology, or any of the sciences. Candidates may be coming directly from a prior degree, or may have considerable professional experience as a musician, sound designer, or educator. Accessibility and inclusion are at the core of the DSC’s mandate: as such we are particularly seeking applicants with a strong commitment to creating an inclusive sound environment, and to communicating with the DSC and DSC attendees about the needs of the community.

1 Fry, R (2002). Delightful Sound and Distracting Noise: The Acoustic Environment of an Interactive Museum. J. Museum Ed. 27:1, 14-17.

2 Heylighen, A et al. (2008). The Sound of Inclusion: A Case Study on Acoustic Comfort for All. Designing Inclusive Futures. doi:10.1007/978-1-84800-211-1_8


  • Hold at least a 2:1 undergraduate degree in a relevant discipline (as required by the funder)
  • Have completed or on course to complete a Master ’ s Degree in a relevant discipline/ and/or demonstrate equivalent, relevant professional experience
  • A strong background in music composition, sound design, and/or sound-based installation art.
  • An interest in science and engaging audiences with science
  • Comfort with and experience in collaborative working
  • Comfort with working in multiple and interdisciplinary contexts
  • Commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion
  • Experience with a diversity of audiences
  • Experience with assessing utilization of space and the needs of the people who inhabit it
  • Experience evaluating the outcomes of a soundscape with various stakeholders including visitors and staff

Application process :

Download the application form and instructions . Please email  [email protected] with any further questions.

Interviews of selected applicants will take place in mid-June, and the supervisory team will work with the selected student to submit a final form to SGSAH before July 2, 2021.

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phd requirements scotland

Research programmes

Before applying to study for a research programme at the University, ensure that you can meet all the entry requirements. The information below includes details on how and when to apply for our research programmes.

Finding a supervisor

As a prospective PhD, MSc(Res), or MSt(Res) student, you will apply to work with an individual supervisor or supervisory team within a School or institute, and not a specific programme of study. It is therefore important that you look at staff research interests within the University and ensure that your project matches an existing area of research .

If you are unable to identify a possible supervisor, please contact the School directly, who will be happy to advise you of the most appropriate academic for your chosen research area.

Applicants applying for the MFA, MRes or MPhil programmes are not required to contact a possible supervisor before making an application.

Entry requirements

Admission to research study within the Faculties of Arts and Divinity is normally on the basis of a good Masters degree which must be related to your area of research. Research applicants within the Faculty of Science require a good first degree with Honours at 2.1 (UK) or the overseas equivalent – more details can be found at entry requirements and country information .

The degree of MD (Medicine) requires a medical qualification that is recognised by the UK General Medical Council .

English language requirements

Applicants whose first language is not English must provide evidence of English proficiency. For further information on what evidence of English proficiency is required, please see the  postgraduate English language requirements web page or email [email protected]

Supporting documents and references

All applications must include the required supplementary documentation before a decision can be made. This varies by programme but includes:

  • CV or résumé. This should include your personal details with a history of your education and employment to date.
  • A research proposal – see School-specific details below.
  • A sample of academic written work in English – see School-specific details below.
  • Two original signed academic references.
  • Academic transcripts and degree certificates. Please only send certified copies with official English translations if applicable. Do not send original documents as they cannot be returned.
  • English language requirements certificate.

Research proposal

Applicants intending to read for a PhD, DLang, MPhil, MSc(Res) or MSt(Res) award should include an outline in English of not more than 500 words, with the following exceptions:

  • School of Art History For MSt(Res) programmes, 800-1000 words. For PhD programmes, 1000-1500 words. Where appropriate, proposals should be accompanied by properly captioned images. All proposals must also include a substantial bibliography listing relevant publications.
  • School of Classics 1,000 words and personal statement of no more than 600 words.
  • School of Earth and Environmental Sciences No research proposal is required however a personal or motivation statement should be submitted. Statements should be around 1,000 words and include why you have chosen St Andrews and the particular project. Also, explain how your current study and future career plans fit with the project. The selection committee and external funding bodies put great emphasis on this statement, so it is important it clearly applies to your chosen project. If you apply to more than one project, provide a personal statement for each. 
  • School of Economics and Finance 2,000 words.
  • School of English 2,000 words, including draft title and chapter outlines where possible.
  • Department of Film Studies 1,000-word research proposal.
  • School of Geography and Sustainable Development 1,500 words and personal statement of no more than 600 words.
  • School of International Relations If applying for the PhD, a 1000-word research proposal (word count excludes bibliography and footnotes) and personal statement (statement of purpose) is required. 
  • School of Management 1,500 words, excluding references.
  • School of Modern Languages 2,000 words.
  • Department of Philosophy PhD 1,000-word research proposal.
  • Department of Philosophy MPhil a short summary of research interest (200 words maximum), plus the name of a proposed supervisor at either St Andrews or Stirling.
  • School of Physics and Astronomy No research proposal is required, but we would encourage applicants to indicate which research projects they are interested in. A list of  currently advertised research projects is available.

Written work sample

All applications submitted to the Faculty of Arts and the Faculty of Divinity should include a 2,000-word sample of written work in English, with exceptions for:

  • School of Classics provide a sample of written work between 2,500 to 5,000 words in length; this should be written in English
  • School of English submit a 3,000 to 5,000-word critical essay. This can be an extract from a previous project or essay, or part of your dissertation.
  • School of Geography and Sustainable Development The School of Geography and Sustainable Development offers Arts and Science PhD programmes. Please provide an academic writing sample which should be your undergraduate or Masters dissertation, a published article, or something similar; this should be written in English.
  • School of Management a piece of academic work by you in the area in which you intend to study (maximum of 3,000 words).
  • Department of Philosophy provide a sample of written work between 2,000 to 4,000 words in length.

Applicants who cannot provide a sample such as this should contact the appropriate School directly for further guidance.

Students applying to the Faculty of Science are not expected to submit a sample of their written work.

  • Two referees must be supplied per application.
  • university or business
  • country of their university or business
  • university or business email.
  • The online application system will automatically generate an email to the referees.

We will automatically contact your named referees only when you have submitted your final application. On submission of your application, you will receive notification that we have contacted your referees requesting a reference; we will require one from each referee.

Your referee will be emailed a link to a web form to complete a reference online or to upload a document. You and your School will receive a notification when each referee has successfully uploaded a reference.

Referees who do not provide a reference within two weeks of the first request will be automatically emailed once more. Beyond this, it is your responsibility to ensure that your referees provide references.

Important dates and deadlines

For the majority of Schools, there is no deadline on applying for research. However, the following Schools have specific deadlines each year:

  • School of Classics all complete PhD applications received by Monday 12 December 2022 will be considered for SGSAH scholarship funding (there will be a limited number of studentships available for international students including EU). All complete applications received by Tuesday 10 January 2023 will be considered for School and University funding (Home, EU and Overseas students).
  • School of Divinity applications received by Friday 3 November 2023 will receive first consideration both for acceptance and for School and University funding; applications received after that date are considered on a rolling basis if and as places are available.

Applicants who wish to be considered for  any  funding first need to submit their University PhD application by Wednesday 15 November 2023, 5pm (GMT). Applicants applying for SGSSS or/and SGSAH-funded PhD studentships must notify the School of their intention to apply for this funding by emailing  [email protected]  by Wednesday 15 November 2023, 5pm (GMT) and must have secured a supervisory team before applying  for either funding route. Applications for SGSSS are submitted via their portal  Student-led Open Competition 2023/24 – Scottish Graduate School of Social Science ( . The deadline is Friday 1 December 2023, 5pm (GMT). Applicants for SGSAH  Scottish Graduate School for Arts & Humanities - Prospective Students - AHRC Doctoral Training Partnership (  must email their nomination form to the School  [email protected]  by Friday 1 December 2023, 5pm (GMT). Nomination forms  can be downloaded from the SGSAH website. Self-funded applicants must submit by Thursday 11 January 2024, 5pm (GMT).

  • School of Psychology and Neuroscience only complete PhD applications received by Friday 7 January 2022 will be considered for scholarship funding. There is no deadline for applicants not seeking funding.

For all other Schools or Departments, applications can be sent in any time throughout the academic year. However, it is important to remember that if you are applying for any scholarships or funding, then the deadline for this may be early in the year.

Start dates

We strongly encourage students to begin their studies in September, but the start date for research study can be flexible. Your start date will be decided between yourself and your supervisor, but you may indicate your preferred start date on the application.

Start dates are:

  • 27 September

Fees and funding

Tuition fees will vary depending on what programme you are studying and where you live. You may be able to apply for help with funding your studies at the University.

Early application is strongly advised if you are applying for a scholarship. Many have an early closing date (often between December and February) and most scholarships require you to be holding an offer in order to be considered for funding.

We continue to accept self-funded applications even after scholarship deadlines have passed. If you need further guidance on this, please contact the School that you are applying to.

For more advice on scholarships and funding, please go to postgraduate scholarships . You can also find out about our current tuition fees .

Applicants with special needs or disabilities

Applicants should disclose the details of any special needs or disabilities that they have in the relevant section of the application form. This information will be passed on to the Advice and Support Centre's disability team. Applicants with a special need or disability are encouraged to get in touch with the disability team (email  [email protected] ) as early as possible to ensure that their needs will be met by the University.

If you are a student with a special need or disability, and the University has not been made fully aware of your disability requirements prior to an offer being made, we cannot guarantee that suitable resources will be available on your arrival in St Andrews.

All applications are assessed purely on academic merit, and the impact of a disability will be considered only after a final decision has been made.

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Applying for postgraduate research study at UWS has never been simpler 

We are delighted that you are considering applying to study at the University of the West of Scotland.

Here you can find more information about:

  • Postgraduate Research step-by-step guide – everything you need to know to submit a successful application  
  • Entry requirements – where to find the entry requirements for individual courses
  • English language requirements and English language courses – if you’re not a native speaker of English, this section sets out the English language requirements and support to meet them

If you are ordinarily resident outside the UK you might find our step-by-step guide for international students useful.

Explore your postgraduate research options below

phd requirements scotland

A step-by-step guide to applying for a postgraduate research degree at University of the West of Scotland.

Find out more

phd requirements scotland

The academic entry requirements you'll need to begin a postgraduate research degree at UWS.

English Language Requirements

For applicants whose first language is not English, the University sets a minimum English Language proficiency level. The qualifications below must have been gained within two years of the start of your course.

General English language requirements at UWS: International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic module (not General Training)

For our research degrees (MRes, MPhil, PhD, DBA, DProf), applicants are required to have an IELTS score as follows:

  • overall score of 6.5
  • no sub-test less than 6.0

Equivalent scores in another recognised qualification:

Common equivalent English language qualifications

All stated English tests are acceptable for admission for both home/EU and international students for this programme:

  • CAE (Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English): 176 overall; no sub-test less than 169
  • CPE (Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English): 176 overall; no sub-test less than 169
  • Trinity College London Integrated Skills in English: ISEII with the minimum of a Pass in all sub-tests

phd requirements scotland

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