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.
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.
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 webpage or email firstname.lastname@example.org
All applications must include the following supplementary documentation before a decision can be made:
- 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.
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:
- Department of Film Studies: 1,000-word research proposal
- 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 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/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
- School of International Relations: 1,000 words
- School of Management: 1,500 words, excluding references
- School of Modern Languages: 2,000 words.
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 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.
- Department of Philosophy - provide a sample of written work between 2,000 to 4,000 words in length.
- 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 Management - a piece of academic work by you in the area in which you intend to study (maximum of 3,000 words).
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.
- You (the applicant) will supply your referees' details. This will include their:
- 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.
For the majority of Schools, there is no deadline on applying for research. However, the following Schools have specific deadlines each year:
- School of Divinity – applications received by Friday 13 December 2019 will receive first consideration as a gathered field both for acceptance and for School scholarships; applications received after that date are considered on a rolling basis if and as places are available.
- School of International Relations – applications to be considered for scholarship funding must be received by Friday 13 December 2019. The deadline for all postgraduate research applications is Monday 13 January 2020. The application portal will open on Tuesday 1 October 2019.
- School of Classics – all complete PhD applications received by Monday 16 December 2019, 12pm will be considered for SGSAH scholarship funding (Home/EU students only). All complete
applications received by Monday 13 January 2020, 12pm will be considered for School and University funding (Home, EU and Overseas students).
- School of Psychology and Neuroscience – only complete PhD applications received by Wednesday 8 January 2020 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.
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 August, September, October, January or May.
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.
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@example.com) 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.