How to apply
To apply for a postgraduate research programme, you'll need to complete and submit our online application form below.
Be aware that the things you need to do before you submit your formal application may vary according to the programme you are applying for. You can find specific guidance for each subject area on the relevant programme profile.
- Make a note of the application deadline, if there is one. We generally advise you to apply as early as possible. If you are applying to a specific programme with attached funding, application deadlines are often at the beginning of December, or even earlier for the start of the programme the following September. If you are planning to apply for a scholarship or award that is not attached to a particular project, it is normally stipulated that you hold an offer of a place from the University before applying, so you are encouraged to apply early.
- Choose and make contact with your potential supervisor
- Make sure you have evidence of prior academic qualifications to hand – these will be certificates or transcripts to show that you meet, or expect to meet the entry requirements.
- Provide evidence of English language ability, if English is not your first language. Please note that some English language test results are only valid for two years. Your English language test report must be valid on the start date of your programme.
- Obtain two references – download our referee report form (PDF document, 50 KB)
- Prepare a research proposal/piece of academic writing, if required. This will be specified on the relevant academic School website.
- Make a copy of your passport, if you will need a visa to study in the UK.
- Prepare a personal statement/statement of purpose, if required. This will be specified on the relevant academic School website.
- Prepare your CV – this is required for certain funded or project-linked awards.
Follow the link below to begin the application process. You will find instructions on how to apply throughout the form.
You can save and return to your application as many times as you like before submitting, but your application will expire after 28 days of inactivity. We will email you to remind you before this happens.
If you experience any technical difficulties in completing and submitting the application form, please contact our Postgraduate Admissions Office:
Tel: +44 (0) 161 275 4740
Choose your PhD
With 90 research centres and groups, Sussex is the perfect place to find a postgraduate programme that allows you to follow your passion and develop your research interests.
- a Master of Philosophy (MPhil) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD). There are 40 subject areas to choose from
- two different routes to achieving your MPhil or PhD - join one of our funded projects, or propose your own area of research. Find out more about our PhD degrees.
- full-time or part-time PhDs
- start dates in September, January or May.
You can request to study via distance learning if you apply for a MPhil or PhD and live outside the UK with a job that prevents you from attending full-time study. However, you must spend at least one term studying at Sussex.
Choose a research topic or project
If you apply for a funded project at Sussex, you must propose a research project which falls within the research topic you are applying for, and write a research project proposal.
If you propose your own area of research, you need to decide on a research topic and write a research proposal as part of your application.
Find a supervisor
If you are joining a funded project at Sussex, you will already have a supervisor allocated to you.
If you are proposing your own research topic, you can find a supervisor to support and advise you.
You can either ask a member of our faculty to be your supervisor if you think they have the expertise to support you or we will match you with a supervisor after we offer you a place.
Apply to Sussex
For most degrees, you apply directly to Sussex using our postgraduate application system.
You can apply for up to three postgraduate programmes. If you apply for more than one degree, you must submit a research proposal specific to each area of study you apply for.
You must submit the following documents when you apply:
- research proposal
- undergraduate or Masters degree certificate (if available)
- two academic references (one of the references must be from your most recent university)
- a certified English translation of your certificate, if your undergraduate or Masters degree certificate is not written in English
- if you are an international student applying for a science or engineering-based programme, you may need approval from the Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) to be accepted.
Follow our tips for applying to Sussex
Find out about our Admissions policies
Degrees where you must apply through other routes:
For all courses listed in the medicine and health studies subject area, you apply via the Brighton and Sussex Medical School.
Deadline for applications
You can apply year round for research degrees starting in September, January or May. Check the deadlines by searching for a PhD degree.
If you are apply for funding or scholarships, check the deadlines for your application.
If you want to apply for certain funding, you may need to apply for a place and have an offer before you can apply for this funding.
Check fees, funding and support
We have a number of PhD funding and scholarship opportunities.
If your application is successful, you will have your fee status assessed. If your fee status is unclear, we will ask you to complete a questionnaire. If you disagree with the outcome of your fee status assessment, you can appeal.
Fees information is listed with each PhD degree
Receiving an offer
We will notify you through our postgraduate application system if we decide to offer you a place.
Your offer may include conditions - for example, completing your undergraduate or Masters degree with a certain grade or meeting our English language requirements.
If you decide to accept our offer, you can notify us using the postgraduate application system.
You can still accept your offer even if you have not yet secured funding. However, you should have funding in place when you start at Sussex.
Confirming your place
If your offer is unconditional, we may still need to verify your qualifications.
If your offer is conditional, you should send in your results by email as soon as they are available, so that your place can be confirmed.
If you are unable to take up your place, you can request to defer your entry for a year.
If your application is unsuccessful and you are not sure why, you can request feedback.
Before you start at Sussex
You will be sent information about joining the University in the months before you start your research.
For most students, the registration process is completed online. Registration opens in:
- early September, if you are starting at Sussex in September
- December, if you are starting at Sussex in January
- early April, if you are starting at Sussex in May.
If you are an international student and you need a visa to study in the UK, you complete most of the registration process online. To register, you need to attend in person, so we can take a copy of your passport and visa.