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How to apply for PGR studies at Warwick Chemistry

Hear from our Director of Graduate Studies, Professor Martin Wills about where to find information and how to apply for PGR studies at Warwick

Click here to view a transcript for this video.

Hello, my name is Martin Wills and I'm the director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Chemistry at Warwick University. And I'm also one of the academics in the department. The Chemistry Department is one of the larger departments at Warwick University. We have a research community of around 150 to 160 PhD students at any one time, together with a large number of permanent researchers and academic staff. So I'm going to say a little bit about what you need to know when it comes to making an application to do research in the department. I'll tell you a little bit about the research that we do, how to make an application and where to find information about funding. I started off by showing the Department of Chemistry Web page. On the top page you'll see several links which can give you more information on exactly what we do. Now if you want to see a list of staff in the department then you can click on people - academic staff. You can quickly go through the list and you can see who might be working in an area of interest to you. For example, computational chemistry, biological chemistry, polymers etc. For more detailed information on our research, please go to the research tab which is just here. You'll see much more information about what we do in the department. The research work is organized into four broad themes. As you can see here, these are:


Chemical, Structural and Synthetic Biology.

Materials and Polymers.

Measurements and Modeling.

Synthesis and Catalysis.


And we believe that in these four areas we cover all of the main areas of research in chemistry. Taking these in turn first of all we have chemical structural and synthetic biology. If we click on there, we can get some more information, particularly about some items of news to hear, but more usefully we click on 'Who are we?' you get links to the different researchers in each section. So if I click on one of those for example, let’s say Manuela Tosin, who's at the top, I get a link to Manuela's page, and then subsequently to what's more useful in many cases, which is each research group‘s own page on their research, and this will tell you about what they do, about publications which have come out of the group and also about any possible opportunities that may be available as well. So the first thing you should do when you're thinking about doing research in the department is to go online and look up details of staff in the area you’d like to work with. I’ll go through materials and polymers next - so there are several staff here. If I click on Seb Perrier for example, then I get information on Seb's research work which is involved with polymer research, and there's several examples there together with links to publications and any opportunities. If you go back again to here to the list of themes. The third one is measurements and modeling. Once again, if I look up who's involved in this theme - well, this is all about largely physical chemistry, computational chemistry and many things to do with spectroscopy, mass spectrometry, etc. So let's click on Ross Hatton who's the theme lead in this case. Ross works on solar cells and energy research. There's a link to Ross’s group here. So take a look; there's lots of information. The last group, synthesis and catalysis, includes myself. Adrian Chaplin acts as the research team lead in this case. We have a link to Adrian's group in this position. There's a link to a Twitter account and the group pages with this one, so let's have a look at Adrian's link. We can see here there's Adrian does work on organometallic chemistry, so lots of interesting things on there. OK, so that's the first thing that you should do when you're looking for: Research of interest to yourself in the Department of Chemistry at Warwick.


Having established what interests you, feel free to contact the academics involved to see whether they are in a position to take on students this year and whether they might have funding and if they'd be happy to see an application from you. For PhD or Masters by Research, now you don't have to contact staff before you make an application; you can make an application speculatively, so you have that choice.


Now for making the application, please go to the 'study with us' pages and postgraduate research is where you need to click. So if I click on there you get a link to PhD postgraduate research, but also of course you can do it a masters by research. So, if you take a look at this page, its mostly about research students doing a PhD, but a number every year do a one-year masters by research as well. Let's look at some of the links now. The application for a research degree. If you want to apply this goes through a central process where you apply to central postgraduate admissions following the process described here. This is relatively straightforward. You have to set up an account and put in your information. You have to name referees as well and add supporting documents as required. OK, so the process of applying is fairly simple.


But this is an application to have a place to study and is not linked to funding your place. However, you have to make this application to be formally made an offer of a place to do PhD research. Your application is submitted centrally, but then comes to the department for consideration by prospective supervisors. If I click on this link, it'll take me to the academics page you saw before. So I'll leave that one for now. There's some information about the department and as you can see here; we hope to appoint somewhere in the region of up to 60 funded and self-funded PhD and MSc students. In the next academic year. And the following areas are listed on there. OK now this does say in the 2021-22 academic year, which is just started, but this still applies to the next academic year, which is 202-2023. So, we're still looking to appoint this year, but also, we are considering applications for October 2022 as well. So there's the sections in which we do research. This also says how to apply. There's a bit more information there. OK, and what requirements you might need. For PhD typically you need the equivalent of a UK 2.1 degree or higher in chemistry or related science. Although we will take into account any industrial experience or strong postgraduate qualifications as well. There's also information there about taught courses, but there's separate information on those available. Let's go down to the other tabs. There is some information here on particular opportunities, but you don't have to simply apply for advertised ones. You can apply for any PGR with any supervisor you wish to hear something about. We have tremendous facilities in the department. For synthesis, catalysis and all sorts of analytical science.


The research degrees here, for research, PhD typically takes three to four years and a masters by research, which involves one year of research followed by writing a thesis. You can submit your own research proposal, although in most cases. Academics will have many ideas we need to work on and may have had may have received funding for particular projects. If you do a PhD or MSc by research, there are no taught courses with exams. You work with your supervisor and your research group, and if it's an MSc, it's one year with the thesis at the end. I'll just look at fees and funding now, so making the application to study for a PhD or a Masters by research is a fairly simple, straightforward process to undertake. You apply centrally, your application is considered by the department. If you made an offer, then that's an offer of a place to study. You would also be concerned about how do you pay for your studies?


So let's look at a little bit about how you can obtain apply for funding for courses that you do. This depends on what your background is and whether you are a home student or an international student. Your perspective supervisor may have secured some funding which is available which has been advertised perhaps, and they're looking to recruit somebody onto that funding, in which case they will interview and consider multiple applicants before making the selection. So when you contact an academic trying to find out whether they have any funding available. If you're looking for a scholarship, then there are various funding mechanisms. At Warwick, that's worth considering. And if I click on this link, it takes you to a very useful page. Organized by the Doctoral College and there's a section here on most graduate scholarships, so please take a look at this page. Information will soon arrive on the funded competitions that are going to open for 2022 entry. Some of the key ones that are available will appear here. Include things like the Chancellor's International Scholarships. We could have a look at this funded research projects area first of all. Let's see what this says. There are some adverts up here already, you could have a look through there and see if anything is of interest to you. If you go through this page it's quite a long page and there are quite a lot of opportunities as you can see. Some of these are very specific to departments and some of them were much more general. So if I stop for example at Chancellors International Scholarships, if you're an international student, then the university funds up to 42. Studentships in in the university and you can make an application for these. The application for a scholarship such as Chancellors international scholarship is made in addition to your main application for place, so please read this information before you make an application for the international scholarships. Note the deadline is for these is for last years award. With what last year was the 21st of January, it will probably be the same, but more information should appear soon on Studentships. If you're an applicant from China. There's the China Scholarship Council as well. Which also funds quite a number of positions for PhD study in the university. These are quite competitive, but there's a good number available. If you go through, you'll see other opportunities as well. Again some are departmentally specific. Some are much broader, depending on what your interests are, so take a look through those OK. Now another area which is worth looking at in terms of ways to fund your studies are Centres of Doctoral Training. The departments have multiple PhD students and MSc by research students. But the university has a number of CDT centres of doctoral training, which are often funded with a number of studentships each year. So if we look through this very quickly, let's go down to science is so there's a list here of CDTS, so one of these might be in an area of interest to you. For example, if I click on Analytical Science CDT, this is one in which a lot of chemistry is involved. And it's all about analytical sciences, but the CDT is an interdisciplinary scheme. But they do have a number of funded places every year. So look at that and see what the eligibility is. These are mostly eligible for home students to apply to, but do take a look at what it says; all those pages and there's some others here as well. So do take a look at what else is available, but there's a CDT on Modelling of heterogeneous systems, for example. So if you're interested in molecular modeling, that might well be of interest to you. There's also one here on Biosciences, so chemistry works closely with Biological Sciences. And this CD funds a number of students. Some of them are based in chemistry. Further down we have the NERC CDT, which is a collaboration of universities and this is centered around Environmental Research. So some of these are well worth looking at as well. For information on funding, and finally there is some other information here on alternative ways. You can of course self-fund your studies, but please consider the fees very closely. And be sure that you can afford to fund yourself if you wish to do that. If you are a home UK student looking to do a one-year masters by research, you can take out a loan for this degree as well. That's another possibility. I'll go back to the departmental page. Remember please OK to start here, look up what research facilities are available. But opportunities are here. What research is being carried out is described. Look at 'how to apply' and contact any academics of interest to you - by email is a good way to contact people. Also consider the funding. We look forward to hearing from you and I hope you found this to be useful. Thank you. You can also contact me. My email is and you can also find that information online.

Thank you.

Martin Wills,

Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Chemistry at Warwick University.