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PhD application procedure

***EPSRC studentship available***

An EPSRC studentship is available for Home or EU students educated in the UK to study in our vibrant department.

We are eager to fill this place with a good student. If you are interested in this exciting opportunity please read the relevant webpages before applying.

The Postgraduate Support Officer in the Department of Statistics is the usual first point of contact for anyone interested in pursuing PhD research. Informal enquiries are welcome at any time, and the PhD Admissions Tutors will be pleased to give advice on the Graduate Programme and entry qualifications, as well as answer any queries. The current PhD Admissions Tutors are Professor Martyn Plummer & Dr Dario Spano.

Guidance on the "Purpose of Study" statement

A "Purpose of Study" statement is requested in the application form, in the part headed "Supporting information and employment". Applicants can enter text up to a limit of 4600 characters. For PhD applicants this part of the application form is especially important.

For PhD applicants in Statistics, a fully developed research proposal is not required. Rather, we ask that applicants use the "Purpose of Study" box in the application form to provide information such as:

  • What motivates you to do a PhD?
  • What area(s) of probability or statistics particularly interest you?
  • In what subject areas does your academic background best equip you to carry out research?
  • What do you consider to be your particular strengths? (e.g., theoretical work? applied statistics? computational work?)
  • Have you already identified and/or made contact with a particular potential supervisor in the Department? (It is not necessary to do that before applying; but if you have done that already it is useful to provide the information here.)

The information you provide will be used to help the PhD Admissions Tutor identify suitable potential supervisors. When thinking about what to write, it may help to look carefully through the list of active research interests in the Department.

Entry Requirements

All applicants to the graduate programme should have, or expect to obtain, a bachelor's degree in mathematics or statistics, or in a subject containing a substantial mathematical component. The normal entry requirement is a first class degree or equivalent grades from universities outside the UK. The level of competition is such that the majority of successful applicants have a first class degree or an MSc with distinction.

Exceptions can be made in particular cases, for example for an applicant with practical experience of statistical methods through his or her employment, but ability in mathematics is essential for technical aspects of PhD research.

English Language Requirements

Students who have not been educated in English are required to provided evidence of that their ability is IELTS 6.5 (with a minimum score of 6 in each component), TOEFL (iBT) 92 or equivalent. Details are given by Postgraduate Admissions:


The deadlines for applications are not the same as the deadlines for funding, so international applicants who do not require funding can apply by the end of June. This is to allow for English language tests to be taken and results sent to the University in time for enrolment.

Applicants who want funding should check the deadlines associated with the sources of funding for which they wish to apply. In general, it is best to submit an application four weeks before a funding deadline, as many funding sources expect you to have an offer before you apply for funding.

What will happen to my application?

Once your application is submitted, it will be considered by the PhD Admissions Tutor. If the application is complete, the PhD Admissions Tutor will ask several potential PhD supervisors to consider the application and what research projects might be appropriate.

If you are living in the UK, you will normally be invited to visit the Department. Applicants from Europe and elsewhere are also welcome to enquire about visiting. A visit will include meeting potential supervisors, discussing possible projects and being shown round campus by some current PhD students. The Postgraduate Support Officer will contact you to arrange dates once the PhD Admissions Tutor has identified potential supervisors.

The PhD Admissions Tutor aims to have a decision within a month of receiving the application and supporting documents. Formal offers are made by the University after all conditions, such as English language proficiency, have been verified. It can take 4 weeks for this checking to be completed.

Please note that an offer of a place to study is completely separate from funding arrangements. However, to apply for certain types of funding, you should make use of the appropriate place on the application form for admission: see the PhD fees and funding page for details.

When do I start?

In view of the organisation of the review and progress processes and the training in the first year, it is highly recommended that you start at the beginning of the academic year (late September or early October). Only in exceptional circumstances can we deviate from that. Please be aware that offers conditional upon satisfying language requirements can lead to delays if you do not satisfy these requirements at the first try.


stats dot pg dot support at warwick dot ac dot uk