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Guidance on Admissions for Postgraduate Research Degrees in the Department of Education Studies

We are delighted that you are considering enrolling in a postgraduate research degree with us. In the Post-graduate research degree programme, we are committed to maintaining standards of excellence – including identifying potential and helping students to succeed who may not otherwise have considered a doctoral degree. This information is presented in order to demystify the admissions process, as part of our commitment to enhancing inclusivity in doctoral education.

We always look forward to admissions time as we gain an insight into the research and researchers of the future.

We hope this guidance proves useful to applicants and will help to clarify the expectations for proposals and the admissions process for our department. Please direct any admissions questions to

Application process

We have two admissions windows each year – check our admissions page for details. All applicants need to apply for admission within these windows. Admissions is for the following academic year, and this refers to both applications windows. You should aim for an October start. Exceptionally we allow a January start.

When applying for a postgraduate research degree in the Department of Education Studies at the University of Warwick, the process includes a number of different tasks. Each task plays a different role in the process of gaining admission to the PGR programme – that is, for a PhD or an EdD (a professional doctorate). Each application is assessed for its completeness (is everything included?), and for the necessary documents and qualifications, and then passed to us for an academic review. We focus particularly on the quality of the proposal and on the proposal’s fit with a potential supervisor. If the proposal meets the expected standard, we pass the application to the potential supervisor (if there is an available, appropriate person in place) and it is their turn to review the application and decide whether to proceed to interview. You will be invited to an interview, which is likely to be online, where the supervisor will ask further questions about the proposal and your motivation for study. The supervisor then makes a recommendation to us about the quality of the application and their availability to supervise. We conduct a final review and make a recommendation to the University as to whether an offer is recommended. Finally, the University checks the application and will, if possible, make an offer to the applicant, which the applicant should then accept or decline.

One aspect of the application is the online application form, which is accessed through the ‘apply here’ link on the admissions webpage. For this you will need to include various details e.g. previous qualifications, details of your location and any funding applied for. It is important that you complete this form with as much information as possible and that the information is accurate. This part of the process also includes naming two referees who can provide a letter or statement about your suitability for a doctoral programme. Try to ensure that these are academic referees, but you may also include professional referees if you have been out of study for some time. It is important that the referees are relevant and know you well. The application also includes space for a personal statement. Please provide some information about yourself and your motivations for undertaking further study, though note that the research proposal forms the principal guide for us when reviewing applications.

Potential Supervisors

You will see on the application form that you are invited to name a potential supervisor. It is a good idea to establish whether there is a suitable lead supervisor for your project before you apply. You can do this by checking the ‘staff’ pages on the department’s web pages, and you can find email addresses of potential supervisors on their profile pages. You may wish to email the potential supervisor. When emailing, it is important to explain why you have chosen to email this person, and to show how your topic idea is relevant to their research area. Many of our members of staff already have several doctoral students so don’t be too disappointed if they are unable to consider your project. You can always try emailing another member of staff. Alternatively it is possible to make an application without naming a supervisor, and when we review the applications we can direct applications to relevant members of staff. Please note that, if a supervisor agrees to be named on your application, this is not a guarantee that you will be accepted onto a programme. We receive many more applications each year than we can support within the department. The final offer is made by the University, if all other parts of the application are in place and we have recommended that an offer be made.

Scholarship Applicants

On the application form you are also asked to state if you are applying for a scholarship. Please include any details of scholarships you have already been granted or that you are applying for. If you are applying for any of the scholarships that are administered within the University of Warwick – that is ESRC DTP studentships, Chancellor’s International Scholarships, Chinese Scholarship Council, Sanctuary, Warwick-Monash Alliance or any others, you need to apply in round 1 of applications, between October and December. Note that we have an internal deadline for these applications in December (see the website for specific dates) so that we can review these applications in time to give some feedback and to ensure that a supervisory team is in place. For most of these scholarships a supervisor is necessary as part of the application is completed by them. It is not impossible to submit your application after the December deadline, but you will not receive feedback from us on the application and it may be difficult to get the application processed in time. Note that some scholarship applications require separate forms/statements – it is your responsibility to carefully identify the process of any scholarship you are applying for, and to keep your potential supervisor informed too.