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How to apply

There are five main stages in the application process for PhD candidates:

  1. Check your eligibility and double check the deadlines; information about entry requirements and deadlines can be found below.
  2. Select your topic and find a supervisor. PhD supervision relies on matching your research interests with those of your supervisor; before proceeding to the next stage, you should consult our advice on finding a supervisor. Please note that if you are unable to secure in-principle support from a supervisor before you apply, it is unlikely that we will be able to offer you a place on the PhD programme.
  3. Finalise your research proposal. Once you have identified your supervisor, you should ensure that your full-length research proposal meets our requirements.
  4. Prepare your supporting documents, including references. You are strongly advised to contact your referees and provide them with your research proposal ahead of time, so that they can make specific comments on your suitability for research in your chosen topic.
  5. Submit your application online and upload your supporting documents (excluding references; your referees will be invited to submit these separately).

If you have any questions or concerns, please do contact Janet Smith in the Sociology office, who will be happy either to answer questions or to put you in touch with an appropriate member of academic staff.

Entry requirements

The PhD programme has strict entry requirements in addition to a strong, viable research proposal that academics in the department are willing to supervise:

  1. A Masters level degree in Sociology or a closely related subject; however, all serious applications will be considered. You should include both your undergraduate and postgraduate transcripts with your application materials. Warwick's International Office provides guidelines for how overseas qualifications equate to UK ones; this guidance is for information only and all applications and transcripts are considered on a case-by-case basis. However, this page will give you an idea of where your degree falls on the British scale.
  2. Two academic references; if you include your referees' email addresses on your application, they will receive an automatic email asking them to upload the reference, so you do not need to supply the reference letters yourself in the first instance - just supply the relevant contact details.
    Please note that if you have been in education within two years before your start date, then your references must be academic and not professional.
  3. If English is not your first language, you must have an IELTS score of 7.0 with no more than two components at 6.5 or 6.0, or other accepted language test. If you are unsure whether your nationality requires a language certificate, or if your previous education was in English, contact Melissa Venables to see if this requirement can be waived. Please also note that taking a pre-sessional English course at Warwick or elsewhere is not sufficient to replace an IELTS score at the required level.

In addition, you may wish to include your academic CV with your application materials. Once you have submitted your application online, you will receive a link to a secure upload page where you can submit supporting documents, such as your transcripts and research proposal. Please note that while a writing sample is not normally required for PhD applicants, we may require one at the Director of Graduate Studies' discretion; if this is the case, we will contact you after you've submitted your application.

Once you have identified a supervisor, finalised your research proposal, made contact with your referees, and collected your other supporting documents, you will be ready to submit your application. This is done online through Warwick's Postgraduate Application System.

Application deadlines

The academic year begins in October. There is no strict deadline for applications, but we strongly advise you aim to submit no later than 31 July for entry in October. Ideally you should aim to submit your application by April to ensure you receive your application results with enough time to organise the logistical aspects of your studies, before the start of term.

Scholarships have very strict deadlines. These will be advertised in autumn of the previous year. Please refer to university web pages for more information about funding at Warwick and the relevant deadlines can be found on the Fees & funding page. You are strongly advised to submit your application at least two weeks before any central funding deadlines at Warwick.

PhD students can be admitted at any point in the year; however, you are strongly advised to begin your studies at the start of an academic year in order to maximise your integration, both in the department's activities and in wider university life.