How to apply for research programmes

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Before applying to study for a research programme at SOAS, ensure that you can meet all the entry requirements.

The information below includes details on how and when to apply for our research programmes.

Before applying

Before applying for a research programme, please: 

  • check that you meet the programme entry requirements which can be found on individual programme pages
  • check that your chosen School can provide supervision in your research area. You will be asked to indicate a supervisor in your application form
  • consider your funding options and check if we offer any studentships in your research area
  • contact the PhD Coordinator for your research area before you apply (you can find their details on your relevant research area page)

When to apply

  • The admissions cycle for September 2024 entry starts on the 1 November 2023 and the deadline to apply for a research programme is 15 June 2024. We may consider applications received after this date up until the 'late application' deadline of 5 July, but this will not be guaranteed. We therefore encourage you to apply by 15 June for guaranteed consideration.
  • Research Degrees start in September.
  • The assessment of your suitability and the availability of supervision can take some time, typically between two and three months from submission of your application.
  • If you are an overseas applicant, we advise you to apply well in advance of your preferred start date as the Student Visa application process can be very lengthy.
  • If you do miss the relevant ‘apply by’ date we will do our best to process your application in time, but you may have to consider a later starting date
  • Visiting Research Applicants will need to ensure an application is submitted 3 months prior to the start date of the term you intend to commence your studies.

Application requirements

An application is only considered complete if the following requirements have been fulfilled:

  • Your application will only be initially assessed once your reference has been confidentially submitted by your nominated referee. The Doctoral School Admissions team will check that all required documentation has been provided and that the reference is acceptable and meets our requirements during the initial assessment.
  • Incomplete applications, missing any of the below elements, cannot be considered and will not go forward to the Academic Selectors within the Department for consideration.

    1. A formal application form
    2. A supporting/personal statement
    3. An up to date CV
    4. A research proposal
    5. Full academic transcripts
    6. Degree certificates
    7. English language evidence 
    8. One reference

Applying for one of our Global Partnerships programmes?

If you are applying for the joint MPhil/PhD in Applied Development Economics programme with University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), as well as completing all the steps in the ‘How to Apply’ section above, you will also need to specify either SOAS or Wits as your ‘Home Institution’ in the Partnership Universities section of the application form.

If you plan to be based mainly at SOAS in the UK for the duration of the programme, please select SOAS as your Home Institution.

If you plan to be based mainly at Wits in South Africa, please select Wits as your Home Institution.

Apply to SOAS

You can apply for postgraduate study at SOAS through our dedicated application system.

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