Postgraduate research degrees

How to apply

In order for us to consider your application, we will require you to provide information in order to assess your suitability for the course:

  • A completed application form
  • A copy of your passport
  • Your current visa/BRP card, if you are currently residing within the UK
  • Copies of your degree certificates and transcripts
  • A copy of your research proposal
  • Two signed academic references in support of your application – you can use the reference template
  • An IELTS certificate showing that you meet our entry requirements (overall score 6.5, minimum 5.5 in each area of learning)

Please note that you do not need to supply an IELTS certificate if you have completed a degree from a predominantly English-speaking country, as defined by the UKVI; or if you have citizenship of a predominantly English-speaking country, as defined by the UKVI.

The University of Derby is committed to equal opportunities and our policy on Disability and Learning Differences aims to ensure that individuals with disabilities and learning differences receive fair treatment, in accordance with the Equality Act 2010. Our admissions policies can be read on our website.

It is recommended that you contact the relevant College Research Committee Chair or nominated representative for guidance before submitting an application:

Complete applications should be sent to the Research Student Office, at

Please be aware of the following application submission deadline dates if you wish to be considered for a particular intake period:

Available intakes for 2018-19

  • September - apply by 15 August 2018
  • January - apply by 30 September 2018
  • March - apply by 30 November 2018
  • June - apply by 28 February 2019

Please note that, whilst we will always aim to process applications received by the deadline stated in time for the desired intake period, this may not always be possible.

International applicants: Please be aware that in order to enrol onto a PGR programme, you must have obtained a valid UK visa. The process to obtain a visa can be lengthy, and if not obtained in time for your desired intake period, your enrolment may be delayed. Please bear this is mind when considering your proposed intake period.

Once you accept the offer of a place of study, you will be advised of the next enrolment period.

PGR Tuition Fees 2018-2019

PGR Regulations

The Research Student Office will initially assess your application to ensure that it is complete and that all documents and information that we require has been submitted. In order to expedite the processing of your application, please ensure you send all required documents, including signed references.

What happens next?

Once the Research Student Office has processed your application, we will then forward your application on to the relevant College Research Committee Chair for them to consider your application from an academic perspective, including assessment of your proposal and ensuring that the University can offer appropriate supervision and facilities for your proposed research. All students who are to be offered a place on a PGR programme will be interviewed. If you are invited for interview, then you will be contacted directly by the College to arrange this. Please be aware that, once an application is sent to academic colleagues, it can take up to 12 weeks for a decision to be made.

If you have indicated that you consider yourself to have a disability or medical condition that may affect your study, and have returned a completed General Support Questionnaire, the College will liaise with Student Wellbeing prior to offer to ensure that a support plan is available if required.

Application outcome

The Research Student Office will contact you to let you know the outcome of your application.

Once the University is satisfied with the following:

  • Your research proposal
  • You meet the entry requirements for your desired route and award (including English language requirements)
  • Your references are satisfactory
  • The University has the expertise and resources to be able to supervise you and support your research
  • You have been successfully interviewed

we will send you an offer letter informing you that you have been offered a place of study.

The Research Student Office are responsible for sending out all correspondence relating to formal offers and acceptance, as well as sending information on visa requirements and other important issues.

If you are unconditionally accepted, an unconditional offer letter and information pack will be sent to you both by email and post.

If you are conditionally accepted, a conditional offer letter and information pack will be sent to you by email and post, outlining the conditions you must fulfil before you can be enrolled on to the PGR programme. Depending on your conditions, whether this be completion of a previous degree or successful application for a visa, this may have implications on your intake period.

Please note that, if you require a Tier 4 student visa to study in the UK, then any offer made will initially be conditional.

Once you accept the offer of a place of study, you will be advised of the next enrolment period.

If your application is not accepted, you will receive an email from the Research Student Office informing you of the College’s decision and reasons why.

Prior to enrolment

Once you have received your unconditional offer, you will need to email the Research Student Office to confirm your attendance date for enrolment.

Prior to enrolment, if you have any fees to pay, then please pay either online or over the phone prior to attending the enrolment session, using the details provided in the information pack included with your offer letter. If you are paying fees on the date of enrolment, please ensure you come in early to make your payment before the enrolment session as we won’t be able to process your enrolment if the payment is not completed.


If you are being sponsored, you must provide proof of sponsorship before you can enrol. This can either be an original letter of authorisation on company headed paper or a purchase order. You should check with your sponsor that they have the correct information to give to the University.

If a sponsor letter or purchase order has been sent independently to the University, you must bring a copy to enrolment. Sponsors will be sent an invoice for each student sponsored. These should be paid promptly or the student could be suspended from their programme. Instalment payments are not available to sponsors.

Your sponsor can either produce a letter for each academic year you are enrolled on your programme; or alternatively, they can produce a single letter indicating that they are willing to cover your costs (tuition fees; bench fees; and/or living expenses) for the full duration of your programme.

Please note that all such letters must be addressed to the University of Derby, signed, and must refer to you by name. The document must explain who is paying and the address invoices should be sent to.

The sponsor must pay the annual tuition fee within 30 days of your enrolment. If your sponsor is not resident in the UK or does not have a UK address then payment of the fees must be made in full at or prior to enrolment.

You should also be aware that if your sponsor defaults on the payment of fees, liability for the debt will rest with you.

In addition to the payment methods outlined above, payment can be made electronically direct into the University’s bank account. If your sponsor prefers to pay electronically please contact Finance Department +44 (0)1332 592742.

If fees are not paid or a sponsor letter is not provided, then this could result in you missing your desired intake period.

At the enrolment session

At your enrolment session, you will need to bring with you your original Bachelors/Masters degree certificates, and your passport/birth certificate. If appropriate, please also bring the following:

  • Your BRP card/visa
  • Your original English language certificate;
  • Your ATAS certificate;
  • If you have changed your name since receiving your initial award, eg through marriage or by legal process, please include a verified copy of the document which records this change, (the marriage certificate, deed poll).

We will not be able to complete your enrolment unless you have provided this documentation.

Your enrolment session is where you formally enrol onto the PGR programme. This session will include confirming that your personal details are correct; an introduction to the PGR programme; a tour of the Kedleston Road site and facilities; issuing your student card and network access details; and an overview of our PGR Manager IT System.

We strongly encourage you to arrange to meet with your supervisory team as soon as possible following your enrolment session.

College Decision on applications

Following a formal interview with the applicant, academic staff must complete a RD04 College Application Decision Form (including the Interview Checklist) and submit the fully completed and signed form to Research Student Office ( The Research Student Office will complete this process by producing a conditional/unconditional offer.

Privacy Statement

The information that is supplied on applications will be held and processed in line with the Data Protection Act 2018, GDPR and subsequent legislation.

Information will be used by the University of Derby (as Data Controller) to assess applicants’ suitability to be accepted onto the course they have applied for, we may also use this data for consideration of an alternative course. In addition applicant data may be used for statistical analysis. We may contact applicants to request any additional information that we require to enable us to consider applications in full or to invite them to interview where applicable. We will contact applicants to inform them of the progression of applications and to provide additional information to support successful candidates through to enrolment and start on the programme of study.

We retain this data for 10 years on successful acceptance to the University when candidate information will be converted to create a student record, after such time it will be securely destroyed. Where candidates do not progress to study, their data will be retained for a period of 2 years; after that time it is deleted securely. It will be shared externally with other departments within the University to ensure fair assessment of applications and to provide relevant support services.

Our lawful basis for processing this data is contract. As a data subject you can request withdrawal of consent at any time by contacting Our Data Protection Officer (DPO) is James Eaglesfield on (01332) 591762. Our Deputy DPO is Helen Rishworth on (01332) 591954. Alternatively you can email Further information on how we handle your information can be found here on our website.

Contact us

If you've got any questions about applying, please contact us:

T: 01332 591060