If you have any questions about applying to study a PhD, are an international applicant or need clarification about your mode of study our FAQs are below. If your question is not answered below please visit the contact us page to get in touch with us directly.

Fees and funding

What are the fees for the forthcoming academic year?

Current and previous fees for the academic year are listed here.

Are there any funding opportunities?

Any funding opportunities are advertised in our fees and funding section.

How to apply

How does it work?

Applications for Research Degrees are processed through our online application portal. You will need to upload your qualifications, entry certificates, transcripts and a research proposal (or research concept, if you are applying for a professional doctorate). Please note that we will not be able to process your application without having received your research proposal. To find out more about the research proposal required for your PGR course, please check the page for the relevant course.

If you are an overseas student you will also need to upload proof of English (see below), your passport and any UK visas you might hold or have held.

General guidance for application deadlines is below. Please note that if you are applying for a specific funding scheme the deadline for applications might be different to the standard BCU deadlines and you must apply before the funding scheme deadline.

Standard Intake

Target  date 



Home Applications

International Applications

Home Applications

International Applications

Final date for submission of online research degree application

End of May

End of April

End of October

End of September

Final date for candidates to accept offer

End of July

End of June

End of December

End of November

Start date of course

First Monday in September

First Monday in February

If you are planning to apply for a PhD in the Faculty of Art, Design and Media, you are welcome to send us an initial PhD enquiry. You can find a link to the relevant inquiry form on your course page.

Where/how to upload my research proposal?

Your research proposal (or research concept if you are applying for a professional doctorate) must be uploaded as a PDF document in the Personal Statement section of the online application and clearly named as Research Proposal (or Research Concept if you are applying for a professional doctorate).

Do I need to submit a research proposal if I am applying for a funding opportunity?

Yes. If you are applying for internal or external funding you still have to upload your research proposal when you submit your online application.

Your research proposal contributes to matching your research topic to potential supervisors and assess supervisory capacity, as supervisors have limited capacity to supervise doctoral students.

What to include in the research proposal?

The research proposal should provide an outline of the research area that you are interested in. Please include how your proposal relates to any previous work you have done. It should also include a proposed title, clearly formulated research aims, details of the research methodology you intend to use and a bibliography/alphabetical list of references cited. You should also include details of any proposed collaboration, if applicable.

What happens after I apply online?

Your application is processed and at least one academic expert in your field will assess your application and all submitted documents, including your research proposal. You will receive emails throughout the process to inform you of the stage of your application and an expected timeline.

Also, you might receive emails asking for further documents to be uploaded to your online application. To upload the documents, follow the link provided in the email or log into your online application portal and upload the documents requested.

Timescales - Application to offer

Your completed application will be sent to the faculty for consideration. You should allow up to six weeks for a decision to be reached. The faculty will contact you directly to confirm the outcome and to invite you for an interview if the faculty is in a position to proceed with your application.

Do I need to find my supervisor before applying?

You don’t need to propose a supervisor before you apply but you are welcome to contact our academics to discuss your research informally if you wish.

After your online application is submitted a potential supervisor with expertise in your discipline will be assigned to assess your submission.

International applicants

What is accepted as evidence of English language ability for research degree study?
  • Valid Academic IELTS certificate with overall score 6.5 with no band below 6.0 or equivalent
  • However, some courses may require a higher IELTS score. Please see individual course pages for more information.
  •  Equivalent qualifications can be viewed here 
Do I need an ATAS certificate?

The Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) requires all international students subject to existing UK immigration permissions, who are applying to study for a postgraduate qualification in certain sensitive subjects, knowledge of which could be used in programmes to develop weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) or their means of delivery, to apply for an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate before they can study in the UK. Find out more.

The ATAS application is independent to the Confirmation of Acceptance for Study (CAS) process.

The website above will guide you on whether your subject area will require an ATAS certificate. If you are to be made an offer to a programme which requires an ATAS certificate, this would be clarified in the offer letter.

International applicants who are not applying for a Tier 4 visa will still be required to submit an ATAS certificate to be able to enrol on their course.

Do I need a CAS to study a Doctorate?

A CAS stands for Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies. You will need a CAS in order to apply for a Student Route Visa for studying in the UK. Home Office requires international students to comply with certain requirements before they can study with us. The information required for your CAS application will be outlined in your offer letter as well as the deadlines to return the documents.

More information is available here.

I am an international student, can I study part time based in the UK? 

You can study part time in the UK only if you hold a valid visa that allows you to study part time in the UK. Please note BCU does not sponsor Student Route visas for part time students. 

Distance learning applications

Do I need to travel to the UK at any point if my mode of study is Distance Learning?

Our regulations require that our distance learning students spend a minimum of six weeks per year studying full-time at the University in the UK.

How do I meet with my supervisors?

You are required to have regular meetings with your supervisors in the UK. Different ITC modes of communication can be used for this purpose.

The distance learning mode is and you are required to have a local supervisor based in your residence country to meet with periodically. This local supervisor must be approved by the faculty before an offer may be made.

Do I need to apply for ATAS?

The requirement for an ATAS certificate is independent of the mode of study and if you are applying to study for a postgraduate qualification in certain sensitive subjects you must apply for an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate before they can study in the UK including distance learning courses. (Please see on ATAS certificate above).

Professional doctorate

Doctorate of Business Administration

Years one and two for the DBA are the structured phase and require attendance for three full week blocks, one in May, September and January. Years three and four are practice-based and have no taught sessions.

You can find more information on the DBA here.

Doctorate of Education

The EdD programme is undertaken in three phases.

Phase 1 - you will undertake the first two Critical Perspectives modules through which you are introduced to key concepts in educational research methodology within the policy and political contexts of educational practice.

Phase 2 - in the second phase you will extend your experience of research methodologies and engage with a range of contemporary and experimental approaches and undertake a pilot project in an area of your choice. In phase 2 you will also undertake the university-wide PG Certificate in Research Practice which provides the opportunity to discuss and write a research proposal for the EdD thesis.

Phase 3 - you will complete a thesis in an area of your choice.

You can find more information on the EdD here.

Contact us
Contact us
Still have questions? Get in touch with us and our team will be able to answer your questions.