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How to Apply

How to Apply for Doctoral Research Positions

All applicants must complete an application form and submit it to the University’s admissions office and NOT the department. Application forms can be submitted online, downloaded or requested through the post. It is STRONGLY recommended that you submit your application using the UCL online application form as this significantly speeds up the process. We also STRONGLY recommend that you e-mail a copy of your application form to your prospective supervisor or the Departmental Graduate Tutor (

All applications require 2 references and a copy of academic transcripts, including evidence of an English language test for students for whom English is not their first language, before being deemed complete. Note that incomplete applications WILL NOT be passed to the department for consideration. CVs will not be accepted without a completed application form.

NOTE: The Integrated Photonic and Electronic Systems Development Centre for Doctoral Training operates a pre-application screening process. Applicants who wish to apply to either of the Centres for Doctoral Training should clearly state this on their application forms.

Summary of Additional Requested Documents:

  • Two references each in an envelope sealed and signed across the seal by the referee
  • Transcript of an overseas degree
  • If required, proof of having satisfied the UCL English Language requirement

It is very important that you give some thought to the page on which you make a personal statement. The department’s graduate tutor uses this information to select the members of the academic staff to whom he will send a copy of your application. They, in turn, will use the information on this page, in addition to the other sections of the application, to form a judgement on the relevance of their research projects to your stated interests. Make sure that you clearly state which research group, or groups, you would like to join, and, if possible, describe the research project you would like to undertake.

Details of the Application Process.

Your application form will go to the UCL College Admissions Office, who will record and acknowledge your application, check your formal eligibility for the programme, and assign you a reference number. Your form will then be forwarded to the Departmental Graduate Tutor, who will send copies to all academic staff who appear relevant to your stated research area of interest (this is why a clear statement of your area of interest is important). If a staff member is interested in you as a potential postgraduate researcher, he or she will either contact you directly or ask the Departmental Graduate Tutor to contact you so that we can arrange further discussion. If you are in the UK we will arrange an interview at this point. If you are applying from overseas we will continue further discussion by e-mail, telephone or letter - whichever is most convenient.

When to apply:

We accept applications from November for the following academic year and although it is common for doctoral studies to start in September/October, it is possible to begin at other times. Places are offered to suitably qualified applicants on a first come, first served, basis – so early application is recommended.

Supplementary Supporting Statement

This is the main area of the application form where we can assess your interests and see how appropriate you are for doctoral study. This means that it is important that you clearly state the area of research that you wish to undertake. Statements who just say 'I love Electronic Engineering and want to do a PhD' will not get far. We would like to see that you have considered the areas of work available and have a clear interest in an appropriate topic. It is not necessary to have a full research proposal at this stage (although if you have one it would be great to see it), but that you have interests in a specific area. The statement should include:

  • A clear description of the general area in which you wish to work, and a statement of which research group or groups you would like to join.
  • Details of any previous work (projects etc.) that show experience in this area.

For further information contact the Departmental Postgraduate Research Programme Administrator

 Application Process


Fully funded PhD studentships are available

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Prof Cyril Renaud
+44 (0)20 7679 3982

PhD Course

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