Applying For a PhD

Doctoral Studies

Queen Margaret University awards two higher degrees by research to students.

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) is a degree awarded solely on the satisfactory completion of a supervised research project.

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

On overview of the PhD course is provided via the PhD course page. Guidance on applying for the PhD is provided here.

Applying online

You can apply for the PhD Programme online using the Admissions Portal. The application process includes completion of an application form and submission of supporting documentation, including a research proposal.

Apply Now using our online application form.

The online application form allows you to save your progress, and you will be able to complete your PhD application in multiple stages if required.

Following submission of your completed application you will receive a QMU applicant ID number, please quote this in any correspondence you have with QMU.


We recommend that you contact potential supervisors prior to making an application. Please see the About our staff and the Research Centres, Institutes and Groups  for information on potential supervisors at the University. 

Application form

Please pay close attention to the spelling of your email address within the online form, as this is how we will contact you about your application.

Supporting information and documents

As part of your application you will need to write a personal statement that sets out your experience, suitability for doctoral study, and motivation for wanting to study on the QMU PhD programme.

As part of your application, you will need to provide:

  • your PhD research proposal;
  • copies of your degree certificate(s) and transcript(s);
  • confirmation of your English language ability (if required);
  • copies of two letters of reference; and
  • confirmation of external sponsorship (if applicable).

You will be able to upload these supporting documents as part of your application process. This is an important part of the admissions process and without seeing supporting documents tutors will not have enough information to make a decision on your application.


PhD Research Proposal

All applicants to the QMU PhD programme must provide a proposal for research that has academic merit and is capable of generating new knowledge. We will use your research proposal to check how well you understand the research process, and to establish whether the University has the appropriate staff to supervise your PhD programme.

Your PhD research proposal should:

  • be around 1000 words long;
  • summarise what the research is about;
  • set out why the research is important, making reference to current literature;
  • identify provisional research questions; and
  • suggest how the research questions can be investigated.

Please note that the research proposal must be written in your own words and should NOT include text that has been copied from books or articles. This is considered plagiarism and will lead to the automatic rejection of your application. In some cases, academic reviewers may submit research proposals to Turnitin in order to verify the legitimacy of the proposed research.

QMU Bursary funding is only available for PhD study based at QMU, and for topics that have been specified by the University. Further information about current or past topics can be found on the bursary competition website.

Qualifications (certificates and transcripts)

Please upload copies of your degree certificates and transcripts for any undergraduate or Masters degrees that you have completed or are about to complete.

Evidencing English language ability

If English is not your first language you will need to provide an IELTS certificate or have completed a degree which was delivered and assessed in English.

Only valid IELTS certificates are accepted as evidence of English language capability.  You need a score of 6.5 (with no less than 6.0 in each element).  IELTS certificate are valid for 2 years after the test date.

If you completed a degree, at a non-UK institution, that was delivered and assessed in English, then you will need to provide a formal letter from the institution, on headed paper, stating that your degree was delivered and assessed in English. 

If your documents are in any language other than English then they will need to be accompanied by a formal certified translation into English, by either the awarding institution or a sworn translator.

References Two academic references are required.

Referees must provide your reference in the form of a formal letter on headed paper. The reference must be dated and signed (and ideally stamped). Please note that we may contact your referee to verify the reference letter prior to it being accepted.

Referee contact details should include a professional email account. Please do not provide personal email addresses for referees (such as Gmail, Hotmail or Yahoo) as these won’t be accepted.  

Confirmation of funding 

If you have secured sponsorship from an employer (or another organisation) you will need to provide evidence of this financial support. A confirmation of funding letter from your sponsoring organisation should be provided with your application.  This should be on formal headed paper, signed and dated (and ideally stamped).  The letter needs to state that the organisation will be sponsoring you, the applicant, to study at Queen Margaret University.  It also needs to state exactly what the sponsorship financially covers e.g. annual tuition fees for full/part time study for the full PhD programme period, the financial assistance provided for a living allowance and any other supported costs (if applicable).


The QMU PhD Programme has two intakes each year, September and January.

If you are applying to study a topic of your choice, and will be funding yourself or you have secured funding for yourself, we welcome your application at any time of the year. To ensure a smooth transition into study, we recommend applying at least three months in advance of your preferred intake.

If you are applying to one of the funded PhD positions advertised by the University, please refer to the relevant competition page for the application deadline.

Apply Now (Via our Graduate School).

How to Apply

See our contacts below for the following areas:

Professional Doctorate application enquiries

PhD application enquiries

Show Contacts

How to Apply

Professional Doctorate (Prof Doc) - Application Enquiries Admissions Team
PhD Application Enquiries Graduate School Team