Online application guide

Follow our guide to help you with your research application. You will find out how to complete each section of the application form, the supporting documents you need, and how to contact us if you need help.

PhD students gather around laptops as they work together on a project at the University of Sussex

Getting started

You apply through the University’s postgraduate application system.

You need to:

  • create an online account using our postgraduate application system
  • click on the URL in the activation email to activate your account
  • log in to your account using the email address and password chosen when you registered
  • select your research degree from the A-Z drop-down menu, or type its title into the keyword search
  • select your point of entry. You should check the entry points your degree offers. For some of our courses you can select to start your degree in September, January or May, while for others entry is in September only
  • select your mode of study, for example, part-time or full-time 
  • click Apply to begin your application. You can apply for up to three courses. 

Completing the application form

Follow our guidance to help you complete each section of the application form:

  • Personal details

    You must fill in all of your personal details and indicate if you need a visa to study in the UK.  

    If you do require a visa to study in the UK, you must:

    • submit your passport (and previous visa if you have studied in the UK). This is so that so we can give you a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) number for your visa application.
  • Address

    You must: 

    • provide a valid home address. If you want to be contacted at a different address, provide a correspondence address
    • make sure you tell us if you change your address by emailing
  • Education and qualifications

    Provide details of your:

    • qualifications - give details of any further or higher education qualifications you have completed, or are studying
    • previous university - select your previous university from the list. If you are an international student, type the name of your university into the text box and select your country from the list
    • subject of study - the title of the course you have completed or are studying. You must include the title/level of the course/s e.g. BA, MSc 
    • class or grade - your final grade i.e. Pass, 2:1. If you have not yet completed the qualification, provide a date for when you will receive the result
    • extra information - if you wish to give us more information about your qualification, such as module descriptions, complete the description box. 
  • English language

    Please state whether English is your first language.

    If English is not your first language you need to:

      • check our English language requirements
      • tell us the English language qualification you have, and the grades you have achieved, and upload a copy of your certificate 
      • tell us if you will be taking an English language test in the future. 

    If you have language qualifications not included in our list of accepted qualifications, provide details and evidence of your qualification, so we can consider it as an alternative.

  • Relevant work experience

    You can give more information about relevant work experience that you have (paid or voluntary) that may support your application.

    You can attach any associated certificates or references. 

  • Supporting documents and references

    You must provide:

    • research proposal/research statement 
    • summary of academic interests (this is optional depending on the subject area you are applying for)
    • degree certificates and transcripts. If the originals are not in English, certified translations must be provided
    • your English language qualification, where applicable
    • CV
    • two academic references  –  including one from your most recent university. Or you can provide contact details for your referee and we will email them. 
  • Academic interests

    If you are applying for a research degree, you may need to submit a research proposal or research statement.

    It is important your proposal/statement is in the format your subject area requires. Before submitting your application, see our guide to writing your research proposal for subject-specific guidance. Staff from our Schools of study have provided guidance on what a proposal/statement should contain.

    Identifying a supervisor/department

    You are encouraged to identify which supervisor(s) or department you would like to work with, and you can discuss your research interests with supervisors before applying. 

    If you ask to be supervised by a particular member of faculty, this will be considered but not all such requests can be accommodated. Find out how to find a supervisor.

  • Submitting the application

    You can keep track of the sections you have completed on your form:

      • each section is marked with a red cross to show that it is not yet complete, or a green tick if the section is finished
      • you cannot submit your application unless all sections are complete
      • once you are happy with your application, click submit.

    You will be notified by email that your application has been successfully submitted. You cannot change or add information after your application has been submitted, apart from your contact address.

  • Monitoring the application

    You can monitor the progress of your application by logging into your account and clicking on the status button next to your course application. 

    You can use your account to:

      • see if we need more information or documents. This is shown in the application's status. We will also email you to notify you
      • see if you have been given an offer
      • see a copy of your offer letter 
      • accept or decline your offer through your account

    It is only possible to hold one offer at a time from the University of Sussex. 

  • Submitting more than one application

    You can apply for up to three courses by returning to the application homepage and adding another course.

    Some sections of the application will already be completed from your first application. 

    Your supporting documents, including your references are used across each application.  

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