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Frequently asked questions about the application process

We understand that there is a lot you need to think about when you’re applying for a postgraduate research degree. Below is some information to guide you through the application process.

A guide to applying

How do you make an initial enquiry?

Please contact to submit an initial enquiry regarding your postgraduate research degree application. Additionally, you may wish to contact potential supervisors to discuss your research proposal prior to submission using our staff profiles

How do you submit an application?

Simply go to the course page that you’re interested in and click ‘Apply now’. You will then be taken to our online application portal, myHub. You will need to create an account and complete the application form in full. You can save the form as you go, enabling you to return to it at as many times as you want before submitting. The form is split into tabbed sections. As you complete each of the tabbed sections they will turn green - only click submit once all of your tabs are highlighted green.

How long should a research proposal be?

We recommend that your research proposal is around 1,500 words long.

What should a research proposal include?

Synopsis – For PhD funded studentships  e.g. defined research projects

If you are applying for a PhD funded studentship, please provide a synopsis of not more than 1,500 words, to demonstrate:

  • Your understanding of the defined project
  • The approach you would envisage taking
  • What qualities you would bring to the research community.

Synopsis – For non-defined research projects e.g. self-funded; VC PhD Scholarships

To evidence your understanding of the proposed research, please provide a synopsis of not more than 1,500 words, including the following:

  • The title of the proposed research
  • The research context and significance in the form of a short literature review of key articles and books in the proposed area of research
  • An overview of the general area of study and of the discipline of which it is a part
  • A summary of the proposed research, including identification of the research questions you will be seeking to answer and an explanation as to why they are significant
  • A statement of methodology and your understanding of the methods that will be used to conduct the research
  • A timescale, i.e. what you hope to achieve in each year of the research (MPhil/PhD). If you are applying for an MRes, please detail what you hope to achieve over 12 months (full-time) or 24 months (part-time)
  • A bibliography/reference list of the key articles and books mentioned in your application.

Synopsis – For Professional Doctorate e.g. DProf (Health & Social Sciences)

Applicants applying for a DProf should prove a synopsis of not more than 1,500 words to demonstrate:

  • The professional practice focus, context and rationale of your project
  • Summary of your project ambitions in relation to background literature
  • How you anticipate the project will develop methodologically with reference to the structure and process of the DProf you are applying to
  • A reference list of articles mentioned in the text
  • Research costs and availability of funding sources.

Read our proposal guidance document (pdf 469kb).

Please note that all research proposals will be screened for originality using Turnitin software as a matter of course.

What supporting documentation do you need to provide with an application?

Please ensure you include the following documents with your application:

  • A copy of any undergraduate and postgraduate degree certificates and final transcripts

  • A copy of your IELTS or other recognised English language test certificate (if applicable)

  • A copy of your current passport and any current or previous UK visas (if applicable)

  • A detailed personal statement stating your reasons for wanting to undertake research at Bournemouth University

  • Your research proposal.

If you have yet to complete your degree or English language test, please provide dates of when your results are due.

Colour copies of the above documents can be scanned and uploaded alongside your online application. If you are accepted on to the programme you will have to show original copies of the documents at enrolment.

How many references do you need?

We require two references, at least one of which must be academic. The Research Administrator will request references on your behalf. If there is any reason why we should not contact your referees prior to an offer being made, please make this known to us. References must not be from friends or family. Please ensure that you provide full contact details for your referees, particularly their address, telephone number and work e-mail address.

How long should a research degree take?

The minimum and maximum amount of time you will need to study for will depend on the type of research degree you are applying for, and whether you plan to study full or part-time. Below are the maximum and minimum timeframes we support.

Full-time minimum Full-time maximum Part-time minimum Part-time maximum
MRes 12 months 18 months 24 months 36 months
MPhil 18 months 36 months 36 months 72 months
PhD 24 months 48 months 48 months 84 months
EdD 48 months 84 months
DProf 48 months 84 months

What happens next?

We will keep you informed of the progress of your application throughout the process, however, you should be aware that, as the decision to offer a place is committee-led, the process between an initial enquiry and final outcome may take some time.

Assessing your application

Once we have received your application form, research proposal and supporting documents, your application will be reviewed by relevant members of academic staff within the faculty to which you have applied. If your research will involve working with another organisation alongside the university, we will take this into account when assessing the relevance of your proposal, as well as the advisory input and resources they may offer.

Interview stage

If your application has met all the academic and administrative entry requirements, you will be invited to an interview and may be asked to submit additional documentation. Where possible, you should attend the university in person; however, if you are an overseas applicant or are genuinely unable to travel, you may be interviewed via video conferencing (e.g Skype) or other suitable means.

The interview panel will normally include your potential supervisors and/or other relevant academics within the faculty.

Making an offer

If your application is successful, an offer will be made to you via your myhub account. You will be asked to confirm your acceptance within 14 days to secure your place on the programme.

Important information for international students

If you are an international student, it is important that you check whether you require a visa or entry clearance to study in the UK. It is your responsibility to arrange your student visa or to apply for entry clearance if required. Please note that the offer letter that will be sent to you cannot be used for visa purposes. A Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) will be issued to you once your deposit has been received/verified by the relevant payment authority, and also when all conditions of your offer have been met.