Postgraduate research


PhD, MPhil

The School of Chemistry offers supervision for the degrees of:

  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) - full-time and part-time
  • Master of Philosophy (MPhil) - full-time and part-time

Supervision and research areas

We offer PhD and MPhil supervision in Chemistry in areas compatible with the research interests of our academic staff including:

  • Spectroscopy, Dynamics and Atmospheric Chemistry
  • Chemical Biology
  • Materials and Interfaces
  • Sustainable Synthesis and Catalysis

Interested in a different research area?

It is important that the area you want to work in is broadly compatible with our research interests - otherwise we may not be able to accept your application.

However, please do not feel we will not be interested if there is not an exact match. It is sometimes possible to be flexible, so please contact us.


For a list of our available scholarships/studentships, please visit our funded opportunities pages.

Can you fund your own study?

We have a number of PhD projects available to UK/EU and International applicants who are able to fund their own study or who already have their own external sponsor. (see links below)

Self Funded Projects

  • Professor Andrew Ellis: Interstellar ion spectroscopy
  • Professor Robert Hillman:  Fluorescent electroactive films for visualisation of latent fingerprints
  • Dr Rama Suntharalingam: Fluorinated metallopharmaceuticals for cancer stem cell-direct therapy
  • Dr Gregory Solan: Manganese catalysis: unlocking the door to new sustainable reactivity landscapes 
  • Dr Fabrizio Ortu: Frustrated Lewis Pairs in Rare Earth Chemistry
  • Dr Elena Piletska: Application of molecular imprinted polymer nanoparticles for surface proteomics
  • Dr Alison Stuart: Difluorination of Alkenes 
  • Dr Shengfu Yang: Micro- and Nano-plastics in Environment
  • Professor Sergey Piletsky: Allosteric activators for treating enzyme deficiency
  • Dr Richard Hopkinson: Defining how reactive small molecules affect human health

Entry requirements

You must hold a UK undergraduate (Bachelors) degree with at least first class or upper second class honours or an equivalent qualification from a recognised overseas institution.

See academic entry requirements and the English language entry requirements.

How to apply

  1. Make sure we offer PhD/MPhil supervision in the area in which you want to work.
  1. Draft a brief (1,000 words maximum) personal statement that:
    • explains why you want to work in this area
    • describes any relevant research experience - for example, as part of a previous degree
    • lists any academic work you have published or which is awaiting publication
  1. Prepare your supporting documents, with your application you need to include proof that you meet the academic entry requirements and the English language entry requirements:
    • include all relevant certificates/diplomas and transcripts
    • international applicants must provide official copies of their entire course transcripts including explanations of marking schemes used
    • supporting documents not in English must be provided with a certified English translation
    • CV
    • In addition to uploading the above documents please enter contact details for two academic (not personal) referees who can comment on your suitability for the research degree programme or upload letters of reference if already available
  1. Submit your online application using the Apply button at the bottom this page.

When to apply

We have intakes in January, April, July and September each year.

You should try to submit your application as far in advance of your preferred start date as possible. If you are an international applicant and require a visa to study in the UK you should submit your application at least 3-4 months before the proposed start date.

After you have submitted your application, it will take a minimum of six weeks for you to receive a decision about your application.

Fees and funding

Tuition fees vary according to your fee status and the mode of study (full-time or part-time). For clarification please contact

UK Campus-based

*UK fees will rise each year of study in line with UKRI rates.


  • Starting in 2022/23 academic year: £4,596 per year
  • Starting in 2023/24 academic year: TBC in early 2023


  • Starting in 2022/23 academic year: £2,298 per year 
  • Starting in 2023/24 academic year: TBC in early 2023

International Campus-based


  • Starting in 2022/23 academic year: £21,000 - £29,500 per year
  • Syarting in 2023/24 academic year: £21,850 - £30,700 per year

* International fees for research degrees in this subject area vary according to the nature of the research project to be undertaken. The applicable fee will be determined at the point an offer of admission is made and will be stated in the offer letter. 


Please note that owing to UK visa restrictions, part-time campus based registration is not normally available to international applicants.

The normal duration of a PhD programme is three years (full-time). PhD students may use the fourth year as a 'writing-up' year for which a reduced fee is payable if active research has been completed - currently £100. (Maximum registration permitted is 4 years full-time or 7 years part-time).


For a list of our available scholarships/studentships, please visit our funded opportunities pages.

PhD description

PhD students complete an independent research project under the guidance of a supervisory team. The research is normally completed over a maximum period of 3.0-3.5 years (full-time) or 6.0-6.5 years (part-time).

A fourth year (full-time) or seventh year (part-time) or the remaining part of this can be used to prepare the thesis for examination. The thesis should not normally exceed 50,000 words and must make an original contribution to knowledge and contain work of publishable quality. The thesis must then be defended in a viva voce (oral) examination before a degree can be awarded.

PhDs explained

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