PhD in UK: A Complete Guide to PhD in UK for International Students  Image
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PhD in UK: A Complete Guide to PhD in UK for International Students

Yocket Editorial Team
22 mins read

The UK as a study destination stands tall on the pedestal for the most research intensive universities in the world. Stellar research infrastructure along with efficient and excellent research outcomes together contribute to a successful PhD in UK. Along with this, top universities are famous for offering a fully funded PhD UK to international students, meaning a PhD which is entirely funded through a grant or a scholarship.

If you as an international student are looking for a guide on PhD courses and PhD universities in UK, we have got your back! Keep on reading to know more about PhD cost in UK, along with requirements, eligibility and lots more!

Table of Contents:

  1. An overview of the PhD program in UK
  2. Why study PhD in UK?
  3. Types of PhD in UK
  4. Eligibility and Admission Requirements to study PhD in UK
  5. Application Process for PhD in UK
  6. Cost of PhD in UK
  7. Top Universities in UK for PhD
  8. Scholarships to study PhD in UK
  9. Career Opportunities after pursuing PhD in UK
  10. Frequently Asked Questions about PhD in UK


An Overview of the PhD program in UK

PhD programs in UK are a cumulation of excellent research work and industrial collaborations. The PhD program is a three years program which ends with the submission of a thesis 12 months before the program ends. Although PhD universities in UK may have their own set curriculum and the time,  let's highlight the major takeaways to study PhD in UK:


3-4 years

Average Tuition Fee

£15,000 to £20,000/ year

Mode of study

Full time or part time

Popular Courses

Computer Science, Engineering and Technology, Paramedic Sciences, Law, Social Science, Architecture, etc.

Top Universities

University of Oxford, University of Cambridge, Imperial College London, London School of Economics and Political Science


Why Study PhD in UK?

Let us now acclimatise you with the reasons why PhD in UK for Indian students is so popular:

  • Popular study destination: Having more than 10 universities in top 100 universities list across the globe, UK as a study destination is very popular among the international students.

  • Best Research Facilities: UK is home to some of the world's best universities. These are known for their state-of-the-art research infrastructure, and therefore, pursuing PhD in UK for international students is a dream come true.

  • Diverse Culture: PhD programs in UK not only provide international students with the best infrastructure and facilities but also a chance to explore diverse cultures.

  • Career and Scope: Being a part of globally recognised PhD universities in UK will bring you a career immensely great returns. After the completion of PhD, students can go in for commercial research, business oriented research or academia. 

SUGGESTED: What are the Job Opportunities after Studying in UK?

Moving on, here is a quick look at the types of PhD a student can pursue in UK:


Types of PhD in UK

Having a total span of around 3-4 years, there are several types of PhD an international student can pursue in the UK. Let us walk you through the type of PhD in UK:

  1. Standard PhD

This type of PhD is the most basic type, wherein students discuss a research proposal with their supervisors, collect and analyse data, and prepare a thesis in the end. You can pursue a standard PhD in most of the universities in UK.

  1. Integrated PhD

The integrated PhD combines one year of MRes with 3 years of a standard PhD. Providing students with a lot of opportunities, over 30 universities in th UK offer Integrated PhD to international students.

  1. Professional PhD

A professional PhD is aimed at providing students with ample employment opportunities. Offered in disciplines like engineering, science and medicine, a professional PhD is the most sought after type of PhD in UK.

  1. Distance Learning PhD

This type of PhD is useful for part-timers or international students who have a busy schedule. The distance learning PhD can be completed in a time span of around 5-6 years.

  1. PhD by Publication

Most of the universities offering this type of PhD admit only their alumni. Also known as the higher doctorate, this PhD can only be applied by students having their own papers, publications, or articles worth 5,000-20,000 words each.

SUGGESTED: Checkout the list of the Best Masters Universities in UK

In order to pursue a PhD, international students must fulfill certain admission requirements. Let us find out more about these PhD requirements UK:


Eligibility and Admission Requirements to Study PhD in UK

The admission requirements for PhD in UK for Indian students differs between the universities and the course you wish to pursue. Let us check out the basic requirements to apply at PhD universities in UK:

  1. Masters degree
  2. Research proposal
  3. English proficiency test scores
  4. Additional documents

Let us now talk about these PhD requirements UK briefly:

Masters Degree and Academic Transcripts

The most basic requirement to apply for a PhD in UK is to have a masters degree in a related field, with the academic transcripts for each level of study. Some universities may ask for only a bachelor's degree, which entirely depends on a case by case basis.

Research Proposal

A research proposal is a document which is asked by a majority of universities admitting students for their PhD programs. Research proposal should have: the topic you wish to research on, intention of research, how the research would be conducted.

English Proficiency Test Scores

It is essential for you, as an international student, to have an English proficiency proof in terms of IELTS, TOEFL, PTE or other tests. The minimum IELTS requirement for PhD in UK for Indian students is a score of 7.0 or above.

SUGGESTED: Find out the difference between IELTS and TOEFL

Additional Documents

Additional documents such as a statement of purpose, work experience and recommendation letters will add more value to your overall application.

Now that you are aware of the requirements, let us take a quick look at the Application process for PhD:


Application Process for PhD in UK

The application process for PhD admission in UK is quite simple to pursue. Here is a quick look at the steps you need to follow:

  • Choose your discipline and a university to start your research in UK.
  • Submit the application form along with the application fee.
  • Submit all the required documents and requirements asked by the particular university.
  • Create a research proposal to be submitted along with all the documents.
  • Find a supervisor to start your doctoral degree under.
  • Apply for a scholarship or financial aid, if available at the university.
  • Wait for the admission decision.

Note: Finding a supervisor can be a cumbersome job, and so universities assist you for the same. Also know that you may not get a supervisor that you had asked for, universities take these decisions on a case by case basis.

Another important factor that impacts your decision to study abroad is cost. So, let us briefly take a look at the cost of studying and PhD Scholarships UK:


Cost of PhD in UK

The PhD cost UK differs for international students and domestic or EU students. The cost somewhere stands at £6,000 per year, for domestic students. For international students, on the other hand, the cost is higher, and lies in the range of £15,000 to £20,000 per annum.

Apart from the cost of tuition, students also have to bear the cost of living in UK. The average cost of living in the UK can be around  £1100 - £1300 per month. This cost can go up or down depending on your lifestyle and the city you are living in.

SUGGESTED:  A Detailed Breakdown of the Cost of Living in UK for International Students

International students usually get a scholarship or a bursary in the form of financial aid to pursue their PhD programs in the majority of the universities.


Scholarships to Study PhD in UK for International Students

Almost all of the top universities offer PhD scholarships for Indian students in UK. PhD funding UK ranges from scholarships, bursaries, to studentships. We have curated a list of some PhD scholarships UK below:


Awarded to

Amount/ Benefits

Oxford Indira Gandhi Graduate Scholarships

Indian nationals on Merit basis for pursuing DPhil in areas of interdisciplinary research

Course fees and living costs are covered

Ertegun Scholarship programme in Humanities through Oxford University

Students pursuing DPhil in humanities

£15,609 + full course fees

Gates Cambridge

Non EU students enrolled in a postgraduate program

£17,500 + full course fees + two air tickets + visa

President’s PhD Scholarship Scheme through Imperial College London

High performing masters students with excellent academic performance and research potential

Full tuition fees + £21,800 per annum for 3.5 years

Edinburgh Doctoral Scholarships

Students showcasing outstanding merit and research potential

University tuition fee + stipend of £15,609 per annum

Now that we have all  the details regarding studying PhD in UK, let us take a look at the top universities in UK for the program:


Top 5 Universities in UK for PhD

The UK, being a nation known for its high standards in the field of research, is very much preferred by international students. Most of the PhD universities in UK are renowned for their research outputs. We have curated a list of the top PhD universities for you below:

  1. University of Oxford
  2. University of Cambridge
  3. Imperial College London
  4. University College London
  5. University of Edinburgh

Let us talk a little more about these universities:

University of Oxford

The University of Oxford has received innumerable accolades for various parameters in groundbreaking research, innovation, and academic excellence. The university provides international students willing to pursue PhD in UK with an environment which is extremely beneficial and highly valuable across nations.

QS World University Rankings 2022


Popular Programs

DPhil Socio Legal Research, DPhil Theoretical Physics, DPhil Clinical Medicine, DPhil Archaeology

Average tuition fee

£28,650/ year

University of Cambridge

The University of Cambridge is known for its research practices around the globe. Majority of international applicants receive PhD scholarships in UK through the University of Cambridge. The university also offers funded research projects to international students.

QS World University Rankings 2022


Popular Programs

PhD Clinical Psychology, PhD Mathematics, PhD Clinical Neurosciences, PhD Zoology, PhD Physics

Average tuition fee

£33,972 / year 

Imperial College London

The Imperial College London is known to focus exclusively on subjects like sciences, business, medicine and engineering. Having research impact at the top priority since 1907, Imperial College London should be one of your top choices for fully funded PhD in uk for international students

QS World University Rankings 2022


Popular Programs

PhD Design Engineering, PhD Immunology and Inflammation, PhD Mathematics,

Average tuition fee

£26,500/ year

University College London

Greatest industrial contacts, excellent collaborations and partnerships with nations across the world, top class research infrastructure is what sums up PhD at University College London. Home to more than 20,000 graduate students from around 150 countries, UCL is also known internationally for its employment opportunities after research.

QS World University Rankings 2022


Popular Programs

PhD Behavioural Science and Health, PhD Chemistry, PhD Architectural Design, PhD Financial Economics

Average tuition fee

£25,730/ year 

University of Edinburgh

University of Edinburgh is ranked 4th in UK for research, and is one of the best universities offering several fully funded PhD UK programs. With several partnerships across the globe, it offers numerous career opportunities for students completing their PhD. Students can opt for a pre-defined PhD project, or develop their own research idea.

QS World University Rankings 2022


Popular Programs

PhD Accounting, PhD Finance, PhD Engineering, PhD Informatics, Doctor of Clinical Psychology

Average tuition fee

£23,350/ year

Studying at these top universities in UK will ensure that you have a promising future. Let us take a look at the career opportunities after PhD in UK:


Career Opportunities After Pursuing PhD in UK

Though the PhD cost UK is quite high, so are the returns. PhD graduates from the UK are seen performing commercial research post graduation in various fields like education, science and technology, medicine and others. Students are also seen working in the private sectors performing research for business organisations, apart from working for academia, or pursuing even higher research.

For a better understanding of how careers post PhD in UK look like, we have tabulated the salaries for various PhD job profiles below:

Job profile

Average Annual Salary

Senior Economist


Data Scientist


Senior Software Engineer


Associate Professor    


Research Scientist


SUGGESTED: How to obtain a post study work permit in UK?

Before we wrap up this blog, here are answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about pursuing PhD in UK:

With an average salary of £49,825, there’s no doubt the UK is considered one of the top most destinations for PhD. Not only the higher rate of returns, international students also get hold of PhD scholarships in UK quite easily. If you are looking for a promising future, the UK should definitely be at the top of your lists! In case you need further assistance with your journey to study abroad, you can reach out to our Yocket Counsellors today!


Frequently Asked Questions about PhD in UK

  1. Which are the top universities for PhD in UK?

Ans. The top universities for PhD in UK are:

  • University of Oxford
  • Imperial College London
  • University College London

  1. How much does a PhD in UK cost?

Ans. PhD in the UK costs in the range of £15,000 to £20,000 per annum on an average for international students.

  1. Is it easy to get a job after pursuing a PhD in UK?

Ans. Yes! PhD graduates can very easily grab an average salary of £49,825 per annum post graduation.

  1. What are the popular courses to pursue PhD in UK?

Ans. The most popular courses are clinical psychology, physics, mathematics, immunology, and medicine.

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