Research Frequently Asked Questions

Find out the answers to the most frequently-asked questions about our research degrees.

Should I contact a potential supervisor before I apply?

You should identify a proposed supervisor before you apply, so that you can develop your project proposal together.

The following information will be required at the initial stage:

  • The aims of your study
  • What has been done by other people in this area before
  • The methods you propose to use to pursue your research (simulation, experiments etc)

Please visit the research interests directory on our website where you can find information on the Faculty's staff and their research interests.

Do I have to apply with a project proposal already written?

There are three options:.

  1. Apply for advertised, funded projects which will already have a defined project proposal.
  2. Look at the research project ideas that have been suggested by academic staff for self-funded applicants - many of these will already have a defined project proposal. Find out information and contact details for the staff member.
  3. Approach us with your own idea for a project - if you have already written a project proposal, please refer to our guidelines to ensure all required points are covered.

If you have an idea you would like to develop, please provide the following information, as this will be a starting point for writing your proposal jointly with your proposed supervisor. Please note that you are required to contact potential supervisors - we do not find supervisors for applicants.

  • The aims of your study
  • What has been done by other people in this area before
  • The methods you propose to use to pursue your research (simulation, experiments etc)

What are the entry requirements?

To apply for all of our research degrees you should have a first or upper second class honours degree in a relevant area. For consideration for a PhD, a masters degree and some research experience would be beneficial.

What standard of English do I need?

If you are not from an English-speaking country, or have not studied at an English university before, you will need to show proof of IELTS 6.5 (or equivalent). Please visit the language requirements page for further information.

What documents do I need to submit in order to apply?

Please see our page on how to apply.

When can I start my degree?

Although we can enrol research students throughout the year, the two main intakes are in October and March.

How do I find an academic to supervise my studies?

Please visit the research interests directory on our website where you can browse researchers by their interests.

Can I study overseas?

We do offer the opportunity to study in your home country as an overseas-based learner on a part-time basis. The expectation is that you will have a host institution supporting you, in terms of laboratory and library facilities and local supervision. You will, however, still be expected to make regular visits to Kingston University. Please contact us for more information.

What happens to my application when it's submitted?

Your application will be processed as soon as possible by the Research Student Coordinators. The academic who is willing to supervise your studies will prepare an internal registration form and the complete set of application paperwork (including two references) will be assessed by the Faculty Research Degrees Committee. If it is approved, you will be asked to attend an interview before the offer of a place is made.

How long will it be before I hear if my application has been successful?

We aim to process applications as quickly as possible, but it can sometimes take 4-6 weeks for all the paperwork to be in order. Only when all the required paperwork (including two references) has been received can it be submitted for Faculty approval. Once an application has been approved, the applicant is invited to interview; an offer can only be made after an applicant has had a successful interview.

On a visa: If you are an International applicant already in the UK on an existing Visa, then you may also have to apply for an ATAS certificate before being able to renew your Visa.

It is therefore essential that you apply well in advance of the expiry of your Visa as the timeframe for the application process cannot be changed and you may need to plan to return to your home country if your Visa expiry date is imminent.

Can I register for a PhD with advanced standing?

It is possible to apply for a PhD with advanced standing. Students who are registered for a PhD at another comparable institution may apply for admission with advanced standing. To be eligible, applicants must be prepared to register at Kingston University for at least one year full-time (two years part-time) prior to the date of the final submission of the thesis.

Please contact us for more information.

How long does it take to complete a research degree?

The length of time it takes to complete a research degree varies depending on the mode of attendance:

  • MSc by Research Full-time - 1 year
  • MSc by Research Part-time - 2 years
  • MPhil Full-time - 2 years (with optional additional 1 year writing up)
  • MPhil Part-time - 4 years (with optional additional 1 year writing up)
  • PhD Full-time - 3 years (with optional additional 1 year writing up)
  • PhD Part-time - 6 years (with optional additional 1 year writing up)

How long will my thesis have to be?

Thesis length can vary depending on the discipline you study. As a general guide we expect an MSc by Research to be 15,000 words, an MPhil 20,000 words, and a PhD 40,000 words.

What fees will I have to pay?

For more information please see our fees page. Bench fees may also be payable, depending on your subject area and the requirements of your research project.

Do you offer studentships or other types of funding?

Studentships are occasionally available from the Faculty or the University. Please contact

Who can I contact for more information?

Email the Faculty research department via