How to apply


Recruitment has begun for September 2024 entry and the deadline for the next round of recruitment is the 10th July 2024. Further rounds of recruitment extend beyond this date, subject to availability of places.

Use the following checklist to ensure you have everything you need to apply for the SPADS doctoral training programme.

Once you have prepared the list of documents below, you can hit the apply button at the foot of the page.

Important note on eligibility and funding

Please note that if you require an ATAS certificate to work study in the UK you will not be eligible for this programme. Please check the UK government website for a list of nationalities that do not require ATAS certification.

Before you start: mentoring support

SPADS aims to provide additional support to applicants from underrepresented groups, in line with promoting ED&I (see ED&I statement).

If you are a member of groups typically under-represented in the STEM research community, you can apply for a pre-application mentoring support. To this aim, you should submit by email ( a short statement (max 200 words) explaining how your application supports Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in STEM as well as a 1 page CV by May 3rd, 2024.

If you wish, you can also add a short paragraph (150 words) explaining the type of support that would be beneficial for you.

  • Eligible applicants are not obliged to apply to the pre-application mentoring support
  • Early submission to the mentoring scheme are encouraged
  • If you require any reasonable adjustment to the application process, please contact

List of documents to be submitted

A cover letter

Here you should illustrate your motivation for joining SPADS. The document should be no longer than 1x A4 page at font size 11 Calibri or similar size (“standard conditions”). As a rule, this should include information on:

  • What you think SPADS can offer you/how it aligns with your aspirations.
  • What you wish to offer to SPADS.
  • What areas of research interest you, which can be as broad or narrow as appropriate for your personal aspirations and interests.
  • Any other information you believe would strengthen your case.


Please provide information on your qualifications and relevant experience. This should not be longer than 2x A4 pages at standard conditions. CVs should include at least:

  • History of your education and/or employment.
  • Overall marks and framework, for example 3.75/5, 9/10 or A (obligatory only for qualifications obtained within the last 10x years).
  • Any other information evidencing your ability to pursue a PhD within SPADS’ remit.


Please provide transcripts corresponding to your CV (if applicable). If they are in another language, please prepare both the originals and English translations.

Statement of funding

If you are an overseas student applying with your own funding please fill in all the details required in the application form, otherwise simply state “No” or “N/A”.

References (2x)

Please provide official institutional email addresses for referees of your choice. References should be from academic referees and/or employers and uploaded directly by the referees. Please check that all references are:

  • Signed and dated, less 12 months old by the application deadline
  • Mentioning the name and position of referee 
  • On letter-headed paper
  • Submitted as a Word documment or pdf
  • In agreement with the additional guidelines provided in the automatic email sent to the referees

In addition to the documents above, please upload any degrees, certificates and transcripts as appropriate.

When applying please make it clear that you are applying for the SPADS PhD training programme. To do this please quote this line at the beginning of section "Programme>Research topic": "I am applying for the SPADS PhD training programme."

Download detailed instructions on how to complete the application form » [last updated 15 March 2024]

Entry requirements and English Language Requirements

  • A UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in computer science, mathematics, physics, engineering, or in an appropriate subject or a related discipline.
  • Students with significant industrial experience, or with relevant professional qualifications, who have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in an appropriate subject will be given due consideration on a case-by-case basis.
  • All applicants must also meet English language requirements, as per UoE guidelines, namely:
    • either an undergraduate or postgraduate degree that was taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country ,as defined by UK Visas and Immigration;
    • I IELTS Academic: total 6.5 with at least 6.0 in each component.
    • TOEFL-iBT (including Home Edition): total 92 with at least 20 in each component. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
    • C1 Advanced (CAE) / C2 Proficiency (CPE): total 176 with at least 169 in each component.
    • Trinity ISE: ISE II with distinctions in all four components.
    • PTE Academic: total 62 with at least 59 in each component. Note that PTE Academic Online is not accepted.
  • Please see the section on English Language Requirements on the following page.

Post-application steps

Short-listed candidates will be invited to an online or in-person interview. Successful candidates will then be offered a SPADS PhD scholarship and tailor the project with their academic/industrial supervision team and the SPADS management team.