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Advice for Potential PhD Applicants


Before Enquiring

Before applying for PhD studies, please read our PhD programme pages.

These pages contain lots of information including our postgraduate students' brochure, links to what our current PhDs are doing, info about our entry requirements, and links to funding/studentship options.

The Next Step

The next step would be to write a thesis proposal for us to consider. The proposal should include the following elements:

  • A provisional thesis title.
  • A short abstract of your project which offers a concise summary of what you want to do, how, and why the work is important (around 300-500 words).
  • An indication of the academic literature which will inform your research (including reference to relevant studies which have already been carried out relating to your field, and the academic theories which will influence you in your work) (around 300-500 words).
  • A statement of the objectives of your research along with a statement of your principal research questions (you should include the main questions that your thesis will set out to answer and give reasons why you think they are important questions) (around 300 words).
  • A summary of the research methods you will use. This section should explain how your methods will allow you to answer each of your research questions, and give details of exactly what your objects of analysis will be and why they have been chosen (if you want to look at media content which media will you analyse and why? How big will your sample be? If you want to carry out audience research which parts of the audience will you work with, in what way, and why? If you want to do media production work who will you interview and/or where will you carry out your ethnographic observations, for example?) (around 500-700 words).
  • A full and accurate list of references to any works you have cited in your proposal.

Covering Letter

Along with the proposal you should include a covering letter which explains why you want to carry out your work at Cardiff and with whom as a possible supervisor (with reference to how your work fits in with the research done by your preferred supervisor, and the research that's carried out at the school more generally). Find info about Cardiff's teaching and research staff and its research groups.

Before writing this part of the letter it is recommended you read about all of our research groups.

Important Considerations

You should indicate where you plan to live when writing your PhD, and how willing you would be to participate in PhD community life. We need to know this because we consider it to be quite important that PhD students live in or near Cardiff so they can participate fully in the postgraduate community here (we see building and maintaining an academic PhD community as very important, and we have a range of different formal and informal learning opportunities including taught seminar series', PhD peer-review and support clubs, a PhD film club, etc).

Where you live is also important if, later on in your time at Cardiff, you wish to contribute to undergraduate seminar teaching (many of our PhD students wish to gain valuable experience as teaching instructors supporting our academic staff in teaching on a range of undergraduate modules).

Financial Considerations

Your covering letter should also include information about how you plan to pay your tuition fees.

Tuition Fees for Postgraduate Research Degrees

You will find information about possible studentships open to PhD students here, however we strongly suggest you look into other avenues of funding that might be available to you as well.

If you have any other supporting documents that might strengthen your application then do send them through as well. In addition to all of this, if your first language is not English we ask that you have a minimum IELTS score of 7.5.