How to Apply for a Research Degree

A student and lecturer sat at a table with a photo montage on the wall

Follow our step by step guide below

Whether you'd like to join us through an MPhil or PhD research degree, the process is simple and outlined in the step by step guide below. In both cases we welcome project proposals that indicate a clear and strong alignment with Falmouth's strategic research priorities, be it in response to a specific doctoral project brief or as an original idea of your own.​

To give you the best chance in your application, whether MPhil or PhD, we've split the process into the following key stages, with a full breakdown of details in the subsections below.

01. Pre-application preparation

Read through this guidance, prepare your idea and ensure programme alignment:​

a. Check entry requirements​
b. Choose application route​
c. Consider an optional expression of interest to connect informally with a potential supervisor for feedback
d. Start thinking about funding 

02. Formal application submission

f. Prepare and submit your formal application, in line with guidance below

a. Check entry requirements

Key dates for September 2023 entry

Optional expression of Interest deadline Application deadline Interview period
28 November 2022 27 January 2023 Week commencing 27 March 2023

Self-funded applications for 2023-24 can be accepted until Friday 26 May 2023.

The normal minimum entry requirement for a place on the Research Degree at Falmouth University is an upper second class honours (2:1) degree of a British university or recognised institution of higher education, or an equivalent qualification from an institution outside of the UK.

However, a master's degree in an appropriate subject is considered to be a particularly valuable preparation for the academic and intellectual demands of an MPhil or PhD. In some instances, applicants without the minimum academic requirement as outlined above may be considered for a place on the Research Degree if they can demonstrate appropriate alternative qualifications, relevant professional experience, or previous research. 

If English is not your first language, you will normally need to demonstrate that you are suitably proficient in English before we can enrol you on the Research Degree. You can do this by providing evidence of one of the following:

  • A recent Falmouth-approved English Language Test (ELT) score which meets the University's requirements for the Research Degree: either an IELTS minimum overall test result score of 7.0 with a 7.0 in writing and with no other component score lower than 6.0, or an equivalent test score.
  • Recent completion of an MA level course of study (Distinction only) in a majority English-speaking country. 

By 'recent' we mean that your English Language Test score or MA level qualification needs to have been awarded no more than two years prior to the date that you would first enrol in the Research Degree at Falmouth. We cannot normally accept evidence that is older than this.  

You may submit an application for a place on the Research Degree before you have obtained your IELTS or equivalent test score, or before you have received your MA certificate, but if you are offered a place then you would need to provide evidence of having satisfied this condition before we can enrol you.

Each applicant is assessed on an individual basis and if you are offered a place on the Research Degree, then depending on your level of English language proficiency as demonstrated through your application form and interview, we will inform you whether we would require a new IELTS result before you can begin your PhD studies.

Please be aware that we can no longer accept TOEFL test results for this purpose.

Requirements for distance learning overseas online applicants

In addition to meeting the standard academic and language eligibility requirements, applicants to the distance learning overseas online mode need to demonstrate that they:

  • Can successfully conduct their research with the resources available to them at their distance learning place of study
  • Have access to appropriate IT facilities, so that they can engage in supervision and training from their distance learning place of study
  • Have the necessary time, commitment and appropriate attitude toward distance learning online study

Students on this mode do not hold a Student Visa so cannot enter the UK for the purpose of study or access Falmouth University's physical resources or buildings. Distance learning students have access to online resources available to all PGR students.

b. Select route to application

There are two routes for MPhil or PhD application. ​

Applicants can either apply by:​
a. Submitting a project idea of their own; or​
b. Responding directly to a Falmouth Doctoral Project brief.

Whilst we've created our Doctoral Project briefs to emphasise our priority areas of research interest, reflecting our Research & Innovation programmes, themes and strategic aims, we welcome and encourage the submission of any original research project ideas that align with our strategic objectives and fields of research expertise.​

Check out our doctoral project briefs to find a project that you'd be passionate to explore, our browse through our Research & Innovation programmes to identify which best aligns with your original idea, in preparation for the submission of your Expression of Interest form.​

Explore our Doctoral Project briefs

View our Research & Innovation programmes

c. Confirm strategic alignment

Successful project proposals must emphasise clear and explicit alignment with one or more of our Research & Innovation programmes. If you're responding to a Doctoral Project Brief an alignment to a research programme will already have been identified, but you'll need to make explicit your proposals alignment with that chosen programme. If you're proposing your own research project, you'll need to explore our Research & Innovation programmes to identify the programme which most strongly aligns with your proposal idea. In both cases, you'll need to familiarise yourself with the programme's purpose and objectives so that you can demonstrate a clear alignment with your expression of interest and formal application.

​About our Research & Innovation programmes​​

Research & Innovation at Falmouth is guided by three overarching strategic themes which are then reflected, explored and focused by ten transdisciplinary programmes. All of our projects, including postgraduate research theses, must align with one or more of our strategic programmes so that, together, we may build knowledge, add value and drive impact through open innovation and real world solutions, in line with our strategic aims. More information about our overarching strategy can be found in our 2030 Strategy.

Explore our Research & Innovation programmes

R and I Cat Research Day 1

Creative Industries Futures

Our projects explore dynamic and innovative routes to social, cultural and economic impact through t...

Creative Industries Futures
Dark Economies
Dark Economies Lead_2

Dark Economies

This programme explores the story-worlds we create to express our fears and anxieties through repres...

Dark Economies
Design for Health and Wellbeing
Design for Health and Wellbeing Lead

Design for Health and Wellbeing

The Design for Health and Wellbeing programme is seeking to stimulate research and innovation that c...

Design for Health and Wellbeing
Digital Creativity
Digital Creativity Lead

Digital Creativity

We explore innovative applications of game and interface design innovations within sectors spanning ...

Digital Creativity
Falmouth University Business students in shirts sat in front of desk with work displayed.
BS Ent 02

Digital Entrepreneurship and Financial Innovation

Working with a wide range of industry and business partners, our projects explore the role of creati...

Digital Entrepreneurship and Financial Innovation
A row of people holding up pieces of paper with words on them.
Inequality & Storytelling: Main Image T1

Inequality & Storytelling

Our researchers and practitioners assault bias, discrimination, indifference, injustice and marginal...

Inequality & Storytelling
Landscape image of wind turbines
Environmental Futures_lead

Environmental Futures

Research in this programme has produced exciting applications in areas such as agri-tech, aquacultur...

Environmental Futures
Metamakers Lead


The Metamakers Institute undertakes computational creativity research with the aim of stimulating ec...

Designing multigenerational living spaces
Multigenerational Living & Learning Lead_1

Multigenerational Living & Learning

This programme investigates multigenerational living and care models, technologies for adult social ...

Multigenerational Living & Learning
Pedagogy Futures
Pedagogy Futures Lead

Pedagogy Futures

This programme addresses themes from staff wellbeing and industry engagement to the future of teachi...

Pedagogy Futures

d. Submit an Expression of Interest

​Optionally, Submit an Expression of Interest.

What's an Expression of Interest​?​

Falmouth's expression of interest is an optional pre-application process designed for those engaging with Falmouth for the first time where candidates who are interested in pursuing a research degree with us can introduce their ideas, and receive preliminary feedback, on a research proposal. ​

Download the form from the link below and send your completed expression of interest form to

Once received, the completed expression of interest form is reviewed by subject specialist academics, where it is assessed for appropriate alignment to the research themes and programmes, potential supervision availability, potential resource needs and funding requirements.

Feedback on the expression of interest is then communicated to the candidate via one meeting, phone call, or video call with an appropriate academic member of staff, who could be a potential Director of Studies or Co-Supervisor.

Submission Deadline​​

Each year there's an expression of interest deadline for applicants responding to Doctoral Project Briefs and applying for funded opportunities. This deadline is given as one of the key dates above in section a. Check entry requirements. Expressions of interest submitted later than the published deadline date cannot be guaranteed feedback ahead of the formal application deadline.

It's possible to submit an expression of interest after the published deadline if you're not applying for a funded opportunity and instead are working towards the later self-funded application deadline.

e. Search for funding


Fund your research degree

We offer a range of options to help you fund your PhD or MPhil, including Falmouth Doctoral Studentships, discounted fees for Falmouth University alumni and an international and EU fee reduction scheme. Visit our Fund your research degree page to find information about different funding option.


Studentships are available to both UK and International students. ​

Applicants wishing to be considered for a Falmouth Doctoral Studentship may apply by submitting a project idea of their own or by responding to one of our Falmouth Doctoral Project briefs but should be advised that strong alignment with one or more of our research and innovation programmes is essential.​

Whether responding to a project brief or submitting an idea of their own, applicants can compete for one of up to three fully-funded Falmouth Doctoral Studentships. Applicants should be aware that the doctoral briefs provided indicate our priority areas.​

Studentships will be awarded on the basis of overall quality, as well as strategic alignment to our research themes / programmes.​

​Doctoral Loans​

Applicants may also be eligible for a Doctoral Loan, details of which can be found on our Doctoral Loans information page.

f. Submit formal application

Please ensure you read the Research Degree Proposal and Application Guidance Notes 2023-24 carefully when preparing your online application.

Formal applications are submitted via our online application form. Links to the online application forms are listed below by course mode of study.

Apply for MPhil/PhD Research Full-time on-campus

Apply for MPhil/PhD Research Part-time on-campus

Apply for MPhil/PhD Research Part-time Online

Apply for MPhil Full-time

Apply for MPhil Part-time

If you'd like to join our Research Degree Opportunities mailing list for 2024 please contact


Contact us

If you have any questions then please get in touch with the Research Team:
Student funding staff at a table with palm trees