Doing a PhD: frequently asked questions

Kirsty Perrett is working towards her Doctorate, researching the latest worldwide 5G network

Types of postgraduate research degree

The University offers research degrees at both Doctoral and Masters level and you may choose to study either full- or part-time.

We offer:

Most full-time PhD programmes last for three to four years. Students are expected to submit a thesis within 12 months of the end of the programme (and preferably within the three year period).

You will be supervised by a team of experienced academic staff with relevant expertise in your research area.

What is a PhD?

A PhD is an advanced supervised piece of individual research. There are no lectures, no modules and no coursework. You will be assessed by your original contribution to knowledge through the submission of a thesis and defence at viva. 

USW's Treforest Campus

Funding your PhD

Fees vary depending on which research degree you choose but are around £4,327 for (full-time home) and £13,900 (full-time international). Please check our PhD tuition fees page for more details.

Full and part time PhD students can apply for a postgraduate loan of up to £25,700 to help with your course fees and living costs. More information is available on the Student Finance Wales and Student Finance England websites.

Funded PhDs, including those offered through the KESS2 Scheme, are available on a competitive basis and are published here and @USWResearch.

PhD entry requirements

You can apply for a postgraduate research degree at three points within the year: May for October start; October for a January start; January for an April start.

Applicants will normally be expected to have a UK 2:1 honours degree or above, or a UK Masters qualification (or comparable international a qualification of comparable standard, if outside the UK) in a relevant subject.

PhD application process

As part of your PhD application you will need to write a research proposal. Your research proposal should provide a clear understanding of the research that is to be undertaken and the context in which it sits.

You will also have an interview. The interview is a key part of your postgraduate research application, and your chance to meet your prospective supervisors, discuss your research proposal and show what you can bring to the team.

What's it like to be a PhD student?


Feel free to contact us on [email protected]

Computing, Engineering and Science: Llinos Spargo 
Email: [email protected]
Tel: 01443 483568

Business, Humanities and Social Sciences: Alison Crudgington 
Email: [email protected]
Tel: 01443 654269

Creative Industries and Life Sciences / Education: Jane MacCuish
Email: [email protected]
Tel: 01443 482788