Postgraduate research: before you apply

Post graduate research: before you apply

What do you need to apply? 

Before you apply for a postgraduate research degree you will need to make sure that you can provide all of the following documents:

  • Copies of your highest-level academic certificates and transcripts (Bachelor and above). If your certificates are translated into English, we also need copies of the original untranslated versions. You should where possible scan your certificate and transcript into one document and upload it to the qualification record
  • Curriculum Vitae / Resumé
  • Research Proposal
  • 2 academic / professional references from individuals that have recently been responsible for supervising you
  • Scanned valid passport photo page
  • Evidence of English language ability (if applicable)

For further details about these documents, and other elements of the application form please see the Online Application Guidance in the last section of this page.

Application steps 

There are three entry routes for undertaking a postgraduate research degree at LSTM. You can apply as:

  • A candidate with a self-proposed project i.e. applying with your own research topic/idea or area of interest
  • A candidate for an advertised studentship e.g. MRC DTP/CASE
  • A member of LSTM staff to undertake a ‘traditional’ postgraduate research degree or a PhD by Prior Publication

Generally, the steps to apply are:

1) Check that you meet, or are expecting to meet, the entrance requirements

2) Decide which postgraduate research degree programme you want to apply to:

  • PhD studies are undertaken over a period of between two and four years (full-time) or four and six years (part-time).
  • MPhil studies are undertaken over a period of between one and two years (full-time), or two and four years (part-time).
  • MD studies are undertaken over a period of between two and four years (full-time) or four and six years (part-time).

3) Draft a Research Proposal 

4) Identify and contact prospective supervisor(s)  whose area of expertise meets your research interest

5) Identify how your research degree will be funded 

6) Start and submit a complete online application using MyLSTM 

7) Once your application and supporting documentation have been received and checked your application will be marked as ‘Checked’ ready for the next stage of the process, Supervisory Approval. Your proposed supervisor will be provided with your application pack, a Supervisor Approval Form to complete as well as an Interview Form and Guidance, and if you intend to be based off-site, an Off-site Agreement.

8) Your proposed supervisor will make contact with you to arrange an interview at a mutually agreeable time. They will be joined by another independent panel member, usually another member of academic staff at LSTM and in most cases will be conducted remotely. The interview has been designed to determine whether the candidate is suitably prepared for postgraduate research. You should be ready to answer questions about your previous experience, your motivations and how you deal with challenges. The interview will also assist the panel in identifying any development needs you may have and allow for support to be put in place.

9) On receipt of the completed application and supervisory documentation the Director of PGR will conduct a review. The final decision on all postgraduate research applications lies with the DPGR who will thoroughly evaluate the proposal and may suggest additional supervisory support with specific knowledge, training needs or an amendment to the mode of study.

10) If your application is successful following review then you will receive either a Conditional Offer letter, where we ask for further documentation to complete your admission such as proof of funding, or a Confirmation of Place letter if nothing further is required.

11) LSTM aims to provide a decision on all complete research degree applications within 12 weeks.

Research Proposal 

Unless you are applying for a pre-defined project listed on LSTM’s PhD Opportunities page, applicants are expected to submit a detailed research proposal with their application. Please follow a standard format and structure in the following way:

  • Project Title
  • Abstract
  • Research Context
  • Specific Research Question(s)
  • Research Methods
  • Approximate research costs and planned funding source
  • Bibliography

Usually this will be around 2500-3000 words.

You should consider that the research proposal you submit with your application may evolve during discussions with your proposed supervisory team and throughout your studies if accepted. The main purpose of the proposal is to demonstrate that you have the necessary critical thinking skills, an understanding of the relevant research area and an appreciation of the demands of a research degree.

Identifying a Supervisor 

Where to look?

You will find research profiles for all of our research active staff at LSTM on the People pages of our website. Using the search function you will be able to search for key words related to your proposed research topic. This will then indicate which staff share your interest and you can contact them directly to begin to build a relationship.

If you have tried but are unable to find or make contact with a potential LSTM supervisor the PGR Administrative Team will be happy to advise and share your application within the relevant department to which the project is aligned, so it can reviewed by any interested academic research staff.

Tips on making first contact

If you have managed to identify a potential supervisor, we recommend that you contact them directly by email in the first instance to discuss your proposed research and to establish whether they have the capacity to take on a new research student; if not, they may be able to recommend alternative staff at the School.

As supervisors receive many email enquiries from prospective applicants it is essential that you keep your email concise with a clear outline of your proposed topic, yourself and your research interest and how it aligns with their own expertise. They may also wish to see a copy of your CV at this point and might request details of how you intend to fund your studies. Make sure you address them using their correct title and if you are copying and pasting from one email to another, check you have changed all the relevant information to match who you are writing to.

Many of our academic staff are very busy and are often operating outside of the UK and with limited access to emails/internet. Please be patient whilst awaiting a response and please avoid contacting several people at the same time, as this may cause confusion or mixed responses.

Online Application Guidance (Research Degrees)

If you have not previously applied for an LSTM programme or registered for MyLSTM you will first need to register. Once your registration is complete, please login and select the tab ‘Click here to start a new application’.

From the section ‘Choose your programme/course’, select ‘Research Programme’ from the drop-down menu. Select the ‘Apply’ button to the right of the screen.

  1. Welcome
    Please indicate how you heard about this programme / course
  2. Personal Details
    Please give your name exactly in the format that it appears in your passport. If you have ever held any previous names, please also indicate this. You should also complete all fields related to contact details, country of birth, and nationality. You will be required to upload a scanned copy of a current, valid passport, or alternative identification.
  3.  Address Details
    Although most of our correspondence with you will be via email, we may, on occasion, be required to send something via post. Please provide details of your permanent home address, which is the address where you usually live. If you prefer correspondence to be sent to a different address, then please also complete the Correspondence Address section. If your correspondence address changes, please contact us immediately.
  4. Study & Research
    In this section you should list the academic staff at LSTM with whom you have been actively in contact with regards to your proposed research. If you have not been in communication with a potential supervisor then you should choose ‘no’.

You must then indicate where your intended study is to take place. Will you be conducting your main research in Liverpool at LSTM (On-site)? Will you be studying at a collaborating Institution or independently away from the LSTM campus (Off-site)? If your research will involve you spending the majority of your study off-site but you intend to spend more than 12 months in total during your registration period at LSTM then this would be considered ‘Split-site’.

Please choose your preferred award title from the drop-down list. If you are unsure you should discuss this with your supervisor.

5. Academic Qualifications

Please provide full details of any relevant academic qualifications that you hold and upload both award certificate and transcript. If you do not have a transcript, you should request this from the awarding institution.

6. Professional Qualifications
Completion of this section is not mandatory for the purpose of admission, however, please feel free to provide details of any relevant professional or other qualifications that you hold and, where applicable, upload copies of your award certificates and/or transcripts.

7. Experience/Employment
Please attach your CV to this section. You can also use the provided fields to expand upon any relevant employment experience you wish to highlight.

8. English Language
In order to ensure that candidates are equipped with the skills to successfully pursue your studies and to enable you to participate in all aspects of academic life, you must meet LSTM’s minimum English language entry requirements Please provide relevant evidence where required.

 9. Personal Statement

This section gives you the opportunity to explain broadly:

  • Why have you chosen this programme?
  • Why do you want to study at LSTM?
  • What do you hope to gain from your studies?
  • How does this application fit with your career plans?
  • What skills and/or experience would you bring to the PhD community?
  • What long-term benefits do you envisage?

You are able to upload a personal statement to this section rather than completing the provided fields, and it is preferred that you use the upload facility.  If you upload a personal statement, you must ensure that your statement provides responses to each of the questions within this section.

10. Fees & Funding
Please indicate how you intend to fund your studies. You should refer to the Fees and Funding pages to assist with completion of this section. If your application is successful you will normally be asked to provide evidence of funding. Further guidance on this will be provided at a later date so there is no need to enclose any documents at this stage.

11. References
Please provide the names and contact details of 2 suitable referees who have indicated that they are willing to be approached to provide a reference for you. Please ensure that you select ‘Add Another Referee’ in order to add details of a second referee before submitting your application.

Referees should be senior academic and/or professional persons who are currently or have recently been responsible for supervising you and must also have an institutional email address (i.e. not Gmail, Hotmail etc). Friends and family are not acceptable. If you upload details of a referee with a non-institutional email address, this will not be considered.

12. Visa and Immigration
Please select the relevant option from the drop-down menu when/if presented.

13. Equal Opportunities
Please complete as fully as possible.

Your data will not be disclosed for other purposes outside of LSTM's Student Data Privacy Statement

14. Declaration
You can save and return to your application if you do not intend to complete it in one sitting.

If you feel that you have completed all mandatory fields of the application, and attached all required documentation and are happy for your application to be reviewed you should see a button in the bottom right corner of the screen that invites you to ‘SUBMIT’.

Please ensure that you have attached all required documentation to your application before you submit as you will be unable to review attachments after submission.

Until you have selected ‘Submit’ your application will remain in ‘Draft’ format and will not be reviewed.