How to apply

Self-funded or externally-funded prospective students can apply for a place of study at any time throughout the year, with decisions being based on the experience and potential of the applicant and the fit of the research proposal to the School's strategic priorities.

To be considered for one of our funded research project, please follow the How to Apply guidance within the project advert.

Completing the application form

You can apply for a postgraduate research programme by completing the online application form.

Supporting documents

You will need to supply various documents to support your application. These include:

  • a research proposal (at Question 9, under ‘Background Information', please enter the full project title and reference number (if applicable). Please also provide at least 250 words (for civil engineering areas we need a title and 6-7 sentences) about your proposed area of research, the topic is normally provided by the applicant. Applications will not be considered until we have received this information from you, (unless stated otherwise in any current advertising we have for specific individual projects where the relevant project title and reference is required instead).
  • a copy of your degree certificate and relevant transcripts
  • proof of your ability in the English language (if English is not your mother tongue or if you have not already studied for a degree that was taught in English). Please refer to the English Language Requirements for further information. 
  • a reference from an academic source (applicants with relevant full time work experience may use their current employer as one of the referees - applications will not be considered until we have received referee reports. You will need to complete the Referee Report Form. Please enter your full name and the research proposal title (as above), then forward to you referees for completion and return.
  • Passport - please do not upload this with your initial application. This will only be requested if an offer is made.
  • Financial guarantee - please do not upload personal bank statements with your initial application. For some students, a financial guarantee is required to prove how your tuition fees and personal maintenance costs will be met. This will be requested when an offer is made and is only required if you are one of the following:
    • an international student applying to study on campus who is not entering the UK on a Student Visa
    • an international student who is being sponsored by your government or a commercial organisation.

You can attach all your supporting documents to your online application form using the document upload facility. We will accept scanned documents at the application stage, but you may be asked to provide original copies of your documents at a later date.

Please quote the title reference number and your application reference number, once allocated, in all correspondence.

We look forward to welcoming you to the School, to Heriot-Watt University and to Scotland.