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    PhD work centres on research leading to a dissertation. With the support of personal supervisors, you undertake research training and carry out personal research on a topic of special interest.

    We have an extensive portfolio of funded research projects and internationally recognised researchers. There are over 80 research students working with staff within nine research centres. The atmosphere is exciting, diverse, creative and welcoming.

    The ESRC South West Doctoral Training Centre

    The Universities of Bristol, Exeter and Bath have created the South West Doctoral Training Centre (SWDTC) which draws together the established research excellence of more than 750 academic and research staff at the three institutions.

    The Graduate School of Education's MSc Educational Research programme is one of the research training pathways that make up the SWDTC. This programme is the basis for the extensive research training programme that all Mphil/PhD candidates undertake.

    Other support includes access to a large number of seminars often featuring national and international visitors, research student seminars, and access to specialist methodological support.


    Research in the School is organised around three inter-related thematic groups that contribute to our overall vision of 'Researching Learning: Transforming Lives':

    * Learning Inquiry draws creatively on insights from socio-cultural theory, cognitive psychology, neuroscience, linguistics, philosophy and other approaches to understand how learning occurs and how best to facilitate the improvement of learning through processes of pedagogical and technological innovation.
    * Learning Lives is centrally concerned with people, on the role of learning across the life span both in formal and informal settings, and on the working lives of educators. It adopts a critical and collaborative approach to researching teacher and student, as well as family, community and organisational development.
    * Learning Societies focuses on the wider social contexts at a number of scales from the local to the global that shape, and are shaped by, education policy and practice. Topics explored under this theme include education and development, educational governance, and the quality of education, evaluation and assessment.

    As a doctoral student you will join one of these groups and work with staff and students who have similar research interests.

    UK requirements for international applications

    Universities in the United Kingdom use a centralized system of undergraduate application: University and College Admissions Service (UCAS). It is used by both domestic and international students. Students have to register on the UCAS website before applying to the university. They will find all the necessary information about the application process on this website. Some graduate courses also require registration on this website, but in most cases students have to apply directly to the university. Some universities also accept undergraduate application through Common App (the information about it could be found on universities' websites).

    Both undergraduate and graduate students may receive three types of responses from the university. The first one, “unconditional offer” means that you already reached all requirements and may be admitted to the university. The second one, “conditional offer” makes your admission possible if you fulfill some criteria – for example, have good grades on final exams. The third one, “unsuccessful application” means that you, unfortunately, could not be admitted to the university of you choice.

    All universities require personal statement, which should include the reasons to study in the UK and the information about personal and professional goals of the student and a transcript, which includes grades received in high school or in the previous university.

    University requirements

    Undergraduate applicants may use UCAS system or Common App (for all courses except medicine, dentistry and veterinary sciences). International students may find country-specific admission criteria on the website. For instant, student from Russia with a Certificate of secondary education may be admitted to the Univeristy of Bristol only after foundation/bridging program, while those with International Baccalaureate/A-level degree may apply directly to undergraduate programs.

    Graduate students have to use university's website for application. All documents should be uploaded on this website and the admission decision will also be provided on the website.

    International students should provide English test results in order to apply to both undergraduate and graduate programs. University of Bristol accept various tests, including IELTS, TOEFL, CAE/CPE and some others. Language requirements may depend on the type of program: they are typically higher for Art&Humanities and lower for Science programs. For instance, the highest IELTS score required (profile A) for undergraduate and graduate programs is 7.5 (7.0 in each section).

    Program requirements


    An upper-second-class honours degree (or equivalent) and a pass at MSc/MA level.

    English Language Requirements

    IELTS band: 6.5

    IMPORTANT NOTE: Since April 2014 the ETS tests (including TOEFL and TOEIC) are no longer accepted for Tier 4 visa applications to the United Kingdom. The university might still accept these tests to admit you to the university, but if you require a Tier 4 visa to enter the UK and begin your degree programme, these tests will not be sufficient to obtain your Visa.

    The IELTS test is most widely accepted by universities and is also accepted for Tier 4 visas to the UK- learn more.

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