Prepare for doctoral research

As a master’s graduate, you’ll be well placed to put in a strong application for a PhD or doctoral research programme.

Research opportunities

The research opportunities here are ideal if you want an academic career that makes an impact on real lives.

Our research environment has produced some of the biggest innovations of the past 100 years, from the first stored-program computer to the wonder material graphene.

During your master's, you can draw on advice from experienced academics to help you assess your suitability for research and determine your research topic. Our Careers Service can help you navigate your way through deciding whether a research programme is the right path for you, how to find funding and how to make an application.

What do I need?

If you wish to progress to postgraduate research, a master’s is normally required for entry to a research programme. 

Take care in choosing your master’s course as some research programmes need a recognised research master’s for entry. A master’s with a significant research project or dissertation will give you the chance to demonstrate your ability and to see if research is for you. 

During your master’s, look for opportunities to: 

  • Develop your critical analytical skills and ability to communicate your ideas, both in writing and in presentations.
  • Engage with academics to discuss your research ideas.
  • Gain specialist research, data and technical skills, whether part of your course or additional skills for your project or dissertation – and learn how to discuss when, where and how to use them effectively.
  • Observe and learn from current researchers and ask them about their experiences. 

Planning your applications 

Many research programmes have application deadlines in December or January. You may be applying for an advertised project or your own research topic with an academic. Think about whether you will be ready to do this at the start of your master’s or whether you might prefer to plan for a gap between your master’s and research programme.