A Ph.D. in the UK is a research degree and the highest award available at universities in the UK. The Ph.D. duration in the UK is typically three years full-time and six years part-time and is conducted under the assigned supervisor. The Ph.D. fees in the UK for international students range between 18,000 GBP to 35,000 GBP per annum at top universities which is equivalent to 17 lakhs - 34 lakhs INR per year for Indian students. Several financial aid options are available for international students in need of financial assistance such as studentships, scholarships, grants by UK Research and Innovation, and more.

Ph.D. in UK universities is structured around a substantial research project chosen by the applicant in any relevant field of study. Students are involved in the study based around a substantial research project on an area of academic interest and should submit a thesis of typically up to 100,000 words in length. This must be then defended in an oral examination in front of a panel of experts. 

The basic Ph.D. in the UK requirement is a master's degree with a minimum of 70% score. Students having a 4-year bachelor's (honors) degree are also eligible to apply for a Ph.D. program in the UK. Around 87% of Ph.D. graduates in the UK start working after graduation and earn an average pay of 42,219 GBP (41 lakhs INR) per annum.

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Top Universities for Ph.D. in the UK

Ph.D. in UK universities is offered as a 3 to 4 year full-time and 6 years part-time degree to students from all over the world. 4 universities in the UK rank among the top 10 universities across the world that attracts a lot of international students to pursue their Ph.D. in the UK. Listed below are the top 10 universities for a Ph.D. in the UK for international students ranked as per the QS World Ranking of 2021:

  1. University of Oxford
  2. University of Cambridge
  3. Imperial College London
  4. University College London
  5. University of Edinburgh
  6. University of Manchester
  7. King’s College London
  8. London School of Economics and Political Science
  9. University of Bristol
  10. University of Warwick

University of Oxford

The University of Oxford is one of the oldest universities in the world and is one of the top preferred universities for international students for a Ph.D. in the UK. It is ranked #5 in the world by the QS World Ranking of 2021. With an international student population of about 40% representing 140 countries, the University of Oxford represents a diverse and vibrant student community globally. Listed below are a few Ph.D. programs available at the University of Oxford along with their fee details:

  • Doctor of Philosophy [Ph.D.] in Computer Science: $33,000
  • Doctor of Philosophy [Ph.D.] in Finance: $26,200
  • Doctor of Philosophy [Ph.D.] in Management: $26,200
  • Doctor of Philosophy [Ph.D.] in Law: $27,500
  • Doctor of Philosophy [Ph.D.] in Medical Sciences: $33,000

University of Cambridge

The University of Cambridge is the fourth oldest university in the world and is a coalition of 31 autonomous colleges, six schools, and several faculties and departments. It is ranked #7 in the world by the QS World Ranking of 2021. The student community has international students coming from 147 countries around the world. Listed below are a few Ph.D. programs available at the University of Cambridge along with their fee details:

  • Doctor of Philosophy [Ph.D.] in Biotechnology: $37,900
  • Doctor of Philosophy [Ph.D.] in Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics: $30,173
  • Doctor of Medicine [M.D] in Medicine: $10,565
  • Doctor of Philosophy [Ph.D.] in Engineering: $37,900
  • Doctor of Philosophy [Ph.D.] in Law: $30,173

Imperial College London

Imperial College London is best known for courses related to the fields of science, engineering, medicine, and business. It is ranked #1 in London for imparting the best quality education to students from all over the world. It is also ranked #8 in the world by the QS World Ranking of 2021. Listed below are a few Ph.D. programs available at Imperial College London:

  • Doctor of Philosophy [Ph.D.]
  • Doctor of Philosophy [Ph.D.] EngD Studentship in Water Engineering

University College London

University College London is a public research institute internationally known for its disruptive thinking. It is ranked #10 in the world by the QS World Ranking of 2021. It is the first university in England to welcome students from diverse cultural backgrounds and promote women's education. Listed below are a few Ph.D. programs available at University College London along with their fee details:

  • Doctor of Philosophy [Ph.D.] in Biosciences - BBSRC London Interdisciplinary Biosciences: $30,488
  • Doctor of Philosophy [Ph.D.] in British Heart Foundation Cardiovascular Biomedicine: $30,240

University of Edinburgh

The University of Edinburgh is amongst the oldest universities in the UK and recognized in the top 50 universities in the world with a graduate employability ranking of #34. It is ranked #20 in the world by the QS World Ranking of 2021. Listed below are a few Ph.D. programs available at the University of Edinburgh along with their fee details:

  • Doctor of Philosophy [Ph.D.] in Cardiovascular Science: $34,580
  • Doctor of Philosophy [Ph.D.] in Dentistry: $51,987
  • Doctor of Philosophy [Ph.D.] in Management: $27,284
  • Doctor of Philosophy [Ph.D.] in Neuroscience: $31,863
  • Doctor of Philosophy [Ph.D.] in Nuclear Physics: $31,863

University of Manchester

The University of Manchester is the biggest single-site university in the UK offering 1000+ degree courses at UG and PG levels. Some of the popular programs are offered in the fields of computer science, business administration, finance, and biochemistry. It is ranked #27 in the world by the QS World Ranking of 2021. Listed below are a few Ph.D. programs available at the University of Manchester along with their fee details:

  • Doctor of Philosophy [Ph.D.] in Computer Science: $31,065
  • Doctor of Philosophy [Ph.D.] in Nuclear Physics: $32,895
  • Doctor of Philosophy [Ph.D.] in Nursing: $23,865
  • Doctor of Philosophy [Ph.D.] in Biochemistry: $52,540

King’s College London

King’s College London is the 4th oldest university in the UK that has a high reputation for world-class teaching and research. Around 84% of the research work has been recognized as internationally exceptional. It is ranked #31 in the world by the QS World Ranking of 2021.

Listed below are a few Ph.D. programs available at King’s College London along with their fee details:

  • Doctor of Philosophy [Ph.D.] in Computer Science: $33,752
  • Doctor of Philosophy [Ph.D.] in Physics: $32,432
  • Doctor of Philosophy [Ph.D.] in Robotics: $32,432
  • Doctor of Philosophy [Ph.D.] in International Relations: $27,482
  • Doctor of Philosophy [Ph.D.] in Law: $24,736

London School of Economics and Political Science

London School of Economics and Political Science is a public research institution in England that is a member of the Federal University of London. It is ranked #49 in the world by the QS World Ranking of 2021. Listed below are a few Ph.D. programs available at the London School of Economics and Political Science:

  • Ph.D. in Economic Geography
  • Ph.D. in Environmental Economics
  • Ph.D. in Environmental Policy and Development
  • Ph.D. in Human Geography and Urban Studies
  • Ph.D. in Regional and Urban Planning Studies 

University of Bristol

The University of Bristol is the first higher education institution in England to admit women on an equal basis to men and is one of the highly ranked institutes in the UK. It is ranked #58 in the world by the QS World Ranking of 2021. The University of Bristol attracts an average of eight top-quality applicants for every place during application and is among the most sought-after university by employers all over the world. Listed below are a few Ph.D. programs available at the University of Bristol along with their fee details:

  • Doctor of Philosophy [Ph.D.] in Accounting and Finance: $21,664
  • Doctor of Philosophy [Ph.D.] in Aerospace Engineering: $27,491
  • Doctor of Philosophy [Ph.D.] in Cellular and Molecular Medicine: $27,491
  • Doctor of Philosophy [Ph.D.] in Computer Science: $27,491
  • Doctor of Philosophy [Ph.D.] in Economics: $21,664

University of Warwick

The University of Warwick is the 1st most targeted institution by recruiters offering undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral degrees across 3 faculties of Arts, Science, Engineering & Medicine, and Social Sciences. It is one of the top UK universities with an acknowledged reputation for excellence and the highest standard in research & teaching. It is ranked #62 in the world by the QS World Ranking of 2021. Listed below are a few Ph.D. programs available at the University of Warwick:

  • Doctor of Philosophy [Ph.D.] in Business Administration: $35,640
  • Doctor of Philosophy [Ph.D.] in Life Sciences
  • Doctor of Philosophy [Ph.D.] in Employment Research

A Ph.D. degree also referred to as DPhil (Doctor of Philosophy) is offered at several top-ranking universities in the UK. These universities have modern infrastructure and world-class amenities to aid the research of Ph.D. students. Students are allowed to choose the Ph.D. program that best suits their skills and interests. Find below the popular Ph.D. courses in the UK for international students.

Computer Science Mathematics
Medical Science Physics and Astronomy
Engineering Informatics
Sociology Clinical Neuroscience
Law Physiology

Entry Requirements for Ph.D. in the UK for Indian Students

Ph.D. in UK universities is open to any student who has successfully completed an undergraduate degree with at least upper second-class honors, as well as a master’s degree. International students are also required to prove English language proficiency with a minimum IELTS score of 7.0. Other entry requirements for Ph.D. in the UK for Indian students are listed below:

  • All students applying for a Ph.D. in the UK are required to submit a research proposal that should include details about the research they wish to undertake, how they will do it, and why it is important
  • The research proposal should be accepted by a panel of experts before the beginning of the Ph.D. in the UK
  • The applicant should have a 4-year bachelors (Hons) degree or a degree that is equivalent to a master’s in the UK 
  • A minimum score of 70% in the bachelor’s and master’s degree program
  • Proof of English language proficiency with a minimum score of 7.0 in IELTS, 90 in TOEFL (iBT), and 60 in PTE Academic
  • Letters of reference
  • Statement of purpose, if applicable

Ph.D. Fees in the UK for International Students

A Ph.D. in the UK can be expensive for international students and can cost up to £6,000 per year or more. The total Ph.D. fees in the UK for international students include the tuition fees and the living costs for the duration of the course. Given below are the various fees to be paid by international students for a Ph.D. in the UK.

Tuition Fees for Indian Students Pursuing Ph.D. in the UK

Indian students are expected to pay anywhere between INR 17 lakhs - 34 lakhs per year towards the tuition fees for the respective Ph.D. course in the UK. King’s College London and the University of Warwick are some of the most affordable top-ranked universities in the UK offering Ph.D. programs with tuition fees below 19 lakhs INR per annum. The average tuition fees for Indian students pursuing various Ph.D. courses in the UK are as follows:

Ph.D. Courses in the UK Total Fees (per annum)
Ph.D. in Computer Science £22,200- £33,250
Ph.D. in Medical Science £24,000- £32,352
Ph.D. in Engineering £22,704- £32,352
Ph.D. in Sociology £19,338- £24,450
Ph.D. in Law £18,740- £25,758

Living Expenses in the UK for International Students

The average cost of living in the UK for international students including the accommodation and travel costs comes up to 15,000 GBP. The average weekly living costs for international students pursuing a Ph.D. in the UK are shown below:

  • Accommodation: £125 - £160
  • Food Expense: £10
  • Telephone Bill: £45
  • Household Items: £10
  • Books and Supplies: £10
  • Other Expenses: £45

How to Apply for a Ph.D. in the UK?

Students should first decide on the area of research and should figure out the funding sources for their study. International students are required to have a master’s degree or in some cases a 4-year bachelor's degree for admission to Ph.D. in the UK. There no common application portal for applying for a Ph.D. program in the UK. Students are required to submit their respective applications individually to their choice of university’s application portal. The steps to apply for a Ph.D. in the UK are listed below:

  • The applicant should first choose their Ph.D. research area and check the entry requirements for the choice of university
  • Based on the research topic or project, the student should find a supervisor
  • The applicant should then apply for the respective UK university by keeping in mind the application deadlines
  • He/ she should check for fees, funding, and support and apply for the same
  • Finally, after receiving the offer letter for admission for Ph.D. in the UK, the student should confirm his/her place at the respective university by accepting the offer.

Documents Required to Apply for a Ph.D. in the UK

International students need to attach certain documents along with the application as proof of details entered in the application form. Listed below are the documents needed to be submitted along with the application for a Ph.D. in the UK.

  • Official academic transcripts
  • Academic references
  • Personal statement
  • Research proposal
  • English language proficiency test scores
  • CV/ Resume


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