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How to Apply for a PhD

A guide to submitting your application for a PhD degree.

Applications are now open for September 2023 entry. The PhD application process involves submitting your completed application form with all of the relevant supporting documents by 30 June 2023.

PhD application process

1. Check the entry requirements

Before starting PhD application process, check that you meet the entry requirements for academic qualifications and English language.

Your application can also be considered more quickly if you nominate a potential supervisor.

2. Gather your supporting documents.

You will need to submit the following documents with your application form.

Your proposal needs to include the following:

  • Title
  • An overview of the research (approx. 300 words)

You should state why your research is important, how it will make an original contribution to the literature and how it fits with the research priorities of Alliance MBS.

  • Positioning of the research (approx. 1500 words)

This should reference the most important texts related to the research, demonstrate your understanding of the research issues, and identify existing gaps (both theoretical and practical) that the research is intended to address. You should clearly articulate your research questions, why these are significant and how they make an original contribution to the literature.

  • Research design and methodology (approx. 1200 words):

You will need to provide details of your proposed research methodology, giving consideration to any data requirements, fieldwork, access issues, etc. for any empirical work.

  • References

It is important to reference the content of your work appropriately.

  • Proposed timetable of study

You will need to provide a timetable illustrating how you anticipate undertaking your research, leading to the submission of your thesis.

  • Statement of Motivation

Your statement should present the reasons for applying to the Alliance MBS PhD Programme. You should explain how your background, experience and training qualify you for the rigours of the programme.


You need to submit certificates and final grade transcripts of all previous degrees (translated into English). If you are currently undertaking a degree programme, an up-to-date interim transcript will be enough at this stage.

We accept IELTS, TOEFL or Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE). Test results must be less than 2 years old and valid at the point of entry. Read more about English language requirements >>

We prefer these to be from academic tutors who have taught you on your most recent degree. They must follow the instructions contained in the email they receive once you have submitted your online application, and complete the Referee Form provided. If they wish to provide an additional reference letter, this must be currently dated, provided on the relevant institutional letterhead paper, and carry the referee's signature.

3. Apply online

Complete and submit the online application for your chosen PhD programme pathway >>

Remember to upload your supporting documents to your online application.

4. Application acknowledgement

You will receive an email acknowledgement from The University of Manchester advising you of your ID number. You will need to quote this ID number in all correspondence.

5. Doctoral Admissions Team

Your application will be forwarded to the Doctoral Admissions team at Alliance MBS and you will receive notification of what happens next. You will also be provided with the name of the person who is processing your application. You should always contact this person directly in future correspondence, remembering to quote your ID number.

6. Decision

We aim to reach a decision within 4 weeks of receiving your application. At busy times, this can take longer, but we make every effort to keep you informed of your application's progress and reach a decision as soon as we can.

Track the progress of your application >>

For help with your application, contact:

+44 (0)161 275 1200

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