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Apply Now – Bath Spa University

Apply for a research degree

Ready to join us on your research journey? Here's how to submit an application.

We offer two enrolment dates per year, on 1 March and 1 October.

The exceptions to this are the PhD Creative Writing, which only has one intake per year on 1 October, and the EdD Professional Doctorate in Education, which has a new intake every two years, with the next intake in October 2025.

Please ensure you read the entry requirements carefully before submitting your application to ensure you've included all the necessary documents. Not including all the required documents will delay our ability to process your application.

Application deadlines

Entry requirements

To apply, you’ll usually hold at minimum a first or upper second-class honours degree from a UK Higher Education Institution, or its equivalent. If you don’t have a relevant Master's degree, you’ll normally be required to undertake formal research training as part of your studies. 

You’ll also need to supply the following documents with your application.

Research proposal

Your research proposal must be submitted using the Bath Spa University Research Proposal Form, linked below. 

The research proposal form helps you to focus your research into a specific area or direction. It may ask you questions such as: 

  • What's your research question? 
  • What has/hasn't been written on the subject and why? How does your research fit into this? 
  • What’s your proposed methodology? What will your research methods be? What resources may be required? 

This, along with a discussion with a potential research supervisor, will help you to decide what path your research degree may take, and help you plan for success with your application.  

Degree certificates

We do need copies of any of your previous degree certificates, such as:

  • BA
  • MA
  • MSc

We don't need to see documents relating to GCSEs, A-levels, Higher, or Advanced Higher.


We need transcripts of your results, which have been officially issued from the awarding body.

Writing sample

Please include a sample of your writing (for example, this may be your MA dissertation, or any other relevant coursework).

Academic references

You'll need to secure 2 academic references, dated within the last 6 months

It’s your responsibility to contact your referees directly to request references from them. Please download the Reference Request template and forward this onto your referees for them to use as a guide.

Academic references need to meet the following criteria: 

  • Referees must be able to comment on your academic ability and suitability for your proposed research project (i.e. Directors of Study, Module Tutors, Course Tutors, Personal Tutors, Manuscript Tutors, Programme Directors). 
  • References should be provided on institutional headed paper, or come directly from an academic email address, i.e. those ending with ''.  
  • Referees should ideally send their references directly to you, for you to upload later with your application documents. Referees can, however, send their references directly to if they wish. 
Evidence of funding (if applicable)

If you’re in receipt of funding for your proposed study, for example a scholarship award, please be prepared to provide evidence if requested.

International requirements

Right to study documents

If you’re an international student, we’ll also need you to submit copies of your passport and any visas you already hold prior to your application. 

English Language qualification

If you're applying from a country not defined as 'Majority English-speaking', you’ll also need to provide an English language qualification, i.e. IELTS certificate, obtained in a test taken no more than two years prior to the point of application. 

Please note that the minimum required for acceptance is an overall score of 6.5 with no lower than 5.5 in any one area. Required scores will vary by course, and will often be higher. 

In Creative Writing, the expectation is that candidates will achieve no lower than 7.0 overall and 6.0 in any one area. For creative practice degrees, this is lowered to no lower than 6.0 overall, and 5.5 in any one area. 

It’s your responsibility CAS letters (if you’ve previously studied in the UK) to ensure compliance with these criteria before applying. 

CAS letters (if you’ve previously studied in the UK)

International applicants who have previously studied in the UK will be asked to produce any prior CAS letters upon applying.


Once all your documentation has been submitted, it’ll be assessed by the relevant academics who will then decide on whether you’ll be invited to interview.

Please note that interviews won’t be granted if any documentation is still left outstanding. If you have any queries about this part of the process, please contact

Do you need to secure a supervisor?

If you’re applying for a student-led research degree, such as a PhD or MPhil in your chosen topic, you’ll need to make sure that we can supervise your research before submitting your application. You don't need a supervisor if you apply for one of our University-led programmes, as these are defined and supported by us.

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