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1. Is a PhD at the University of Reading right for you?

Before applying for our PhD programme, please read our What to expect during your PhD guide.

2. Check our entry requirements

To be accepted on our PhD programme, prior specific knowledge of the research field is not required. However, we do expect you to have either a 1st or upper 2nd class degree, or a master's with Distinction or Merit, in physics, mathematics, or a closely related physical or environmental science.

If you are from outside of the UK, an equivalent level of first or master's degree is required. You will also need to demonstrate you have a certain level of proficiency with written and spoken English.

For more information on entry requirements, visit our Doctoral and Researcher College website.

3. Select a topic

There are different routes for selecting a PhD research topic:

  • PhD projects covering specific research topics can be found on our PhD opportunities page.

    Many of these opportunities have funding associated with them to cover tuition fees and living expenses (note that there are often eligibility criteria for this funding) – please see individual projects for more details.

  • If you have a clear idea about a research project of your choice, you should first determine whether the project is suitable for study at PhD level. The project must also be feasible within the resources and time frame available to you. It should address a perceived 'gap' in the literature and, most importantly, be of interest to you. You can receive feedback by contacting the department.

4. Identify a Supervisor

Specific research topics come with their own supervisory team, so there is often no need to identify a supervisor yourself. If you wish to propose your own research topic however, please contact the Department's PhD Admissions Tutor by emailing Keri Nicoll, and we will identify a suitable supervisor for you.

You could also get in touch with the potential supervisor if you have someone specific in mind, but this should be in addition to contacting the PhD Admissions Tutor.

It is not essential to communicate directly with the Department before submitting your application, but many candidates find it helpful.

5. Make an application

Apply for the PhD in Atmosphere, Oceans and Climate or the PhD in Space Weather and Solar-terrestrial Physics by using the PhD and professional doctorate online application programme.

This allows you to complete the necessary information and attach copies of relevant documents, including a CV, BSc and, where appropriate, master's transcripts, and the details of two appropriate referees. Although you will be working with a specific department or supervisor, all PhD applications have to be made centrally.

We will acknowledge your application and then pass it on to the appropriate school or department.

Although most new students join the PhD programme in September, it is possible to start your studies at any point during the academic year.