PhD Study in the UK – A Guide for 2023

PhD in UK
Study Abroad Expert August 29, 2023

PhD in UK, also known as a doctorate, spans 3-5 years full-time or 5-6 years part-time. Popular fields include Computer Science, Law, Business, and Sociology. Admission criteria typically demand a first-class or strong upper second-class undergrad degree, a master’s with 70% or above, IELTS 7.0+/TOEFL 100+, and a research proposal. Costs range from 20,000-50,000 GBP for tuition and 14,000 GBP/per year living expenses. About 87% of grads find work, earning 40,000-60,000 GBP annually. Shuraa Education guides you in pursuing a PhD Study abroad.

Exploring 2023 PhD: Opportunities in the UK

UK universities engage in research across various disciplines, with a growing focus on vital domains like AI, Machine Learning, Health Science, and Bioinformatics. Additionally, the UK Government has introduced initiatives like a three-year post-study work visa and extended PhD studentships for international researchers, fostering talent and collaboration. 

Consider studying PhD in UK this year for compelling reasons: 

  1. Rich History: UK universities boast a centuries-old legacy, fostering pivotal advancements in science, medicine, art, and philosophy since the 11th century.
  2. Global Esteem: A British PhD signifies expertise in cutting-edge research, earning worldwide recognition for its rigorous scholarship.
  3. Progressive Training: Structured doctoral programs equip candidates with comprehensive academic and professional development, catering to diverse career paths.
  4. Diverse Funding: The UK offers an array of funding options, including Research Councils’ studentships, government doctoral loans, and support for international applicants.
  5. Research Priorities: Additional funding is allocated for pioneering AI and related research, enhancing support for innovative projects.
  6. Post-Study Work Visa: The Graduate Route visa permits international PhD graduates (from summer 2021 onwards) to work or seek employment in the UK for up to three years.
  7. Cultural Riches: Explore renowned theatres, museums, heritage sites, and pubs during your PhD journey.

Shuraa Education facilitates your admission process for studying abroad.

Universities 164
Oldest University University of Oxford (1096)
International Students 550,000
PhD Length 3-4 years
Representative Fees £4-5,000 (domestic rate)
Academic Year September to June

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PhD in UK: Top Universities list

The top-tier education provided by leading UK universities is a magnet for international students. The 2023 QS Ranking highlights four UK universities among the global elite. The table below showcases prominent institutions providing studying PhD in UK for Indian students:

Universities Programs Annual Tuition Fees (GBP)
The University of Oxford Computer Science, Engineering Science, Law, Economics, Philosophy, Clinical Medicine, Astrophysics 25,000 – 30,000
The Imperial College London Fields encompassed are Chemical Engineering, Physics, Business, Brain Science, and Mechanical Engineering. 20,000 – 40,000
The University of Cambridge Included disciplines are Aerosol Science, Architecture, Archaeology, Biochemistry, Clinical Medicine, Economics, Law, Medical Science, Oncology, and Surgery. 25,000 – 55,000
The University of Manchester Subjects covered encompass Accounting and Finance, Criminology, Architecture, Law, Mathematics, Petroleum Engineering, and Sociology. 21,000
The University of Edinburgh Areas include Nursing Studies, Law, Engineering, Socio-cultural Studies, Economics, Accounting, and Finance. 24,800- 29,700

Advantages of Studying PhD in UK

  • UK universities exhibit a strong employability track record for PhD graduates, as 82% secure jobs or pursue further studies within six months of completing their degrees, as reported by the Higher Education Statistics Agency. 
  • The UK stands as home to some of the globe’s premier educational institutions, with numerous of these establishments earning prestigious rankings for their PhD programs. In the QS World University Rankings 2023, four UK universities claim positions within the top ten for graduate employability, while five secure spots in the top 20. 
  • The prospects following completion of studies in UK universities are abundant. Almost 87% of those holding a PhD promptly transition into the workforce, reaping an average annual salary ranging from £40,000 to £60,000 (equivalent to 40-60 Lakh INR). 


Exploring Different Types of UK PhD Programs for Indian Students

Studying PhD in UK opens various pathways for Indian students. UK universities present five primary categories of PhD programs, each tailored to specific needs and preferences: 

1. Standard PhD: A Common Choice

  • Duration: 3 to 4 years 
  • Format: Full-time on-campus program 
  • Structure: Divided into three phases 
  • In-Year 1 Collaborative planning with supervisors 
  • In-Years 2 & 3 Data collection and intensive research
  • In-Final Year Thesis composition and viva submission 


2. Integrated PhD: Blending Mastery and Research

  • Duration: Combination of a one-year master’s in research (MRes) and a 3-year PhD 
  • Offered by: Over 30 universities
  • Easily merges taught coursework with independent research 
  • Encourages learning diverse methodologies 
  • Aims to produce well-rounded scholars equipped for advanced research


3. Professional PhD: Nurturing Practical Expertise

  • Duration: Varied 
  • Emphasis: Vocational subjects like medicine, engineering, and education 
  • Designed for students seeking practical applications in their fields 
  • Focuses on real-world challenges and projects 
  • Leads to degrees such as Doctor of Business Administration, Doctor of Education, and Doctor of Engineering 


4. Distance Learning PhD: Balancing Commitments

  • Duration: 5 to 6 years 
  • Suitable for: Students with work or family obligations or specialized research needs 
  •  Enables remote learning while managing other responsibilities
  • Regular communication with supervisors through digital channels 
  • Requires periodic visits to the university (1 to 2 weeks annually) 


5. PhD by Publication: Recognizing Existing Contributions

  • Eligibility: Often limited to a university’s own alumni
  • Requirements:  
  • Submission of 5 to 8 published works 
  • Supporting statement of 5,000 to 20,000 words


The UK offers a diverse array of PhD program types, ensuring that Indian students can find an option that aligns with their academic and personal aspirations. 

Navigating the Path to Study PhD in UK PhD: Admission Essentials

Enrolling in a PhD program in the UK poses a formidable task due to the high influx of applications from global candidates. Admission prerequisites for Indian students aspiring to pursue a PhD in the UK may vary based on the university and department. However, they generally encompass academic qualifications, English language proficiency, professional background, personal statement, and recommendations. Here, we delve into the comprehensive admission criteria upheld by leading UK universities for their esteemed PhD programs. 

Eligibility Requirements to Study PhD in UK

Undertaking to Study PhD in UK entails adhering to specific prerequisites that vary based on the chosen university and research domain. While the requirements can differ, there are foundational criteria commonly expected from applicants: 

1. Academic Attainment

  • An undergraduate degree with honors in a related field is a typical prerequisite. 
  • Emphasis on achieving a first-class or strong upper-second-class classification.


2. Minimum GPA

  • Most institutions seek a minimum GPA 3.7 on a 4.0 scale. 


3. English Language Proficiency

  • IELTS score of 7.0 or higher. 
  • TOEFL score exceeding 100.


4. Statement of Purpose (SOP)

  • A 500-word personal statement is typically necessary.
  • Expound on the academic journey, professional background, motivations for program selection, and career aspirations.


5. Letters of Recommendation (LOR)

  • Applicants usually need to present 2-3 letters of recommendation. 
  • Letters from academic or professional sources illuminate the candidate’s potential.


6. Research Proposal

  • Submission of a 3000-word research proposal tailored to the chosen research domain is typically mandatory. 
  • Highlight the proposed research’s significance, methodology, and expected outcomes. 


Navigating these comprehensive admission criteria paves the way for Indian students to embark on a transformative PhD pursuit in the UK. 

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PhD in UK: Admission Requirements

The subsequent table outlines the universal prerequisites for enrolling in a PhD program at a UK university, encompassing academic requisites and supplementary document mandates: 

University Academic Requirement IELTS Score Additional Documents
The University of Oxford An exceptional first-class or a robust upper second-class undergraduate degree with honors in a pertinent field of study. 7.5 or above Statement of Purpose (up to 1,000 words), Three Academic Letters of Recommendation, Curriculum Vitae, and Academic Transcripts.
The Imperial College London Completion of a 4-year bachelor’s or master’s degree with a 70% grade may meet the entry requirements for Master’s or Research programs. 7.0 or above Statement of Purpose (SOP), At Least One Academic Letter of Recommendation (LOR), Curriculum Vitae (CV), and Academic Transcripts.
The University of Cambridge Possession of a Professional Bachelor’s degree (minimum four years) in a relevant field from a Highly Rated Institution, with an overall score of 75% or a CGPA of 8.0+. 7.0 or above  Statement of Purpose (SOP), At Least One Academic Letter of Recommendation (LOR), Curriculum Vitae (CV), Academic Transcripts, and a Research Proposal.
The University of Manchester Applicants holding a three-year degree, achieving First Class from a recognized university or holding a three-year degree with First Class and a subsequent master’s from esteemed universities, both with a minimum grade of 70%. 7.0 or above Statement of Purpose (SOP), Two Academic Letters of Recommendation (LOR), Curriculum Vitae (CV), Academic Transcripts, and a 3000-word Research Proposal.
The University of Edinburgh A master’s degree in a related or pertinent subject, along with a research proposal. 7.0 or above Statement of Purpose (SOP), Two Academic Letters of Recommendation (LOR), Resume, Academic Transcripts, and a Research Proposal.

PhD in UK: Cost of study

The United Kingdom stands as a highly coveted destination for international students. The expense of studying in the UK encompasses both living costs and tuition fees for PhD programs. This cost varies based on individual preferences and the university’s fee structure for a PhD in the UK. On average, studying in the UK costs between 30,000 GBP and 37,000 GBP (equivalent to 30-37 lakh INR).

Tuition Costs to Study PhD in UK

The duration of a UK PhD typically spans 3-5 years when pursued full-time, contingent upon the chosen University and field of study. The table below showcases the annual tuition fees associated with pursuing a PhD in UK universities:

Universities Total Tuition Fees (In GBP) Fee for Indian Students (In INR)
The University of Oxford 25,000 – 30,000 25-30 Lakh
The Imperial College London 20,000 – 40,000 20-40 Lakh
The University of Cambridge 25,000 – 55,000 25-55 Lakh
The University of Manchester 21,000 21 Lakh
The University of Edinburgh 24,800- 29,700 24-29 Lakh

Cost of Living in the UK

The living expenses in the UK cover accommodation, food, transportation, healthcare, personal needs, and more. On average, the cost of living in the UK amounts to approximately 14,000 GBP (equivalent to 14 lahks INR) per year.

Cost Category Average Annual Expense (In GBP) Cost for Indian Students (In INR)
Accommodation 7,200 7,20,000
Meals 2,400 2,40,000
Transportation 780 78,000
Utilities 2,220 2,22,000
Personal Expenses 1,500 1,50,000

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PhD in UK: Scholarships

Considering pursuing a PhD in the UK demands an awareness of potential financial strain. To alleviate this concern, UK universities extend a range of scholarships for international students. Presented below are notable scholarships available for those applying for a PhD program in the UK. 

Scholarship Conferred by (private/government/university) Qualification Criteria Scholarship Amount
Scott Trust Foundation Bursary The University of London Need Based A grant that includes complete tuition fees or a subsistence allowance of 5,000 GBP
Foundation Degree Scholarship The University of Westminster A family income of £25,000 or less as evaluated by the Student Loans Company. An annual contribution of 1,500 GBP for living expenses or covering tuition fees for up to a maximum of four years
International PGT Merit Scholarship The University of Leicester Merit-Based A qualification equivalent to a high upper second-class degree in the UK amounts to 3,000 GBP. Alternatively, a qualification equivalent to a UK first-class degree totals 5,000 GBP
University of Edinburgh The School Doctoral Scholarship Currently registered for a PhD program in history, classics, or archaeology. The tuition fee is the UK/EU rate and an annual stipend of 15,009
University of Manchester Research Impact PhD. Scholarship Enrolled in a PhD program within the Department of Humanities, working on a research project linked to philanthropic research themes. 19,500 annually for a span of 3 years, along with an additional 1,500 per year

Prospects for Employment After PhD in UK

A PhD graduate earns an average of 40,000 GBP- 60,000 GBP (30-60 Lakh INR) per year in the UK. Most of them go for academic jobs, especially in the teaching and education sector. According to Prospects UK, over 50% of graduates having PhD in UK universities are either education or science professionals working in the science and pharmaceutical industry. 

The following are several industries in the UK where PhD graduates could potentially discover job prospects, alongside the corresponding percentage of employed PhD graduates in each sector:  

  1. Higher Education: 37% 
  2. Business and Industry: 23% 
  3. Government: 16% 
  4. Non-profit Organizations: 10% 
  5. Self-Employed: 5% 
  6. Health and Social Care: 5% 
  7. Other Sectors: 4%


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Evaluating PhD Programs: UK & USA Perspectives

Parameter  PhD in UK  PhD in USA 
Duration 3-5 Years 4-6 Years
Average Annual tuition fees 20,000 GBP- 50,000 GBP (20-50 Lakh INR) 20,000 USD- 50,000 USD (16-41 Lakh INR)
Cost of living/Month 14,000 GBP (14 lakh INR) 1,800 USD (1.4 lakh INR)
Financial Support Scholarships, grants, bursaries Fellowships, assistantships, grants
Visa Student Route Visa F1 Student Visa
Average salary 40,000 GBP- 60,000 GBP (40-60 Lakh INR) 55,000 USD- 75,000 USD (45-61 Lakh INR)
English language proficiency tests IELTS: 7.0 or above TOEFL: 100+ IELTS: 7.0 or above TOEFL:110+

In conclusion, opting for a PhD program in the UK presents an exceptional opportunity for students seeking prestigious institutions, a diverse cultural milieu, substantial funding prospects, and a streamlined program timeline. The UK offers a rich landscape for research, leading to high employability rates for its PhD graduates.

Upon completing your PhD at UK university, doors open to advanced career positions in various fields, accompanied by an average annual salary of 40,000 GBP to 60,000 GBP (30-60 Lakh INR). Shuraa Education is dedicated to assisting you through any challenges you may encounter while pursuing your PhD in the UK. To learn more, connect with us via email at or by calling +91 9319998924. 


Q1. How much is the cost of a PhD in the UK?

The typical annual tuition fee for pursuing a PhD at leading UK universities falls between 20,000 GBP and 50,000 GBP (equivalent to 20-50 Lakh INR), and the average cost of living amounts to around 14,000 GBP (14 lakh INR) per year. 

Q2. What is the duration of a PhD program in the UK?

A PhD in the UK, also known as a doctorate, generally spans 3-5 years for full-time students and 5-6 years for those opting for part-time study. Duration is contingent on the selected University and research focus. 

Q3. Are PhD students compensated in the UK?

PhD students intending to study in the UK typically receive a stipend whose value varies among universities. Furthermore, many UK PhD students have access to diverse funding options like studentships and scholarships. These offerings cover tuition fees and living expenses for eligible candidates.

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