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Information for overseas (non-European Union) PhD applicants

Manchester: an overview of the city and the university

A brief history of the University of Manchester.
The University of Manchester today.

Manchester is a major UK city and the University of Manchester is one of the largest single-site universities in Europe. The University is an internationally renowned centre of excellence in research and teaching, boasting four current Nobel Laureates, two of whom are based in the School of Physics and Astronomy.

The city of Manchester boasts a rich cultural heritage as the epicentre of the industrial revolution and, today, as home to two famous football clubs, Manchester United and Manchester City. The city contains many fine examples of 19th, 20th and 21st century architecture from the Victorian Gothic Manchester Town Hall through to the award-winning Alan Turing Building, in which the Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics is housed. Manchester is home to numerous art galleries, theatres, museums and restaurants. It also has a renowned music scene and a thriving nightlife.

You might also like to look at the University's Youtube Channel for student video diaries and other information about the University.

Travel links within and outside the UK

Manchester is a great city for international students and hosts more international students than any other UK university. It boasts excellent international and UK transport links. Manchester Airport is a major international air hub and is the busiest UK airport outside of London, with several direct international routes. It is one of only 17 airports in the World with a catagory 10 runway able to accommodate the Airbus A380, the World's largest passenger airliner. It hosts a daily A380 service to Dubai. Manchester is just a two-hour rail journey away from London. The London to Manchester rail service operates every 20 minutes during peak hours.

The School of Physics & Astronomy

Professor Brian Cox, a particle physicist and science broadcaster based at the School of Physics & Astronomy, talks about how Jodrell Bank and physics research at Manchester attracted him to study physics at the University of Manchester.

The School of Physics and Astronomy can rightly claim to be the epicentre of many seminal discoveries and breakthroughs in physics and astrophysics, from the nuclear physics work of Ernest Rutherford and Hans Geiger, the pioneering development of Radio Astronomy by Bernard Lovell, through to the recent discovery of Graphene by Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov.

The Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics is part of the School of Physics & Astronomy with a cohort of around 80 staff and students including around 25 members of academic staff. Our research spans: technology development; extra-solar planets; the Sun; stars and the inter-stellar environment; pulsars; extra-galactic astronomy and cosmology.

Funding possibilities for non-EU overseas students

The University operates some bursary schemes which are available for highly qualified international students which can contribute towards tuition costs and, in some cases, towards living costs. Current schemes are outlined below.

NEW: The 2012 President's Doctoral Scholar Awards

International PhD applicants applying before December 10th 2011 will be eligible for consideration for the first round of the 2012 President's Doctoral Scholar Awards scheme. More information about the scheme is available here.

Overseas Research Studentship (ORS) Scheme

A limited number of Overseas Research Studentship (ORS) awards are offered each year by the School of Physics & Astronomy to pay the difference between the International and UK/EU fees (see here for the current fees). Successful candidates are normally awarded further bursaries to cover the remaining fee and a contribution towards living costs. The awards are made for PhD and very occasionally for MPhil study, but are not available for MSc courses. In rare cases of exceptional applicants support may also be provided from School funds outside of the ORS scheme.

ORS awards are extremely competitive and the success rate is very low (below 10%). In order to be given serious consideration you need to show in your application, as a minimum, that:

Applications which require ORS funding must reach us by early January.

Other university funding sources

There are opportunities for part-time teaching in the Physics department in the form of maths tutorials or assistance in the teaching laboratories. These pay a maximum of 1500 pounds per year. There are no other teaching assistantships or other jobs available in the University which provide extra money over and above this amount.

Details of current fees and more on funding opportunities can be found on the University postgraduate website.

When and how to apply

Early application for the PhD programme is advised, especially if you are intending to apply for ORS or other University Scholarships. If you wish to apply to one of the University scholarship schemes you must apply for it separately as well as filling in the PhD application form.

Applications involving self-funding or other sources of funding can be considered at any time.

All PhD applications should be made online - please see the online application page.

Application guidance for overseas students

It is important that you complete the application form carefully and fully. Your nationality should be that which is recorded in your passport.

English language requirements

All graduate students are required to be proficient in the English language. Students whose first language is not English or who have studied at an institution where English is not the language of instruction should arrange to take the IELTS Test or the TOEFL test and either enclose their official score reports or send them to us as soon as they are available. Please note that on the IELTS test applicants are expected to score a minimum of 6.0 overall; on the TOEFL test a minimum of 550 is required on the paper test, 230 on the computer-based test or 88-89 on the internet-based test.. Applicants may be required, as a condition of admission, to undertake training in the English language.

What to include with your application

It is important that the application returned to us is filled in completely and accurately. Referees' reports may be included in sealed envelopes with your application, or sent directly to us by the referees in the case of online applications. Although we try to reach decisions within a few weeks of receiving applications, consideration of applications may be delayed until the referees' reports arrive. You should enclose copies of your degree certificates and official transcripts, where appropriate. You should also include score reports for English Language tests. If you would like a written acknowledgement of your application, please enclose a stamped self-addressed postcard; otherwise acknowledgements will be sent by email. Any document enclosed which is written in a language other than English must be accompanied by a certified translation into English.

You do not need to send us a 1000-word account of the research you propose to undertake as specified in the Graduate Study website. It would however be helpful to us if you specify up to three areas of interest on the "areas of proposed research" part of the form; this is used to gauge demand for particular subject areas.

Please enclose details of any disability/special needs. This information will not prejudice your application but will be helpful in discussing whether the university facilities are sufficient to meet your needs. Contact the Disability Support Office for more information.

Further information

Further information which may be useful for international applicants can be found on the University's international webpage.