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The University of Southampton
MedicinePostgraduate study

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the deadline for applications?

Postgraduate research students may apply and start their study throughout the year. We offer a comprehensive training and induction programme every October, and you are encouraged to attend this at the earliest opportunity.  Some sections of the training are also available electronically.

Can my proposed supervisor act as a referee for my application?

Yes, if your proposed supervisor has known you in a professional capacity for a reasonable length of time he/she can provide one of the references for your application.

What English Language qualifications are required to study a postgraduate research degree?


If English is not your first language, you will be required to demonstrate that you have reached a satisfactory standard in an English Language Test . The Faculty of Medicine require a standard of English equivalent to IELTS level 7.0 overall with a minimum of 6.0 in each language component.

A list of all recognised tests, the required overall score and minimum component scores is available.

If you need to improve your English language skills, you can apply to attend a pre-sessional English Language course. At the end of the course you must achieve an English Language competency equivalent to IELTS 7.0 in order to gain admission to our degree programmes. Continuation onto a postgraduate research degree programme is not automatically guaranteed simply by attending a pre-sessional course. Further information about pre-sessional courses is available from the Centre for Language Study.


How long is my English Language Test valid for?

An English Language Test is only valid for two years from the date of issue and any test used to gain admission to the University must be valid at the start of the programme being applied to.

How should the copies of my qualifications be certified?

We are normally happy to accept a scan or photocopy of your original qualification certificate or transcript in the first instance, providing that it has been authenticated by your home institution. You will be required to present your original degree certificate for verification when you arrive in Southampton.

How much money should I bring with me when I arrive?

This is not easy to answer as it will depend on your circumstances. Further details about student living costs are available and the Students’ Union Advice Centre offers some sound advice.

How much will accommodation cost for a postgraduate student in Southampton?


The price of private rented accommodation varies depending on the size, location and condition of the property. The University Residences website provides information and advice about finding private accommodation in Southampton and Winchester.

If you are an international fee paying postgraduate student, you are guaranteed an offer of accommodation for your first year as long as you comply with the criteria for international students.

The University is not able to guarantee accommodation in halls of residence for UK, EU or Channel Island postgraduate students. You are welcome to apply online for accommodation and subject to room availability we may be able to offer you a place in halls.

You should also ensure that you have sufficient funds to support yourself and any dependents that you intend to bring with you.


How much are the fees for a research degree?

Fees are charged on an annual basis. Therefore, the amount you pay will depend on the length of time that you take to complete your research degree. Fees are liable to change each year. Please visit our tuition fees webpages for information about current fees for UK/EU students and international students.

What will I have to do to pass this course and how is it assessed?


During the early stages of your degree programme, you will need to produce two reports at 5 and 11 months, which will form the basis of your final thesis.

All postgraduate research students are initially registered for the degree of MPhil or DM and will submit a transfer/upgrade thesis and have a transfer/upgrade viva voce (oral) examination. Two independent assessors will consider your written work and your performance at the viva voce examination. If your performance is satisfactory you will transfer to full PhD registration. For students commencing on or after 01 August 2015, the final transfer/upgrade decision must be reached by the end of the 18th month following the commencement of your research programme.

After the transfer/upgrade process a further period of research will follow and culminate in the submission of the final PhD thesis. You will be required to attend a final viva voce (oral) examination during which you will defned your research to two internal and external examiners. The recommendation to award is based on the examiners' report, which will assess your thesis and performance in the viva voce (oral) examination.


What support is there for international students?


Dr Sylvia Pender is the Faculty of Medicine’s International Student Advisor. In this role Dr Pender provides pastoral support, induction and organises social gatherings for all international students in the Faculty.

The Graduate School run English Language classes for students for whom English is not a first language. Our tutor is provided by the University’s Centre for Language Study and visits Southampton General Hospital every week. Tutorial sessions are tailored to the needs of the students in the group and are placed within the context of scientific research with activities including writing abstracts and reports and making presentations. In addition, there is a language resource centre in the Health Services Library for students to practise their language skills.

The Students’ Union Advice Centre also provides international postgraduates with cultural and personal support.


What training does the Faculty offer?


Alongside the guidance from your supervisory team, you will also complete a training programme designed to provide you with the basic knowledge and practical skills necessary to commence higher degree research. Sessions include ethics, critical appraisal, time management and good laboratory practice. A comprehensive programme of research skills and statistical training using a range of software packages is also provided.

The Faculty also organises the Transferable Skills Programme, which offers a series of workshops and seminars throughout the academic year. These offer postgraduate research students the opportunity to join with postdoctoral research staff and clinical academic trainees to learn and develop a range of transferable skills and to increase awareness of potential career pathways inside and outside of academia. A broad range of subjects are covered including academic writing, project management, winning fellowships, maximising research relationships and interview skills. The programme is delivered by a number of external facilitators and provides a valuable opportunity for researchers to network across the Faculty.


How many people did this course last year and can I access information on what they are doing now?


We currently have a total of approximately 310 students studying for an MPhil/PhD, Integrated PhD or DM research degree. Students' career destinations include postdoctoral/academic positions worldwide; major pharmaceutical companies; industrial and commercial organisations; government departments and research institutes; UK NHS research and development; new entrepreneurial companies; scientific funding agencies.

Read further information about careers and employability and what our students are doing now.


Does your department have relevant employer links or any networking opportunities that I can make use of?


The Faculty of Medicine work in partnership with a number of Pharma, Biotech and Healthcare companies to turn research into clinical excellence. Many members of academic staff have links with employers in the NHS, industry, commerce, government departments and other academic institutions.

We are committed to ensuring employability for our postgraduate students through engagement with prospective employers and we offer a number of CASE studentships every year. CASE studentships provide an opportunity for students to gain high-quality research training in collaboration with industry. The student is jointly supervised by the University and an industrial partner. Many companies use these partnerships as an effective and highly-focused recruitment tool. Details of current MPhil/PhD CASE Studentships are advertised on the studentships page.

Across the University there are also regular opportunities to network with employers.


What sort of careers support will be available to me during and after my studies at your institution?


The University’s Careers and Employability Service offers a range of services including web resources for career development, careers advice, skills workshops and mock interviews.

During your postgraduate degree we will also help you gain the transferable skills – such as independent thinking, problem solving and teamwork – that employers really value. Careers advice forms part of our training programme and the Careers and Employability Service offer dedicated workshops for Faculty of Medicine postgraduate research students on topics such as employment outside academia, winning CVs and applications, succeeding at interview and networking skills.

If your query hasn't been answered by these questions please contact us by phone on 023 8120 6685 or by email to


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