School of Engineering and Innovation 2023 PhD Students, Open University, UK

Application Deadline: February 15, 2023

E&I School 2023 students

Applications are invited from potential candidates on the following subjects:

How to apply

If you would like to apply, please email by 15 February 2023 and include the following:

A completed Open University application form can be downloaded here: Application Process. (Note: This is an advertised studentship and you do not need to submit an offer);

An academic CV containing the contact details of three academic references;

A 1,000-word cover letter outlining why the project interests you and how your skills match those required;

Applicants must demonstrate good English language proficiency.

It is recommended that you contact the lead supervisor of the project(s) for any informal inquiries regarding the project and candidate suitability.

There are different pathways to study for a PhD in the School of Engineering and Innovation:

  1. Full time, fully funded: this is the most common route as described below for the projects we have identified.
  2. Full time, self funded: if students have their own funds, they can look at the above projects.
  3. Part-time, self-financed: we occasionally accept students on this route for self-assigned projects.

We advertise identified research projects through various media each year. Students are invited to apply for projects based on advice provided and are appointed through selection and interview.

Applicants with their own financial resources can apply for any of our announced projects according to the academic requirements below.

Full-time students will generally be required to be on campus, while part-time students are generally located off campus.

Applicants for all research degrees must meet the academic requirements to be considered for employment.

Most students also have eligibility conditions that cover academic fees and stipends (living expenses).

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Fully funded PhD

Academic requirements

Funded PhD places at the School are awarded competitively and have high entry requirements. Such PhDs are usually completed on a full-time basis with students based on the Milton Keynes campus. Applications will be considered from students who have, or expect to earn, a first degree in any of a wide range of subjects at first or upper second class level.

We seek to recruit the best candidates for any of our advertised projects (see project list) based on qualifications, skills and research capacity, although we must also consider subject balance, supervisor workload, timeliness and alignment with strategic goals.


Funding sources have been identified in all proposed projects.

Student funding from UK research councils is available for certain projects, while others are funded from internal university sources. Funding includes all tuition fees and stipends, as well as research training, travel, conferences, etc. includes an allowance for For research council students, candidates are required to have a “relevant connection” to the United Kingdom. Relevant contact can be established on the date of application/nomination if:
a) the candidate has been ordinarily resident in the UK during the 3-year period immediately preceding the date of the award, and
(b) has not been resident in the UK wholly or mainly for the purposes of full-time study during any part of that 3-year period, and
c) has settled status in the UK under the Immigration Act 1971 (ie there is no limit on how long he can stay)
EU citizens living in the UK only need to meet criterion (a) from the list above. If they do not meet this criterion, then they are only eligible for funding for fees and will need to make separate arrangements to fund living costs.

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Projects funded internally by the university may have less restrictive requirements and therefore be accessible to external applicants.

All studentships offered by the Open University offer fees and stipends at or above the minimum level set by the Research Councils.

Self-financed PhD

Academic requirements

Self-funded doctoral dissertations are usually pursued remotely (off-site) and are studied part-time. Part-time PhD study is offered by the OU as part of its mission to provide continuing education for people unable to study full-time. The PhD requirement is a new and significant contribution to the research field, and generally the most obvious research directions will be carried out by full-time researchers. Therefore, projects for part-time education should be prepared very carefully. The project must produce results that are a novel contribution to the field at the time of completion (typically approximately 6 years after the part-time student begins), and it must be possible to implement the project without regular access to regular university facilities.

Typically, part-time, out-of-field PhD students conduct research based on skills or knowledge related to their other activities. Part-time students normally have a minimum of three supervisors, two internal supervisors who are members of central academic staff at the OU, and an external supervisor who works in the same research area and is geographically close to the student.

Given the challenges inherent in conducting PhD research outside the day-to-day work environment of an academic school, OU focuses on selecting only part-time doctoral students who are likely to succeed. The first step for part-time PhD candidates is to identify the field in which they want to work, as well as potential supervisors. They are then responsible for writing a detailed proposal describing the research they will be undertaking. Once the applicant has submitted a prospective research proposal, it will be refined in collaboration with a potential internal supervisor.

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Part-time PhD students are generally required to be resident in the UK. The only exceptions are where there is pre-existing collaboration or an obvious common research area between potential internal and external supervisors.


Students are responsible for paying their own tuition fees.

Students Abroad

There are additional requirements for visas and demonstration of English language skills for overseas students coming to study for a PhD.

If you do not already have a visa, the University will issue a Confirmation of Acceptance (CAS) with your offer letter so that you can apply for a visa before your studies begin. Details of the visa process can be found on the UK Visas and Immigration website. In particular, the UKVI website has information about the Tier 4 visa.

The university requires an overall IELTS score of 6.5 with no less than 6.0 in any of the four categories (reading, writing, speaking, listening). Further information is available on the UKVI website by language request. That page also includes a link to approved test providers

Most approved centers are purchased from the British Council and have information about IELTS on their website. It also includes links to the booking system for registering for IELTS.

Source / Details: Official website HERE.

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