After you apply – PhD study


Acknowledging your application

After we receive your application, we'll create an applicant record for you. When this is ready we'll send you an email containing your applicant and choice numbers. You should normally receive this email within two working days. We'll then send your application for academic consideration.

You can check the progress of your application at any time simply by logging back into your online application.

Email contact

If we need to contact you we'll do so by email, so please make sure that you check the email account you used for your application, and that this account is set to trust messages coming from and addresses. You may wish to add to your address book to avoid important messages being marked as spam.

If you change your email address, please let us know by emailing us at, including your full name and applicant number.

Waiting for a decision

It normally takes academic departments around six weeks to make decisions on research applications. It can take longer at busy times.

If you haven't received a decision on your application after eight weeks, we recommend that you contact the academic department directly. You can find their contact details via our find a PhD webpage.

Before we make our decision, we may invite you to attend an interview with staff from your academic department. You can find information on what to expect in an interview in our guidance:


When we've made our decision

When we've made our decision, it will appear in your online application, and we'll also send you an email to confirm this.

If we've offered you a study place, we'll provide you with an official electronic offer letter detailing any conditions and the amount payable for the tuition fees. The offer letter will be attached to our email and also available for you to download from your online application.

If we haven't offered you a study place and you would like feedback on this decision, you should contact the academic department directly in writing.

Offer types

If we make you an offer, it will be either Conditional or Unconditional.

A Conditional offer means there are requirements that you need to meet before you can start the course, for example a certain English language score, or a minimum grade in your current studies.

An Unconditional offer means there are no further academic requirements that you need to meet.

Conditional offers

If we've made you a Conditional offer, the conditions will be stated in your offer letter. When you've met these conditions, you should upload to your online application documents that prove it. When you've met all the conditions of your offer, we'll provide you with a new, Unconditional offer letter.

The standard deadlines for meeting the conditions of an offer are provided on our key dates and deadlines page.

If you have any problems attaching documents to your online application, please contact us.

Calculating average final marks for International students

We normally determine the final mark of an international degree by calculating the average of all the module marks, weighted by credit value. For module marks assigned as a range, we use the mid-point of the range. Note that the average we calculate may differ from the average shown on your transcript.

Unconditional offers

An Unconditional offer has no conditions. You just need to let us know whether or not you want to accept or decline our offer of a study place.

Replying to your offer

In most cases, you can accept or decline the offer of a study place via your online application. If you're not able to do this, please let us know your decision by emailing us at When you accept an offer, you also accept our Terms and Conditions upon Acceptance of an Offer.

Except where indicated in the offer letter, there are no specific deadlines for accepting an offer. However, we encourage applicants to make a decision within three months of receiving an offer. Also, the sooner you accept an offer, the sooner you'll be able to make other arrangements (for example your accommodation or visa).

You can accept only one Unconditional offer of a place. If you've received Unconditional offers for more than one course, you'll need to choose which course to accept. You should then decline the other offers.

Withdrawing your application

If you want to withdraw from the application process, please contact us. We'll then update your application record.


If we've offered you a study place and for unforeseen circumstances you can't attend at the start of your course, you can ask to defer your entry.

You can request a deferral through your original online application, by clicking on the 'Request Deferral' link in the 'Your Applications' section. Your request will be forwarded to the academic selectors for a decision. A change of start date is at the discretion of the University. It isn't automatically given and you may be asked to make a new application.

If the academic selectors approve your request, we'll send you an amended offer letter with a deferred start date.

You should submit your deferral request by the deadline published on our key dates webpage. You can defer your application a maximum of two times. If want to defer for a third time, we'll ask you to re-apply.

Further information sent by the University

Your MUSE account

University of Sheffield offer-holders are entitled to access the members area of our website, MUSE (My University of Sheffield Environment). Using MUSE is the easiest way to book to attend departmental open days, apply for University accommodation and scholarships and, when the time comes, complete pre-registration tasks.

After we've issued your offer, we'll email you with a username and invite you to activate your account. More information is available on our webpages:

MUSE for offer-holders


When you have accepted your Conditional or Unconditional offer, you can apply online for University accommodation. You can find more information, and view the full range of accommodation available for postgraduates, on our webpages:



If you'll need a visa to study in the UK, you can find more information about when and how we'll arrange your CAS on our CAS Application webpages:

CAS application

This page also includes links to further information about the visa application process.


If your offer letter says you'll require ATAS clearance to study on your course, you can find more information on our ATAS webpages:

Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS)

Induction and Registration

If you've accepted your Unconditional offer, we'll email you with pre-registration information about four weeks before the start date of your course. You can also access pre-registration tasks via your MUSE account.

If you haven't received your pre-registration email by three weeks before your course starts, please contact

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