How to Apply

CDt students in a learning session

Horizon CDT PhD Studentships for Sept 2023 Entry

Please see Current Opportunities for projects that are available for September 2023 entry along with our application deadlines and any specific entry requirements.

The Horizon CDT 4 year PhD programme is not a “traditional” PhD programme, please make sure you understand how the programme works before applying – see: Programme Details


Applicants must be able to demonstrate a capability to undertake and benefit from research training through to completion, to qualify for a doctorate. This normally requires an upper second-class honours degree, or a combination of qualifications and/or experience equivalent to that level. For some studentships additional criteria apply and these are stated in the description in Current Opportunities.

Please note we have now filled our international student quota for 2023 entry, so remaining projects are open to UK Home students only.  Note – Irish nationals living in the UK or Republic of Ireland or students who have ‘settled’ or ‘pre-settled’ status under the EU Settlement Scheme will, subject to meeting eligibility criteria, be treated as UK home students for fee purposes. UK nationals living in the EU, EEA and Switzerland will, subject to meeting eligibility criteria, also continue to be eligible for UK home fee status, when entering courses at UK universities any time up to and including 31 December 2027.

For students whose first language is not English an up-to-date IELTS with an average score of 6.5 with no less than 6.0 in any element, or an acceptable alternative qualification is required for entry to the Horizon CDT programme.  You do not need to provide test results or evidence of alternative qualifications at the application stage unless you already have them.  See also: University of Nottingham policy on minimum English language entry requirements.

Summary of our application process

All applications are made online and must be fully submitted before the specified deadline above.  Please make sure that you provide all the information requested and that you meet all eligibility requirements, or your application will be rejected.  Eligible applications are assessed by a shortlisting panel against our assessment criteria to produce a shortlist of candidates who are invited for academic interviews.   You will be informed whether or not you are being invited for an interview within 4 weeks of the closing date.

Following a successful academic interview, the CDT will start to “match” candidates with the appropriate theme and external partner (based on the candidates’ stated interests and experience).  Partner interviews are usually carried out online.  The CDT will make every effort to match candidates with suitable partners, but this cannot be guaranteed. An offer of a PhD studentship can only be made after a successful interview with an external partner.

Horizon CDT PhD Application Assessment Criteria

Applications are assessed by a multidisciplinary shortlisting/ interview panel, against the following criteria:

  • Capability to undertake and benefit from research training through to completion, to qualify for a doctorate (This normally requires an upper second class honours degree or a combination of qualifications and/or experience equivalent to that level).
  • Evidence of prior thinking around the challenges of the Horizon Creating Our Lives in Data CDT topic focus (i.e. digital identity, personal data and data creativity within the global digital economy)
  • An interest in and potential for interdisciplinary research.
  • An interest in and potential to work well with external partners.
  • Any specific skills /experience stated in the description of the theme being applied for.

It is therefore important that your application clearly demonstrates how you meet the above criteria.  The CDT provides a Horizon CDT Personal Statement Form structured around the above criteria which you must complete and upload in your application.

What to include in your online application

In your online application, you must include:

  • Curriculum Vitae (for candidates without a 2:1 at undergraduate degree level, you must include evidence of a combination of qualifications and/or experience equivalent to that level).
  • A completed Horizon CDT Personal Statement Form. Please download and complete the form and upload it with your online application. The Personal Statement is the most important part of the application, where you will demonstrate how you meet assessment criteria.
  • Copies of degree certificates/transcripts where relevant.
  • Contact details of 2 referees at least one of whom must be an academic – a work email address must be provided for the academic referee (not a personal email address).

Please indicate which theme(s) you are interested in on the Horizon CDT Personal Statement Form.  Applicants do not need to identify a supervisor or include a research proposal with their application –  in the Horizon CDT model, the research proposal and the supervisory team are developed during the first year.

How to submit your application

Please read all the information on this page, then download and follow the Horizon CDT Step by Step Application Guide April 2023(pdf) carefully to give your application the best chance of success.


What happens next?

You will normally receive an email from the University Admissions Team to confirm your application has been received the following working day.  Please check your Spam folder if you don’t receive it.

You may be requested to provide further information, please note that you will have a 1 week deadline to provide this.

Please let your referees know that the University will be contacting them shortly for a reference, and suggest they check their Spam folder if the email does not appear in due course.

You will be informed whether you have been shortlisted for an academic interview by email approximately 4 weeks after the closing date.