• Where To Find Your Perfect PhD

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  • Where To Find Your Perfect PhD

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Where to Find Your Perfect PhD


  • Assuming you are still at university, speak to the existing PhD supervisors within your department.
  • Attend as many Postgraduate Events as you can. Whilst there, speak to current PhD students and career advisors to get an awareness of what PhDs are on offer.
  • Visit the postgraduate section of university websites and the PhD Research Council section of the GOV.UK website

The Struggles of Finding a PhD

We appreciate that finding a PhD programme to undertake can be a relatively daunting process. Often, it is difficult to know where to look or where to even start.

To make this searching process as easy as possible for you, we’ve curated a collection of the best places to search for a PhD. By using our recommended collection, you should hopefully gain a greater insight into where your interests lie and which programme is best suited for you.

Our Comprehensive and Up-To-Date Directory

We can’t create a list of great resources and not include ourselves! At DiscoverPhDs, our primary aim is to connect great students to great PhD programmes. To enable this, we provide a comprehensive database of PhD programmes offered from universities all across the UK. 

We regularly add to our database to ensure you’re getting the latest opportunities and the most relevant information. On top of this, we’ve created our database to be as easy to use as possible; all our PhD listings provide a direct ‘apply’ link or contact email address of the lead supervisor. This enables you to effortlessly:

  • Request further information about any aspect of the position,
  • Enquire about the specific application process,
  • Speak directly with the supervisor,
  • Make a good impression and show your interest.

Universities Websites

Further to our comprehensive PhD database, you are encouraged to search on the website of the universities you are interested in. This is because some universities list a handful of PhDs internaly only.

Your Current Supervisor

If you’re currently undertaking a research project or dissertation as part of your undergraduate or masters degree, it would be a good idea to speak to your current supervisor. Not only would you have already built a good rapport with them, but having worked with you they will likely have a good idea on what PhD positions would utilise your strengths or best interest you. In fact, a noticeable percentage of past and current PhD students came into their PhD programme because of being recommended by their undergraduate supervisor. Your supervisor will be well-connected – make sure you take advantage of these opportunities.

Tip: Don’t just limit your discussion to your own personal supervisor. All supervisors are within their field of work because they have a natural passion for research and teaching. As such, most supervisors will be more than happy to help any student who wishes to follow in their footsteps.

Postgraduate Events

Nearly all universities hold regular Postgraduate Fairs and Open Days. As part of these events, current PhD students will be on hand to share their experiences of their programme and their university. This is a fantastic opportunity to not only find out what PhDs the university is offering but to find out more about their facilities, research labs and library collection, etc. Given that you will be heavily relying on these resources during your PhD, it’s vital that you know what’s provided by each university. Attending Postgraduate Fairs and Open Days are the best way to achieve this.

Besides the above, career advisors will also be available at these events. Speaking to them will help you understand what you can do with a PhD, whether a PhD is right for you, and how best to prepare for one. Seeing as they would have helped many PhD candidates through the decision-making process before, they will provide you with some invaluable insight that you would otherwise be oblivious to.

To help bring all Postgraduate Fairs and Open Days offered across all universities together, we’ve created a helpful Postgraduate Events page. You can find a sample of upcoming events below, alternatively, please visit our Postgraduate Events page for all upcoming events.

Research Councils

Research councils are nationally funded agencies which offer sponsored PhD programmes. Different research councils cover different areas of research, these include:

  • The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC),
  • The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC),
  • Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC),
  • The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC),
  • Natural Environment Research Council (NERC).

The GOV.UK website has a full list of nationally-funded research councils available online at Further details on these nationally-funded research councils can be found on the GOV.UK website. 

Although our database includes PhD programmes offered by these research councils, it would be a good idea to regularly browse the website of the ones you are particularly interested in case they list some internal only.

Further Resources

We hope the above list will help you find the perfect PhD.

If you have any recommendations in addition to these resources, please let us know at [email protected] and so we can look to add it.

If you’re ready to start your search for your PhD, start now with our large PhD database.

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may, 2020