Going to Study PhD in UK? Here’s What Your Life as a PhD Student Will Look Like!

8 minute read
Life as a PhD Student in UK

Are you planning to pursue a PhD in the UK? If yes, you might wonder what your life as a PhD student in UK will look like. How will you spend your days? What will you do for research? How will you balance your work and personal life? What are the challenges and opportunities that await you In this blog, we will give you a glimpse of what to expect from your PhD journey in the UK. So, let’s get started!

Program TypeFull-time/ Part-time
Duration3-5 years
EligibilityA Bachelor’s degree with honours in a related field of study, with a high GPA.
Tuition Fee20,000 GBP- 50,000 GBP ( INR 20-50 Lakh)

Also Read: Study in UK 2023

Why Study PhD in UK?

The UK is one of the most popular destinations for international PhD study, with great opportunities to research, work and explore. Here’s why you should consider studying PhD in UK:

  1. According to the Higher Education Statistics Agency, 82% of UK university graduates find a job or continue their studies within half a year of finishing their PhD.
  2. The UK boasts some of the top universities in the world, and many of them offer excellent PhD programs. The QS World University Rankings 2024 show that the UK has four universities among the top ten for graduate employability and five universities among the top 20 for graduate employability.
  3. Studying in UK universities opens up many possibilities. Nearly 87% of PhD students start working after graduation and earn an average salary of 40,000 GBP- 60,000 GBP (40-60 Lakh INR) per year.
  4. There are various sources of funding and scholarships available for international PhD students in the UK, like:
  5. Being a multicultural and cosmopolitan country with people from different backgrounds, cultures and religions, you can experience the UK’s rich history, heritage and traditions and enjoy the modern lifestyle, entertainment and cuisine.

Also Read: Intakes in the UK

Types of PhD in UK

There are different types of PhD programs in the UK, depending on your research area, your learning style, and your personal preferences. Some of the common types are:

1. Traditional PhD

This is the most common type of PhD in the UK, where you conduct original research on a specific topic under the supervision of one or more academics. 

2. Integrated PhD 

An integrated PhD combines taught modules with research. You usually spend one-year taking courses related to your research area, followed by three years of independent research. 

3. Professional Doctorate

This PhD focuses on applying research to professional practice. You usually spend two years taking courses related to your profession or industry, followed by two years of conducting research on a relevant issue or problem. 

4. Distance Learning PhD

This PhD allows you to study remotely from anywhere in the world. You usually communicate with your supervisor by phone, email or video conferencing and visit your university for one or two weeks each year. 

What are the Stages of PhD in UK?

A typical PhD programme in UK consists of four main stages:

1. Application

This is where you choose your university, supervisor, and research topic. You also have to prepare your research proposal, which outlines your aims, objectives, methods and expected outcomes. 

You also have to submit your academic transcripts, English language proficiency test scores, references, and other documents required by your university. You may also have to attend an interview or a test as part of the selection process.

2. Registration

Enrol as a PhD student at your university and start your program. You usually have to attend an induction or orientation session, where you will meet your supervisor, your department, and other PhD students. 

You will also have to complete some administrative tasks, such as registering for courses, paying fees, opening a bank account, etc.

3. Progression 

This is where you conduct your research and monitor your progress. You usually have to meet with your supervisor regularly, who will provide you with feedback and guidance. You will also have to submit periodic reports or presentations to assess your achievements and challenges. 

You may also have to undergo a formal review or examination at the end of your first year or second year, which will determine whether you can continue with your program.

4. Completion

This is where you finish your research and write your thesis. You usually have to follow the guidelines and standards set by your university and your discipline. 

You will also have to submit your thesis for examination, which will involve an oral defense (viva voce) in front of a panel of experts. You may also have to make corrections or revisions to your thesis before it is accepted.

Also Read: Top PhD Entrance Exams

Life as a PhD Student in UK: Daily Activities

As a PhD student in UK, your activities can vary depending on your subject area, stage of PhD, learning style, and personal preferences. However, some of the common activities are:


As a PhD student, you will have to read a lot of books, articles, reports and other sources related to your research topic. Keep up with the latest developments and trends in your field, review the existing literature, and identify the gaps and opportunities for your research.


You will also have to write a lot of documents, such as proposals, reports, presentations, papers, and chapters as a part of your life as a PhD student in the UK. Communicate your ideas clearly and convincingly, using appropriate language, style, and format, cite your sources correctly, and avoid plagiarism.


As a PhD student, you spend most of your time doing research on your chosen topic. Depending on your discipline, it may involve conducting experiments in the laboratory, collecting data through surveys or interviews, analysing data using software or statistics, or interpreting texts or images using theories or frameworks.


As a PhD student, you may also have some teaching responsibilities, such as leading seminars, tutorials or workshops for undergraduate or Masters students. You may also have to mark assignments or exams, provide feedback or mentorship, or supervise projects or dissertations. Teaching can help you develop your skills and knowledge and earn some income.


As a PhD student, you will also have learning opportunities, such as attending courses, seminars, workshops or conferences related to your research area. You may also have to take some training modules on research ethics, academic writing, presentation skills, etc. Learning can help you broaden your perspective and enhance your skills.


Life as a PhD student in UK also provides multiple networking opportunities, such as meeting other PhD students, academics, professionals or experts in your field. You may also have to collaborate with other researchers or institutions on joint projects or publications. Networking can help you build your reputation and connections and find potential mentors or partners.


As a PhD student, you will also need time to relax and unwind from your busy schedule. You may have some hobbies or interests that you enjoy, such as sports, music, art, etc. 

You may also want to explore the UK and its culture, such as visiting museums, landmarks, festivals, etc. Relaxing can help you maintain your well-being and happiness.

Also Read: Top Hangout Spots at/near Oxford University

What are the Benefits of Doing a PhD in UK?

Doing a PhD in UK can offer many benefits and challenges for you as an international student. Some of the benefits are:

Personal Growth

Doing a PhD in UK can help you grow as a person, as you will develop your intellectual abilities, creativity, confidence and resilience. You will also learn to work independently and collaboratively, manage your time and resources, and solve complex problems.

Academic Achievement

Doing a PhD in UK can help you achieve your academic goals, as you will contribute to the advancement of knowledge and innovation in your field. You will also produce a high-quality thesis that showcases your original research and findings.

Career Development

Doing a PhD in UK can help you develop your career prospects, as you will gain valuable skills and experience that are sought after by employers and academics. You will also have a competitive edge in the global job market and access to various opportunities for further study or work.

Also Read: Best Countries for PhD

Top Universities Offering PhD in UK

Here’s a list of the universities offering top-notch PhD programs in UK according to the QS World University Rankings 2023:

University NameQS World Ranking (2023)Ranking (For PhD course)
University of Cambridge26
University of Oxford44
Imperial College London6101-150
University College London (UCL)823
The University of Edinburgh1521
The University of Manchester28101-150
King’s College London3719
London School of Economics and Political Science 563

Scholarships For PhD in UK

Here’s the list of scholarships for students wanting to pursue a PhD in UK:

  1. Charles Wallace India Trust Scholarships
  2. Gates Cambridge Scholarship
  3. Commonwealth PhD Scholarships for Developing Countries
  4. Inlaks Shivdasani Foundation Scholarships
  5. Carnegie PhD Scholarships
  6. Newton Bhabha Fund
  7. Scotland’s Saltire Scholarships
  8. Dr Manmohan Singh Scholarships

Also Read: PhD Scholarships in the UK

To sum up, doing a PhD in UK can be an exciting and rewarding experience for international students who want to pursue their passion for research and learning. But it can also be a challenging and demanding journey that requires dedication and perseverance. So, preparing yourself well before you embark on your PhD adventure in the UK is vital.


Q1. How much does a PhD student earn in UK?

Ans. The average monthly stipend of a PhD student in UK is around 35000 – 48000 GBP (approx INR 36,32,748 – INR 49,82,054) per year.

Q2. Is it worth doing a PhD in UK?

Ans. Depending on your goals, interests, and circumstances, doing a PhD in UK can be a rewarding experience. Here are some pros of doing a PhD in UK:
You enjoy a diverse, inclusive environment and interact with people from different disciplines and backgrounds.
You get great exposure to the markets, industry, and academic community to build your network and reputation.
You can upskill in research, analysis, communication, and problem-solving, which are valuable for any career.
You get access to extensive and enriched research resources to conduct original and innovative research.
You benefit from tax-free stipends that PhD students in UK universities receive, ranging from £15,000 to £17,000 (INR 15.5 – 17.6 LPA).

Q3. What is the daily life of a PhD student?

Ans. A PhD student typically spends 8 hours a day on research-related activities, such as reading, writing, conducting experiments, analysing data, teaching, or attending seminars, while balancing their personal and professional life and coping with stress, challenges, and uncertainties. 

We hope this blog has given you some useful insights into what your life as a PhD student in UK will look like. Want more information on how to pursue study abroad? Get in touch with the experts at Leverage Edu today!

Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *