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Step by Step Application Process

The deadline for submitting applications midnight on Sunday the 15th January 2023

Application Support

Are you the first in your family to do a PhD? Are you from an under-represented group such as being Black, Asian or a minority ethnicity, disabled or from a disadvantaged socio-economic or alternative background? Do you need information about PhDs in general? Do you just need someone to put some questions to? If you need help with the application process, please get in touch and we can provide support The SENSE managers are not on the recruitment panels, so any questions can be asked with the confidence that it will have no effect on your application.

You can also watch our Applications Webinar here or come along to one of our applications drop in sessions with our EDI champion please sign up below:

Step 1 

Look at the available projects, and select the project you are most interested in. We strongly encourage you to get in touch with the supervisor of the project you’re interested in.

You can only apply for one SENSE project, though if you are successful at the interview stage and this project has already been offered to another student, we will discuss with you if you are interested in any other projects.

For help in applying, please watch these videos and read the associated resources:

  1. How can a PhD help me with my career? and read the material from last year
  2. Support for applying for a PhD and read the resource

You can also view our webinars from last year on our YouTube channel.

Similar workshops will be run this year and we will be circulating details shortly on our social media 

Step 2 

Assemble your supporting documentation.

  • Standard CV (Curriculum Vitae)
  • Anonymised CV
  • Degree Certificates and Transcripts
  • Standard Personal Statement
  • Anonymised Personal Statement
  • Proof of English Language
  • References or details of referees

All correspondence about your application will be via email please make sure that the email you use is one you check regularly and will not expire within the next 12 months.

Please state clearly on your documentation which project you are applying to.

Curriculum vitae (CV/resumé

An academic CV is like a regular CV with an emphasis on the academic/research experience and skills that you gained during your studies, professional experience or activities conducted in another context (e.g., as a volunteer or as a hobby). Make sure you also include technical skills which are relevant to a research environment (computational/programming skills, language etc.) Please include details of all your qualifications (undergraduate, postgraduate and school qualifications e.g. A Levels or Highers)

If you have not studied in the UK, you must include the UK equivalence of your qualifications on your CV using information from this link.

eg: I studied in the USA and achieved a GPA of 3.65 which equivalent to a UK 1st class honours

CVs must not exceed 2 pages. 

As well as your standard CV, please also submit the anonymised version of your CV. This is a copy of your CV in which you have deleted or redacted your name, gender, ethnicity, date of birth and nationality.

Transcripts and certificates of ALL degrees to date.
If you have not yet completed your current degree, you will need to send an official transcript of your results so far.

Personal Statement.

Please provide a personal statement indicating the project you are applying to and stating clearly

  • Why you are interested in your chosen project
  • What motivates you to pursue PhD study
  • What is your research experience and how does your skill set match the requirements for your chosen project. Please particularly detail any research, programming or Earth Observation experience.
  • Details of contact you have had with the lead project supervisor

As well as your standard personal statement please also submit an anonymised version of your personal statement. This is a copy of your personal statement in which you have deleted or redacted your name, gender, ethnicity, date of birth and nationality.

Personal statements should general be one page long however we will accept statements of up to two pages.

English Language. 

Generally, if you are from a non-English speaking country or have not studied in a majority English speaking country, you will need to meet the English language requirements evidence through an English language test (e.g., IELTS/TOEFL). The test certificate is not required when applying but will be required when registering if you are successful. If you already hold these certificates please include them with your application.  


Before we can give full consideration to your application, we will need a minimum of two strong references. If possible these would both be academic references, however we will also welcome references from roles in industry or internship. Referees should ideally be able to comment on your academic competence and suitability for the project so for instance a personal tutor, project supervisor or line manager from industry would be most suitable.

If you already have these references (which have to be signed, on headed paper and dated within the last two years) you can attached them to your application, or alternatively, they can be emailed directly by the referee to  using the using the Referee’s Report form available to download herePlease note that it is your responsibility to request these references and ensure they are sent to us.

  • We ask that academics are asked to write gender neutral references 
  • We ask that the applicant is referred to as they/them and without name 

Given that most applicants will be preparing their applications during the university winter vacation when academic staff will be on leave you do not need to have references submitted by the application date.

Please note that with your application you do not need to supply a research proposal however you should state clearly on your application and on any supporting documents you supply which project you are applying to.

We are committed to removing any potential bias in our application process. Your standard CV and personal statement will be read by the supervisors of the project you have applied to, as you will have had contact with them already. The anonymised CV and personal statement will be read by the recruitment committee, to minimise the risk of unconscious bias. We have also asked your referees to write a gender-neutral reference, without your name, which will be read by the recruitment committee.

Step 3

Submit application should be submitted to the University of Leeds via the following link

Please make sure you attach all the required documents.