How to Apply?

How to Apply

New PhD Projects for the 2017/18 entry are now live. Project descriptions can be seen here.

We receive a large volume of applications and we would advocate submitting an application at your earliest convenience.


All PhD applications to GSNOCS should be made via the application online portal.

To apply for a standard PhD (GSNOCS) click hereEnsure you opt for the 2017/18 entry point and the Research radial dial

If you are making a Spitfire, Oil & Gas or a Nexuss PhD application please ensure you apply via the correct online portal


 Please submit only one application. Multiple projects (up to 3) can be listed on 1 application.


You will need to upload the following:

(1)   An application form - Please ensure you complete the ‘References’ section of the application form very carefully, with the names and email addresses of two current academic referees as these referees will be sent a direct automated reference request within 2 weeks of an application submission. It is important for candidates to identify referees who will provide references that are detailed enough and contain sufficient information to be evaluated. A mere five-line reference is unlikely to provide the level of support necessary. Please DO NOT upload references with your application form unless they are on official University/Company headed paper, dated within the last two months and hold an original signature.

NB: Please do not upload separate referee documents stating just your referee contact details otherwise a direct automated reference request will not be triggered. 

(2) A personal statement (or complete the section in the application form)

(3) An up-to-date curriculum vitae giving details of your academic record and listing the names and contact details of two academic referees (these must be independent i.e. not involved in your target projects).

(4) Your academic transcripts - A copy of all your official degree transcripts (BSc & MSc - as appropriate). You are required to submit all individual modules and marks achieved to date for all degrees undertaken.  This must be an official document from your University or an official translated copy. If you have completed both a BSc & an MSc we will require both sets of transcripts. If you are still studying an MSci then please submit transcripts received so far minus your final year.

(5) Your academic certificates - A copy of all your official degree certificates (BSc & MSc - as appropriate). This must be an official document from your University or an official translated copy. i.e. if you have completed both a BSc & an MSc we will require both degree certificates. Absence of full details about the marks/grades gained for particular degrees, in the form of an official transcript, makes it difficult for the project supervisor to properly consider an application. Candidates are strongly encouraged to ensure that full supporting documentation is provided at the time of application.

NB: If your transcripts are not in English, at this stage of the recruitment process we would accept an unofficial translation, however if your application is taken further (to offer stage) we will require an official certified translation of your degree transcripts and certificates.

(6) A University of Southampton recognised English Language equivalent certificate (if applicable). For more information please visit the University English Language Proficiency page


Please remember to include a short statement of your research interests and rationale for your choice of project in the Personal Statement section of the application form.

As far as possible please upload all documents in PDF format.

We encourage candidates to list 2 or 3 projects in which they are interested with a provisional ranking of preference to help us circulate your application among the pool of potential supervisors.

Remember please submit only one application. Multiple projects (up to 3) can be listed on 1 application.

You are encouraged to contact potential supervisors by email to discuss project-specific aspects of the proposed research at an early stage. General enquiries should be directed to the GSNOCS Office Team –


Our recruitment philosophy

GSNOCS seeks the best prospective research students regardless of their particular scientific interests. In other words we aim, wherever possible, to recruit the best students rather than to fill particular projects. We put a huge amount of effort into the recruitment process to meet this objective. We receive hundreds of applicants and interview around 100 candidates a year. Those candidates invited for interview spend a whole day at NOCS getting to know the institution, meeting supervisors, and going through the interview process. International candidates will be offered a Skype interview. Please check the projects(s) for any restrictions on applications i.e Eligibility criteria before applying.


We welcome applications from strong candidates at any time outside the advertised application deadline dates if you self-fundng, and some funded projects become available throughout the year. But please note that the bulk of our funding is allocated during the interview-evaluation process concentrated in the spring (February through March/April). Short-listing for interviews begins in January so we strongly advise you to make your applications as early as possible. Typically we start to receive applications for this process in October and successful applicants enrol for the start of the new academic year in the following October.

Funding for UK, EU and Overseas students

GSNOCS typically recruits approximately 60 new students per year. Nearly half of these are funded by research council sources (mostly through various Natural Environmental Research Council awards).  A minority of studentships are funded by the National Oceanography Centre Southampton, The University of Southampton, European Union and industrial sources.

Non-UK/EU overseas students comprise over 25% of GSNOCS entry and are funded via a wide variety of international sources as well as through two schemes administered in Southampton.

University funding for overseas students

The Dorothy Hodgkin Postgraduate Award (DHPA) is a matching scheme awarded to academically outstanding candidates where approximately half of the overall fee and stipend cost for a three year PhD is funded by an industry partner.

Ocean and Earth Science International scholarships

There are a limited number of international student scholarships, awarded by GSNOCS, available for highly qualified non-UK/EU applicants to cover the cost of overseas student fees. Applicants must identify the project(s) in which they are interested and are strongly encouraged to contact the relevant supervisors directly prior to making a formal application.