Visas for Doctoral Students | AECC University College

UK Visas for Doctoral Students


You will normally need a visa to study as a doctoral student in the UK as an international student. You will need to apply as part of the UK’s points-based Student Visa process, which is the same for undergraduate, Masters and PhD levels of study.

If you have been granted asylum, are recognised as a refugee or have long residence in the UK, you may not need a visa to study as an international student. The UK Council for International Student Affairs has comprehensive guidance for international students.



International students who meet the following criteria are able to apply for a student visa:

  • You have been accepted to study at a UK institution as a student visa sponsor and granted confirmation of acceptance for studies.
  • Your course is a full-time or part-time PhD at Ofqual level 7 or above
  • You have the necessary English language skills for your course
  • You have PhD funding, or the means by which to pay your fees and living costs yourself.

You are able to bring dependents to the UK if you are studying towards a doctorate or a research-based higher degree (i.e. Masters by research).

Student studying alone in a private study desk area

How to apply

Universities are required to ‘sponsor’ students’ visa applications. Once your chosen place of study has agreed to sponsor your application, you will receive a confirmation of acceptance for studies (CAS). You can then apply for your UK Student Visa.

The university who sponsors you is responsible for confirming you meet the requirements for your course, including relevant qualifications and English language ability.

You apply for your student visa on the website

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Join our International Community

Find out more about the Visa & Immigration process.

If you are not a UK or Irish citizen you must have valid immigration permission allowing study in the UK before we can enrol you on a course at AECC UC.

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