Study options Degree preparation course Doctoral degree preparation

Doctoral degree preparation

A Pre-Doctorate can help you gain entry to a doctoral degree at a top university

Learn how you can improve your chances of earning a doctoral degree at one of our university partners in the UK.

Gray, Cutlery

Is doctoral degree preparation right for me?

A Pre-Doctorate preparation course can help if you

  • have already completed an undergraduate or postgraduate degree

  • want to pursue a doctoral degree, also known as a doctorate, in the UK

  • would benefit from help presenting your research ideas, and navigating the complex doctoral degree application process

  • would like time to adapt to studying in the UK in a supportive environment

Where can I study a Pre-Doctorate?

A Pre-Doctorate course is specially designed for international students to help you prepare for applying to a UK doctoral degree. It is taught at two of our colleges by expert tutors who know the UK’s doctorate-level education system extremely well. Your tutors will help you shape and refine your research proposal, often in collaboration with the universities themselves.

Once you have successfully completed your Pre-Doctorate, you are guaranteed an interview at one of our partner universities where your research areas match.


Kaplan International College London

Leads to a doctoral degree interview at Cranfield University, the University of Liverpool, UWE Bristol, the University of Aberdeen, or another university in the UK.


University of Nottingham International College

Leads to a doctoral degree interview at the University of Nottingham.

Download an application form and tips for applying

(0.27MB, PDF)

(0.27MB, PDF)

Course details

English language requirements:

  • minimum IELTS 6.0 in all skills for a 1-term course
  • or minimum IELTS 5.5 with no less than 5.0 in any skill for courses with extra preparatory English

We can accept alternatives to UKVI IELTS.

London course fees:

  • 1 term from £5,670
  • 2 terms from £8,730
  • 3 terms from £11,070

Fees are for the 2023–24 academic year and are subject to change.

Nottingham course fees:

  • 1 term from £5,900
  • 2 terms from £9,010
  • 3 terms from £11,400

Fees are for the 2023–24 academic year and are subject to change.

Course length

  • 1, 2 or 3 terms of 12 weeks each (depending on your English language level) 

Start dates

  • Autumn (September–November)
  • Spring (January–April)
  • Summer (May–July)

What content is covered?

Want to learn more about our International Colleges?

Our International Colleges are affiliated with our partner universities. Here, you can learn more about how to present your ideas, and engage with research supervisors and current and former doctoral students while adapting to life in the UK. Learn more about how Kaplan colleges work

Not sure where you want to study? 

If you know you want to earn a doctoral degree from a UK university, but you don’t know where yet, don’t worry! We’re here to help — just get in touch and we’ll help you explore your options. 

Any other questions?

Is a doctoral degree preparation course the same as a pathway course?

A Pre-Doctorate works a little differently to our other pathway courses. It’s not an academic preparation course, but is focused on helping you prepare for a doctoral interview and guiding you through the application process. It doesn’t lead to a specific degree, so you’re free to explore the topics that interest you most.

How will a Pre-Doctorate help me?

Our doctoral preparation courses will equip you with the skills and knowledge you need to present yourself and your research to a panel, and give you opportunities to meet with research advisors. When you successfully pass, you’re guaranteed an interview with one of our partner universities, as long as your research interests align with theirs.

How do I apply for a Pre-Doctorate?

You’ll need to decide on your research area before you apply, and write a short description of the research you’d like to do. If you have applied for a doctoral degree, it is helpful to include any previous research proposals, so we can clearly identify the kind of support you need.