4. Write a Research Proposal

Your application will usually include a 1,000 to 3,000-word research proposal (For EdD applicants, one academic writing is required instead of research proposal). This will be judged on both content and format. A well-written research proposal will help us assess your suitability for graduate-level research and whether we can support your proposed area of study.

For advice on how to write a research proposal, please visit here. We recommend that you discuss your proposal with a member of staff who has expertise in your field. This can also help you to identify a potential supervisor. 


5. Prepare Supporting Documents

When completing your application, you will need to upload all required supporting documents and you will not be able to submit your application without these (except for the English language score report). Please note that only the Portable Document Format (PDF) files can be uploaded except the photo (JPG).

Supporting documents, like transcript submitted in any language other than English must be accompanied by a certified English translation. For example, applicants attending a Chinese university should provide transcripts in both Chinese and English.

For following materials , including Chinese national ID, Chinese university degree certificate and graduation diploma, and certification provided by the Chinese Service Centre for Scholarly Exchange, English translation is not required.  

Degree certificates

 Applicants who obtained a degree from a Chinese University must provide:

(1)    Scanned copies of both the degree certificate and graduation diploma for undergraduate and postgraduate studies.

(2)    The English “Online Verification Report of Higher Education Qualification Certificate” obtained from China Higher Education Student Information (CHSI中国高等教育学生信息网). Or a certified English translation of the above documents by the attended university with its official stamp (on university headed paper, preferably).

Applicants who obtained a degree from a recognized university in UK or other countries/regions must provide:

(1)    A scanned copy of the degree certificate.

(2)    A certified English translation of the above document by the attended university with its official stamp if it is in any language other than English.

(3)    Chinese applicants who obtained a degree abroad or in Taiwan, Hong Kong or Macau must also provide the certification obtained from the Chinese Service Centre for Scholarly Exchange (教育部留学服务中心). 

Please Note:

If the programme you attended is a joint one, please provide all relevant documents, such as degree certificates and transcripts obtained from both universities.

If you are currently studying for a degree programme, please provide a studying certificate instead.


Applicants must provide official transcripts with marks for all the individual modules/courses taken during undergraduate and postgraduate studies and their certified English translations. It should also include the final score or GPA to which schools normally refer to evaluate an applicant’s academic performance. If your academic transcript lacks a final weighted average score, GPA, or degree classification, please provide a statement of your weighted average score or GPA issued by your university.

Only official transcripts with a university stamp will be accepted. 

A provisional transcript can be provided if you are still taking some modules, but an official  transcript must be submitted before a given deadline.

If your current course will not be completed until later in the year and you will not be able to receive your final transcript and degree certificates before the September entry, your application will be assessed for the following entry in February. If the programme for which you applied does not have an entry in the spring, such as the Master of Research (MRes), you should wait and apply for the next intake.


Step 1: Nominate Two Referees

While filling in the application form, you will need to nominate two referees who can provide academic references written in English to support your application.

Please ensure you have their consent before filling in their names and email addresses (an institutional email address is preferred). 

You may nominate your personal tutor, your thesis supervisor, or an academic staff member from your previous studies as your academic referees. At least one should be from the institution where you gained your most advanced qualification.

If you graduated for quite some time ago and are not able to nominate two academic referees from your previous universities, you may nominate your employer as one of your referees.

To avoid conflicts of interest, please do not nominate your potential supervisors as any of your academic referees.

Step 2: Request Reference Letters

You are advised to request the reference letters in the application system as early as possible because you cannot submit the application until your two reference letters have been received.

Once a request is made, your referees will receive an email with a link sent from the online Application HUB. Your referees are expected to submit their reference letters via the link within 14 days (before the link expires). Once the reference letters are submitted, you will be notified by the application system. 

In a few circumstances, additional references may be requested to support your application. If this happens in your case, you will be contacted directly.

A brief CV/Resume

Personal Statement

If you are applying for a PhD programme in the Nottingham University of Business School China, please provide a personal statement.

English Language test score report

Please provide the English Language test score report, e.g. IELTS, TOEFL IBT, PTE academic, if applicable. Native English speakers or applicants with an entry qualification that was obtained from a country/region as listed where English is the native language are not required for this qualification. Please refer to the English Language Requirement Page for details.

Identity Card/Passport

Domestic Chinese applicants must provide copies of both sides of your Identity Card.

Hong Kong and Macau applicants must also provide the Mainland travel permit card in addition to your Identity Card.

Taiwan applicants must provide both sides of your Mainland travel permit card.

International applicants must provide a copy of your passport.


An electronic copy of a passport-sized photo taken within three months of this application is required.

One two-inch, colour, bareheaded photo with a white background is needed (Note: the head must occupy two-thirds of the size of the photo, be no less than 320 × 240 pixels, with an aspect ratio of 4:3; the size should be 100–500 kb; jpg format).

Other supporting documents

Any supporting documents to demonstrate the research potential, if applicable, e.g. published papers, conference papers, patents, etc., should be submitted.
Along with a published paper, please provide the indexed webpage of it. 
If you have a patent, in addition to the scanned document, please provide the relevant information, e.g. patent number, type of patent, has the patent been granted or not.

6. Submit Your Application

You can submit your application when your research proposal is completed and when all supporting documents are ready. After your application is submitted, you will not have a chance to update your research proposal.

For one entry, you can only submit one application for one Postgraduate research programme.

Application fee

There is no application fee for postgraduate research courses. 

Apply Online

Please Note:

If you would like to supplement a qualified English language test report or final transcript after your application is submitted, please send them to PGR@nottingham.edu.cn, quoting your name and application number.

You should be prepared to provide original documents or original certified copies of supporting documents at registration and upon request at any time. Failure to do so may result in your candidacy being rejected. 

If you have any questions about these requirements, please refer to our frequently asked questions. If you cannot find what you are looking for or encounter any technical difficulties in completing the application form, please email PGR@nottingham.edu.cn. Please quote your name and application number when sending an email for inquiry if you have submitted an application online.