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I am currently a postgraduate whose degree is near completion, and I would like to apply for a PhD in the United Kingdom. I am a first generation student which means that I have limited awareness of the application process for PhD level study until now. I have started to approach potential supervisors about my project but have not yet applied.

At the moment, I have a list of universities which could support my research with each institution permitting different word allowances for the proposal. One lecturer recommended that I apply to all available universities which can offer appropriate support. However, this list is shorter than originally planned due to my research interests being too different from the available supervisors in the United Kingdom. Please note that I have not considered any university outside of the United Kingdom. Is there any recommendation on the number of applications or institutions you should make? For example, prospective Undergraduate applicants in my home country are advised to apply to at least five different universities. Although, I am aware the application process for a PhD vastly differs from taught-based courses.

Overall, I am in the early stages of applications and would appreciate general guidelines on number of applications to make. If I do not have enough then I can try to approach new universities.

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  • Casting your net wide is important, but of course you should still be able to tailor your application specifically to each program you apply to. I don't think there is a hard number we can give you here, it depends far too much on your personal circumstances (like, if I understand correctly, your coming from outside the UK), and as you write, on the number of universities and programs that are actually reasonable possibilities. If at all possible, try to leverage any kind of mentor you have at your institution, and their network. Commented Nov 19, 2023 at 16:16

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