The CVR PhD Programme: Your PhD - Your Choice

Key Dates
Closing Date for Applications: 7th January 2024
Interview Date: 20th February 2024
PhD Start Date: 1st October 2024

Click here to APPLY NOW and start your application.

Students on the MRC-funded CVR PhD Programme are fully funded for four years, including stipend, tuition fees and consumables. They join a diverse cohort of postgraduate research students at the CVR - the training and support provided to these cohorts is described here. In addition, students on the programme begin their PhD with two rotation projects to help them construct a main project that is uniquely tailored to their own research interests.

Tackling the global threat of viruses requires a multidisciplinary, multilevel, multi-partner approach. We are a committed champion of team science, working to remove barriers between basic and clinical sciences, laboratory and computational approaches and human and veterinary virology. Because of this, students on the CVR PhD Programme do not immediately pick a thesis project when they start their PhD. Instead, they carry out two rotation projects before working with their chosen supervisors to devise a main thesis project, tailored to their interests, that draws on the expertise of one or more of our research groups.

The rotation projects serve several purposes:

  • they help students to devise a project that closely matches their own interests and ambitions and which can span the strengths of different research groups
  • they provide a wider variety of initial research training
  • they ensure that each student is working with supervisors and in research teams that are a good fit with their own style of working.

Students on the CVR PhD Programme can carry out rotations in any group in the CVR provided they have not worked in these groups previously (it is possible to return to a group that a student is familiar with for the main thesis project after carrying out rotation projects in different groups), and can carry out their main project in any group in the CVR, provided their primary supervisor did not accept a student from the previous year’s students in this programme.

Look through our research groups to find out about the labs you could work in and the kind of research you could be doing.


A tax-free stipend (currently £18,522 GBP per year for academic session 2024/25), funding to cover tuition fees and a generous allowance to cover consumables and travel (including international conference attendance).

Admission Requirements

Funding is available to cover an annual tax-free stipend, currently £18,522 for academic session 2024/25 and tuition fees.

For the 2024 intake we are offering three studentships, one of which is available to International Students with the others available to Home Students.

To be classed as a Home Student, candidates must meet the following criteria:

  • Be a UK National (meeting residency requirements), or
  • Have settled status, or
  • Have pre-settled status (meeting residency requirements), or
  • Have indefinite leave to remain or enter For more details, please refer to the MRC’s studentship funding pages.

Application Process

Key Dates
Closing Date for Applications: 7th January 2024
Interview Date: 20th February 2024
PhD Start Date: 1st October 2024

Click here to APPLY NOW and start your application.

We have prepared a detailed Application Checklist to help you prepare your application. Please read this carefully before submitting your application.

CVR PhD Application Checklist

A brief summary of the application process is given below.

In the 'Support Documents' section of the application, applicants must upload the following essential documents:

  1. The CVR PhD Programme’s Application Form: download by clicking on the button below
  2. CV (one A4 page maximum)
  3. Covering letter (one A4 page maximum)
  4. Degree certificates (if you have already graduated). Provide a scanned copy, in colour, of the original document(s), with an official English translation if needed.
  5. Final or current academic transcripts, including grades. Provide a scanned copy, in colour, of the original document(s), with an official English translation if needed.
  6. A scan of the photo page of your passport.
  7. Details of two references (academic and/or professional) must be provided, who will be asked to submit references on headed paper directly to

CVR PhD Application Form

Please note that, other than your Application Form, no sample of your written work is required.

The university application portal above is designed for a wide range of courses, and two specific features of the CVR PhD Programme should be noted carefully:

Firstly, we ask all applicants to submit an additional Application Form as a supporting document (see point 1, above). This form will be the only document used for shortlisting, and to minimise the impact of unconscious bias, it does not include the applicant’s name, gender, nationality, or the institutions at which they have studied – these details will only be disclosed to the recruitment panel after applications have been shortlisted for interview.

Secondly, in step 11 of the online application process, you will be asked to detail supervisor/project title information. You will not yet know these details as the CVR PhD Programme begins with rotation projects and you are not applying for a specific project at this stage. Instead, you can either choose a name from the drop-down box or you can populate these sections with ‘N/A.’ (Please note that your response will not affect the scoring of your application.) There is no requirement to upload a research proposal.

Shortlisted applicants will be invited to an interview in late February 2024. In-person interviews will be arranged where possible but online interviews can be arranged for international applicants if necessary. For in-person interviews, reasonable travel expenses will be reimbursed and accommodation made available as required.

If you receive an offer, we will ask you to decide within a reasonable timeframe whether to join the CVR. By accepting our offer, you will be making a binding commitment to the CVR MRC PhD Programme, and we will ask you to withdraw your applications for other PhD programmes.

Any questions about the programme or eligibility requirements should be directed to