How to Apply

Applications for admission in 2022-23 opened on 1st September, 2021.

A Fairer Way to Apply

The Doctoral Training Centre is leading a pilot assessment procedure to address conscious and unconscious bias. Full details about this procedure can be found here.


Anonymized References

Please ask anyone you invite to write a reference for you to anonymize what they write. Please ask your referees not to use language that reveals any protected characteristic, such as gender, race, sexuality, etc.


Standardized CVs

We also ask you to submit a CV in a standard format. The questions that you will need to complete for this can be found at the following link: 


How to Write a Statement of Purpose

Your application requires a "Statement of Purpose"; we give you some advice about how to write one below.

It should be a maximum of 1000 words.

Your “Statement of Purpose” describes, in English, how your background and research interests relate to the SABS programme. You should follow the structure we give below. Your statement should focus primarily on academic, research, or employment-related achievements and interests, rather than personal achievements and interests.

Make sure your Statement of Purpose is anonymized with respect to your name, ethnicity, and gender, etc. Anonymization of application forms is one of the actions we are taking as part of a pilot aimed at minimizing conscious and implicit bias in the admissions procedure for graduate students.

If possible, please ensure that the word count is clearly displayed in your Statement.

  1. Briefly explain your motivation for undertaking doctoral study, including at least one specific example of how you have prepared yourself for doctoral study that illustrates your commitment and motivation.
  2. Summarise your previous achievements and experience, in particular any research you have conducted, relevant employment or work experience (if any), and/or any activities that illustrate your personal strengths, research, programming, communication, and/or team skills.
  3. Describe your current research interests and identify any potential supervisors or groups you are particularly interested in working with, explaining which aspect of their work most interests you. SABS has three major research themes; please also indicate which area(s) you are most interested in:
  • Theme 1: Computational & Data-Driven Structural Approaches to Drug Discovery
  • Theme 2: Cellular Microscopy and Image Analysis Underpinning Biomedical Discovery
  • Theme 3: Physiological Modelling Underpinning Biomedical Discovery
  1. Explain your motivation for applying to the SABS doctoral programme and why you would be a suitable candidate for the programme.

Your Statement of Purpose will be assessed for:

  • Your reasons for applying.
  • Evidence of your motivation for and understanding of the proposed area of study.
  • Your ability to present a reasoned case in English.
  • Your preliminary knowledge of research techniques.
  • Your understanding of problems in the area and ability to construct and defend an argument.

It is normal for your ideas and goals to change in some ways as you participate in the programme, so you are not committed to work in the specific subject area or with the supervisor(s) you highlight in your application. You should, nevertheless, do your best to demonstrate your current research interests and aspirations.

For further information and instructions as to how to make a full application, please see the Graduate Admissions page. If you have any queries, please contact