How to apply to PhD program



To be eligible to apply to CDSE PhD program, by the time of enrollment at Skoltech, the PhD candidates should hold or expect an MSc degree (or an equivalent like Specialist degree) from a recognized higher education institution and in the area of study that is relevant to the CDISE research group that the PhD candidate is looking for.

Check PhD Positions

We highly encourage all PhD applicants, firstly, to check the list of open CDISE PhD positions and pay special attention to eligibility criteria.



Find out about the dates of the upcoming PhD selection wave.

Stage 1. Before submission of online application

CDSE PhD applicants should preliminarily review the CDISE faculty profiles and CDISE research groups and get in touch (via e-mail) with the corresponding faculty members before the submission of the online application. Remember that your prospective research proposal should align with CDISE research directions (see below). Also, you are welcome to check offered open PhD positions from the CDISE faculty.



Stage 2. Application at Skoltech’s online portal

As part of the process, the PhD candidates must fill the online application and submit the following admission documents:

    • Motivation letter
    • Resume/CV
    • Two letters of reference
    • Proof of English language proficiency, i.e., TOEFL or IELTS certificates with minimal scores:
      • 80 on the TOEFL iBT
      • 450 on the TOEFL ITP
      • 6.0 on the IELTS
      • Students may submit an application without this information, but all will be asked to provide it at a later date.
    • Scans of transcripts, in English (and original language) of all higher education institutions, attended. In the application phase, copies will be sufficient, but official copies must be provided at a later date.
    • Photo
    • Optional:
      • Results of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE)
      • All relevant certificates or awards
    • NB! PhD candidates should indicate the CDISE faculty member(s) whom they have already contacted and discussed a possible research proposal.


Stage 3. Selection Days

After PhD applicants pre-screening, the pre-selected PhD candidates are invited to Selection Days, where they undergo a face-to-face interview with CDISE faculty members and take an English test (for those who don’t have TOEFL or IELTS certificate). Invitations to Selection Days are reserved for those PhD candidates who submitted the strongest online applications and have preliminarily reached out to the corresponding CDISE faculty members.

Another essential element of PhD selection to the CDSE program is the submission of research proposals. Writing a suitable research proposal can be very challenging and may take a considerable amount of time and effort. To excel in this process, we encourage you to follow the next steps:

  1. Thoroughly discuss your research proposal with a prospective supervisor BEFORE submission.
  2. Compose the draft in advance: it will allow your supervisor to give feedback on your draft and ensure that your proposal aligns with CDISE research directions.
  3. Upload the research proposal .pdf document (approved by prospective research supervisor) by the indicated deadline. It will allow the members of the selection committee to get acquainted with the candidate’s plans before the interview.
  4. During the interview, concisely present the research proposal: be mindful that PhD candidates’ presentations without introduced research proposals during the interview won’t be considered and thus, such applications won’t qualify.


Research proposal: objectives, key points & formatting


Selection criteria

During the interviews, the PhD candidates will be assessed on the following selection criteria:

  1. Motivation and dedication to complete the PhD program within 3 years
  2. Academic background
  3. Completeness and consistency of your PhD research plan
  4. Alignment of your research proposal to the CDISE research directions and CDISE research groups


For more information and additional inquiries, please visit the FAQ section or contact the Admissions office: .