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.

NB! 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:



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 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. We kindly ask our pre-selected PhD candidates to follow the steps:

  1. Thoroughly discuss the research proposal with the prospective supervisor BEFORE the interviews;
  2. Prepare one A4 page research proposal, so the members of the selection committee can get acquainted with the candidate’s plans before the interview;
  3. Upload the research proposal .pdf document (approved by prospective research supervisor) by an indicated deadline before the PhD interviews take place;
  4. Be mindful that PhD candidates’ presentations without introduced research proposals during the interview won’t be considered and thus, such applications won’t qualify.


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 4 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: .