United Kingdom
In UK, a university is in principle free to admit anyone to a Ph.D. program. In practice, however, admission is usually conditional on the prospective student that has successfully completed an undergraduate degree with (at least) upper second-class honours, or a postgraduate master's degree.
In the UK, funding for Ph.D. students is sometimes provided by government-funded Research Councils or the European Social Fund. The funding is usually in the form of a tax-free bursary which consists of tuition fees together with a stipend (around GBP 12,600 per year, rising to 14,300 per year in London) for three years, no matter if the degree continues for longer. Research Council funding is sometimes "reserved" for a particular department or research group. Department or research group then allocate the funding to a chosen student. In doing so, they are generally expected to abide by the usual minimum entry requirements. These are typically a first degree with upper second class honours, although successful completion of a postgraduate master's degree is usually counted as raising the class of the first degree by one division fro these purposes. Especially in humanities, social studies, and pure science subject and some other disciplines, the availability of funding means that in practice only those with the best research proposals, backgrounds and references are likely to be awarded a studentship. The Economic and Social Science Research Council (ESRC) explicitly state that a 2.1 minimum or 2.2 plus additional masters degree is required - there are no additional marks that are given for students with a first class honours or a distinction at masters level.

There has been a move by research councils since 2002 to fund interdisciplinary doctoral training centers (such as MOAC) which concentrate on communication between traditional disciplines and an emphasis on transferable skills (in addition to research training).

In order to reduce the tuition fees, many students who are not in receipt of external funding may choose to undertake the degree part time as well as creating free time in which they are able to earn money for subsistence.

There also is a possibility for students to take part in tutoring, work as research assistants, or, in some cases, deliver lectures, at a rate of typically US$25,30 per hour, in order to supplement existing low income or as a sole means of funding.
Typically, the funding lasts for three or four years full-time and this period is usually extended pro rata for par-time students. At the end of this period the thesis is submitted. Commonly, there is a first-year assessment which could (for example) be a Certificate of postgraduate studies. The final date for the thesis can be (with special dispensation) extended for up to four additional years (for a total of seven). However, it is rare for students to spend more than four years in the program. The United Kingdom funding councils have since the early 1990s adopted a policy of penalizing the departments of students who fail to submit their theses in four years by reducing the number of funded places in subsequent years.