Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures

School of Performance and Cultural Industries


Research Postgraduate

The School’s portfolio of Postgraduate Research degrees provides opportunities for students to extend their disciplinary horizons through advanced, individually tailored research projects, under the guidance of leading academics. The School offers MA by Research, MPhil and PhD programmes, examined by fully written thesis. Alternatively candidates can undertake practice-led research in any field of performance leading to MPhil/PhD in Theatre/Dance/Performance, examined by practical outcome and written critical commentary.

In this section:

Programmes offered

Practice-led MPhil/PhD Theatre/Dance/Performance
MA by Research

PhD by Distance Learning

The School of Performance and Cultural Industries now also offers PhD by Distance Learning, for further information please contact Dr Mic Spencer, Head of the Graduate School: m.spencer@leeds.ac.uk


In the School, performance is understood not only as theatre, drama and dance, but also as a whole range of performance genres, such as live art, body and performance art, cyber performances and installations. It includes performance design (scenography), dramaturgy and writing for performance. The variety of contemporary performance is contextualised within practices and theories of the arts and cultural industries.

Taking an interdisciplinary approach across the arts, humanities and social sciences, staff within the School work collaboratively with academic and industry partners in the UK and internationally. We welcome applicants for postgraduate study with an interest in any aspect of performance and the cultural industries, their role in contemporary society and their future development.

For 2018-19, we are particularly encouraging proposals that focus on the following topics:

  • Applied and participatory performance
  • Audience development and engagement
  • Creative city policy and practice
  • Cultural engagement, participation and class
  • Cultural politics of urban creativity
  • Culture and development / regeneration
  • Dramatic writing, writing for theatre, dramaturgy and adaptation
  • Environmental and site-specific performance
  • Feminism and the spectacle of the female body
  • Immersive performance and the audience experience
  • Opera (dramaturgy, ethnography and historiography)
  • Performer training, particularly in the areas of critical historiography, cognitive science and digital/online environments
  • Theories and histories of theatre directing


For more details please visit

Staff and PhD profiles

Research publications and projects

Download the School’s Research Culture document to find out more about research activity in the School

Why Leeds?

A degree from Leeds means more

Choose Leeds and you will leave us as a highly skilled, well-developed individual able to make the transition into the workplace easily. You’ll stand out by your ability to talk confidently about your attributes and skills, and the way in which these have been shaped by not only your academic experience but everything you have done throughout your time here.
We have a truly cosmopolitan campus with an international student population of nearly 6,000 drawn from 142 countries. We work hard to make you feel at home wherever you come from and to support you through your time here. You will find that there is a very friendly atmosphere here and a sense of community among our 33,000 students.

The campus

The University is on a single campus about a ten-minute walk away from Leeds city centre. It is an eclectic mix of the old and the new reflecting its 100 years history. Brand new buildings and state-of-the-art facilities co-exist with impressive older landmark buildings. Everything you are likely to need is on campus, with the added benefit of the bustling city a stone’s throw away. Leeds is the ‘capital’ of the Yorkshire and Humber region and a renowned centre for shopping, arts, sport, leisure, entertainment and nightlife. It has everything you would expect from a major city and is surrounded by beautiful, accessible countryside and many places of interest.

Investing in your future

Exciting changes are taking place on the campus. By 2015 we will have spent £194m on new buildings and refurbishment to provide you with a sustainable environment and the facilities appropriate for a world-class institution – that works out at over £5,000 per student. Our new £12m gym and pool, The Edge, which has more fitness facilities than any other UK university, is just one example of recent developments.

Leeds University Union

Our award-winning students’ union is one of the largest in the country and has over 300 clubs and societies for you to choose from.

Entry Requirements

PhD candidates are normally required to have a good honours degree (First or Upper Second), and it is usually advantageous to have completed a Masters degree in a related subject area, or to have significant and relevant professional experience in place of a master’s qualification.

MA by research and MPhil candidates are normally required to have a good first degree in a related subject area.  If you are proposing to undertake research that includes practice-led elements you will normally be able to demonstrate appropriate experience and proficiency in relevant areas of practice.

English Language Qualifications
Applicants whose first language is not English will be required to take an English Language Qualification and achieve the following entry requirements;

IELTS:  6.5 Overall with no less than 6.0 in all components

TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) internet-based test: a total score of 92, with not less than: 21 in listening, 21 in reading, 22 in writing, and 23 speaking.

The University of Leeds Language Centre provides an Academic English for Postgraduate Studies pre-sessional course which is designed to help international students develop the necessary language and academic study skills required for successful study on a research degree programme. Courses start in September, January, April, July or August. For further information, please see visit the Language Centre’s website or contact via e-mail: langc@leeds.ac.uk

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