Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures

School of Performance and Cultural Industries


How to Apply

Applications can be made at any time of the year. To apply for a Research Degree you will need to complete an online application form, which can be found here, and write a research proposal that follows the guidelines below. For all enquiries please contact the Graduate School Administrator Linda Watson pciphd@leeds.ac.uk or 0113 343 8713. It is advisable that you contact the School before submitting an application. We would normally expect a candidate to have contacted potential supervisors before they make an application.

Entry requirements

You must have achieved a bachelor degree with a 2:1 (hons), or equivalent, or a good performance in a Masters level course in a relevant subject. We also recognise relevant industrial and academic experience.

MPhil or MA by research 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 requirements

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

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.

For further information, please see visit the Language Centre’s website or contact via e-mail langc@leeds.ac.uk

Application checklist

Scholarship Application PhD Application
Scholarship Application Form PhD Application form
Two Academic References Two Academic References
Transcripts and Certificates including grading system of your undergraduate and postgraduate degrees Transcripts and Certificates including grading system of your undergraduate and postgraduate degrees
PhD Application form IELTS certificate (where appropriate)
Formal offer letter CV
IELTS certificate (where appropriate) Research proposal
Accompanying statement

Writing your research proposal

Your proposal should be up to 3000 words (including the bibliography).  We use your proposal to assess the potential of your topic for research, and to match your interests with appropriate supervisors.

Please give the following information in separate sections:

  • Whether you are applying for a PhD or a practice-led PhD (where your research questions can only be answered through practical engagement)
  • Your central research question.
  • A list of sub-questions that inform or underpin the central research question.
  • Context.  This should take the form of a brief outline of the general area of study, and should do the following: identify the context within which you place your research; identify the key relevant literature and/or practice for your proposed research project; demonstrate that you are aware of current debates and issues; make reference to key articles and texts; demonstrate your own expertise in your chosen area; and articulate the potential contribution to new knowledge in the chosen field of research (for example, what are the gaps in the field that you can see, or what limitations are there in the current field).   A PhD is an original piece of work and this section should demonstrate that your proposed area of study has not been studied before or that you have a new angle on this area of study or that you are applying new methodologies and/or models to this area of study. 
  • Methodology.  An outline of the methods you intend to employ in your research and the kinds of data you will require.  You may use a variety of methods, including qualitative methods, literature review and studio experimentation, amongst others.  Specify the approach you feel will be most appropriate for your research project.
  • An explanation of why you are interested in this research and why you are well placed to conduct the research. 
  • Practice-led Research Rationale.  If you are applying for practice-led research a rationale for choosing this method of research and evidence of your experience of working through practice
  • Timetable.  Indicative timetable for your research
  • Bibliography.  A brief bibliography that supports the key concepts, frameworks and, if appropriate, existing practices/performances, that you have discussed in your context section.
  • Sample of your own practice. If you are applying for practice-led research then you should supply a sample of your work on a DVD or a web site. (If you need to submit your sample in another format then please contact us to check that we will be able to access it.) The sample should be of suitable length and content for us to assess the quality of your practice in relation to your proposed methodology.

If you have any questions about writing your research proposal, please contact the Postgraduate Research Tutor Dr Ben Walmsley b.walmsley@leeds.ac.uk for more information.

What happens next?

When the School receives your application, we will contact you. Wherever possible, we call candidates for interview. For international students, this can be a telephone interview. We will let you know the result of your application as soon as possible.

The University of Leeds welcomes applications from international students, and has a network of overseas representatives who are happy to inform and advise international students about the University.

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