How to apply

Apply online now, or follow this guide explaining steps one, two, three, and four to complete your application.

Step 1 — choose an existing research project or start your own

We offer a number of research project opportunities.

Directly-funded research projects: These are typically attached to a specific research project and usually cover tuition fees and maintenance for living expenses. PhD studentships are very competitive so it’s important that once you’ve found a project you apply as early as possible.

Project opportunities: If you have already secured your own funding (ie through your own finances, external funding or through a University of Leeds funding scheme), you can browse through our database or project opportunities to find one which matches your research interests.   

Start your own project: If you’d like to start your own research project, the first thing you’ll need to do is find a supervisor.

Your potential supervisor must be an expert in the topic you’re interested in to ensure that your research is accurate and adding to current knowledge.

When you contact a potential supervisor, be prepared to discuss your area of research, proposed topic and research interests.

Step 2 – apply for a research degree

You can apply for your research degree online.

Make sure you complete the application form as fully as you can.

All applications require you to provide the following documents:

  • copies of your degree certificate(s)
  • copies of your transcripts of marks achieved for all qualifications
  • evidence of English language qualifications (if applicable)
  • references, if available (alternatively, the admissions team will contact your named academic referees directly)
  • CV (this will provide important information as to work experience and publications)
  • if you’ve applied online you’ll be able to log in and track your application’s progress at any time.

Directly-funded research projects (including Centres for Doctoral Training) - You’ll need to provide the following information:

  • your proposed research area
  • a brief summary of your research interests
  • important information: please add the title of the funded research project/Centre for Doctoral Training in both the ‘funding’ and ‘research area/title’ section of the application form.
  • if applying for a directly-funded project, there is no need to supply a separate research proposal.

Research opportunities - You’ll need to provide the following information:

  • your expected source of funding
  • your proposed research area
  • a brief summary of your research interests
  • ff applying for a specific research project opportunity, there is no need to supply a separate research proposal.

Start your own project - You’ll need to provide the following information:

  • your expected source of funding
  • your proposed research area

International applicants only

The UK Government’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) operates a scheme called the Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS). 

If you’re an international (non-EU/EEA or Swiss citizen) applicant and require a student visa to study in the UK then you may require an ATAS certificate to undertake a PhD at the University of Leeds. 

Our admissions team will provide you with further information once you’ve applied.

Step 3 – find and apply for funding

You don’t need to complete this step if:

  • you’ve already secured funding
  • you’ve applied for a funded research project.

If you’re hoping to secure funding for your PhD, there are many options available.

  • You can browse our available scholarships using our database. Scholarships are awarded on the basis of academic merit and are very competitive, so it’s important that you apply as early as possible.
  • Trusts, charities and foundations. There are many trusts, charities and foundations that award partial funding for postgraduate study. There are huge numbers of applications for these sums of money, so you’ll need a strong case to make a successful application.

Useful external sources

Step 4 – accept your offer

If your application is successful you’ll be sent an offer letter.

You can accept your offer online using your web login ID and web login PIN.

If you do accept your offer you’ll be agreeing to the terms and conditions outlined in your acceptance letter and you should only do so if you have secured funding for your studies.