How to apply

Applying for a PhD at the University is easy!

Apply online now, or follow this step-by-step guide to complete your application.

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

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.

Find a PhD/research project

We occasionally advertise funded research projects that you can apply to directly. These are very competitive and you must apply to these at the earliest opportunity. Regularly check our research opportunities webpage to find our latest projects.

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.

Directly-funded PhD/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
  • grade(s) or degree classification(s) for your degree-level qualifications.

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.

Start your own project

You’ll need to provide the following information:

  • your expected source of funding
  • your proposed research area
  • grade(s) or degree classification(s) for your degree-level qualifications.

All applications require you to provide the following documents:

  • copies of your degree certificate(s)
  • transcripts of marks achieved in degree-level qualifications
  • evidence of English language qualifications (if applicable)
  • references, if available (alternatively, the Faculty will contact your named academic referees directly).

If possible, please include a 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.

International applicants only

Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS)

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 graduate school 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 available scholarships via our funding 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.

Other sources of funding

University of Leeds

The University's postgraduate scholarships website gives you access to a searchable database of all University postgraduate research funding opportunities.

Research Council funding

Every year the University receives over £7m from the Research Councils to fund new postgraduate scholarships (both Masters and research). 

You should check the relevant Research Council website for further information:

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.