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

We offer a number of research project opportunities.

We accept self-funded and externally sponsored students, but the vast majority of PhD researchers are fully funded by various sources of funding (Research councils, Scholarships, Charities, Industrial Funding, and so on). 

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.
 
Research project opportunities: Whether you're looking for funding or are a self-funded applicant, you can browse through our database of project opportunities to find one which matches your research interests. If you're looking for funding, there are other types of funding (DTP awards, University of Leeds funding scheme) which the school allocates to the successful candidate and project. 

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.

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
  • 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.

Research project 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
  • grade(s) or degree classification(s) for your degree-level qualifications.

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

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 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.
  • 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.