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PhD and MPhil degrees

David Poultney, Abstract tiles by Kehkashan Khalid, MA Visual Arts: Fine Art Digital, Camberwell College of Arts, 2019

Discover a PhD or MPhil awarded in any subject area at UAL with qualified and inspiring research supervision.

Join UAL's vibrant community of researchers. We offer theoretical and practice-based research programmes, leading to an MPhil or PhD.

There are currently over 300 research students at UAL who are members of our Doctoral School, benefitting from extensive researcher development support, and enjoying full access to all our College resources.

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Degree overview

A programme of self-directed independent study that takes places within a framework of researcher and professional development and with the support of an experienced supervisory team.

PhD degrees are doctoral level awards which are the highest level of academic degree. A PhD is awarded following successful completion of a research project and thesis which offers a significant new contribution to knowledge in the chosen subject area.

An MPhil is a postgraduate research master's degree which is awarded following completion of a research project and thesis.

Length of study

Please note, students who need a visa to study in the UK must study full time.

Full time

  • PhD: 4 years
  • MPhil: 3 years

Part time

  • PhD: 8 years
  • MPhil: 6 years

Choose a College

All of our Colleges and the Creative Computing Institute (CCI) offer practice based research programmes and you will have a home UAL College or Institute that supports your programme.

Take a look at our College research interests to help you decide which one to apply to:

Camberwell College of Arts

Research interests include:

  • Design curation
  • Design theory and practice
  • Painting
  • Drawing
  • Printmaking
  • Global photographies

Central Saint Martins

Research interests include:

  • Curatorial practices, histories and theories
  • Biodesign
  • Fashion history, theory and curation
  • Performance
  • Spatial practices and design for social innovation
  • Critical theory and art practices

Chelsea College of Arts

Research interests include:

  • Graphic design communication
  • History of art and design
  • Archival studies
  • Museology
  • Curating
  • Fine art

London College of Communication

Research interests include:

  • Graphic design
  • Media and communications
  • Film and moving image
  • Sound art
  • Photography and photojournalism

London College of Fashion

Research interests include:

  • Digital production
  • Sustainability
  • Psychology
  • Curation
  • Fashion
  • Design

Wimbledon College of Arts

Research interests include:

  • Theatre archives
  • Costume design
  • Scenography
  • Performance
  • Theatre

Creative Computing Institute

The UAL Creative Computing Institute (CCI) offers research opportunities and a public platform to explore computer science and creative computing.

Research centres

Finding a research centre may help you decide on a College. They operate across UAL and provide a focus for excellent research in areas of strength. Once enrolled, you can discuss membership of a Research Centre with your Director of Studies.

How to apply

At UAL you may start your Research Degree in either September or January and we encourage you to apply as early as possible:

Step 1: Check entry requirements


Minimum entry requirement is an upper second class honours (2:1) degree or equivalent from a recognised higher education institution.

However, a master's degree in an appropriate subject is considered to be a particularly valuable preparation for the academic and intellectual demands of an MPhil or PhD.

In some instances, applicants without the minimum academic requirement may be considered for a place if they can demonstrate appropriate alternative qualifications, relevant professional experience, or previous research.

Teaching experience is not a requirement for applicants, the quality of your research is the most important element of your application.

English language

If English is not your first language, you will need to meet our English language requirements by providing one of the following:

  • A recent UAL-approved English Language Test (ELT) - such as IELTS 7.0 with a 7.0 in writing and with no other component score lower than 6.0, or an equivalent test score - check the English language requirements webpage to see which other English language tests the University accepts;
  • Recent MA degree (Distinction only) in a majority English-speaking country;
  • Successful completion of UAL's Presessional Academic English Programme.

Your qualification needs to have been awarded no more than 2 years prior to your enrolment date.

You can apply before you receive your English Language Test or MA certificate. If you are offered a place, you will need to show your qualification before enrolment.

Requirements for distance learning overseas online applicants

In addition to meeting the standard academic and language eligibility requirements, applicants to the distance learning overseas online mode need to demonstrate that they:

  • can successfully conduct their research with the resources available to them at their distance learning place of study
  • have access to appropriate IT facilities, so that they can engage in supervision and training from their distance learning place of study
  • have the necessary time, commitment, and appropriate attitude toward distance learning online study.

Students on this mode do not hold a Student Visa so cannot enter the UK for the purpose of study or access UAL physical resources or buildings. Distance learning students have access to online resources available to all postgraduate students.

Please check that the distance learning route is recognised in your home country before submitting your application.

Please note: we advise overseas applicants to apply well in advance of preferred start date as the Student Visa application takes a minimum of 6 weeks.

Step 2: Draft a research proposal

Your research proposal is the most critical component of your research degree application. It will form the basis for discussion at your interview, and if your application is successful your proposal will also be used as the starting point for the Registration process.

Use the personal statement section of the online application form to tell us anything you couldn't express in the rest of the application within a 500 word limit.

Step 3: Find a supervisor

At UAL all students have 2 supervisors. We ensure that across the team there is both subject specialist knowledge in the field of your research and methodological approach, as well as experience of successful research degree supervision.

You may wish to approach a potential supervisor before applying although this is not necessary. We will find the best possible supervision team for your project on receiving your application.

When approaching a potential supervisor, you are advised to have a good draft of your research proposal ready.

If you know the name of a potential supervisor and have your proposal ready, you can contact them – find their contact details on our UAL Staff Researchers database by name or keyword.

Step 4: Apply for a PhD or MPhil

You can only apply to 1 research degree.

Start an application for a PhD or MPhil 2024/25, by choosing from the following options.

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Application deadlines and timeline

Applications for January 2025 will open on 3 June 2024.

Applications received after these dates may not be considered for your preferred start date:

  • Final application deadline to enrol in September: 31 May 2024
  • Final application deadline to enrol in January: 31 August 2024

Applications are welcome at any time of the year and we aim to respond to you within 6-weeks of receipt.

The full assessment of your suitability and the availability of supervision can take some time, typically 2-3 months from submission of your application.

Please note: applications submitted after 3 June will not be responded to until September.

Other application routes

  • Transfer MPhil and PhD from another institution: If you're currently registered on a degree programme at another university and would like to discuss transferring to UAL, please get in touch with our research degrees team.
  • Research degree by published work: We can consider applications for a programme of research degree by published work where applicants demonstrate research outputs that make a substantial contribution to knowledge.

For further information and details please contact our research team at

Fees and funding

Your tuition fee status (Home or International) is determined by your residency history, visa status and nationality. We will let you know what your tuition fee status will be after your application has been assessed. Please be aware that tuition fees are payable each academic year and are subject to change each academic year in line with inflation.


Study in the UK

  • Home full time: £6,000
  • Home part time: £3,000
  • International full time (new): £22,780
  • Writing up Status: £990

Online distance learning (international students only)

  • Full time: £22,780
  • Part time: £11,390
  • Writing up status: £990

PhD by published work

  • Home: £6,000
  • International: £22,780

Visiting students

  • £1,860 (per 3 months)


Study in the UK

  • Home full time: £6,300
  • Home part time: £3,150
  • International: £25,060
  • Writing Up Status: £1,040

Online distance learning (international students only)

  • Full time: £25,060
  • Part time: £12,530

PhD by published work

  • Home: £6,300
  • International: £25,060

Visiting students

  • £1,960 (per 3 months)


You can apply to UAL to pursue fully funded doctoral-level research studentships in arts and humanities subject areas. Find out more about funding opportunities.


Doctoral loans of up to £27,265 are now available for some students. Find out about doctoral loans and funding advice.

Join our community

  • Creative Process with Adrienne Bennie
    Creative Process with Adrienne Bennie, PhD Research Student. Image courtesy of UAL

    Doctoral School

    Find out more about UAL's Doctoral School.

  • Students in discussion
    Students in discussion - Blitz the Ambassador, The Burial of Kojo screening, Post-Grad Community at LCC.

    Support and community

    Take part in Research Network UAL (RNUAL) training activities designed to help you become an effective researcher and find more support information.

  • Photo of the Search room at University Archives and Special Collections Centre, London College of Communication
    Luke Potter, Image courtesy of UAL

    Archives and special collections

    Explore our archives and special collections dedicated to renowned graphic artists, filmmakers and designers.

  • Visitor during the Summer Show
    Image taken by Alys Tomlinson

    Post-Grad Community

    Get access to exciting opportunities, events and networking at UAL.

Contact us

Need help finding a supervisor?

Contact our team for advice: