How to apply

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.

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).

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.

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

  • your expected source of funding
  • your proposed research area

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 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 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.
  • 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.

Check our research funding webpage to find our latest funding opportunities

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.