PhD by distance learning

Our PhD by distance learning programme allows you to benefit from expertise and supervision from an academic in the Institute for Transport Studies, while conducting research from a location that suits your circumstances.  

The programme

If the nature of your research proposal allows it, you can apply to do a PhD by distance learning.

Your PhD by distance learning will be completed off campus, however, you will still benefit from the training and support granted to those conducting their research on site. You’ll have regular supervisor meetings and access to research group meetings. As well as remote guidance and support from our Graduate School, the Leeds Doctoral College, IT, the library and other specialist services.

Much like a traditional campus-based PhD, you can undertake our distance learning PhD on a full or part-time basis. A part-time degree is 60 months plus up to 24 months of overtime/continuation, if needed, to write the thesis.  A full-time degree is 36 months plus up to 12 months of overtime/continuation, if needed.

There may be instances where you wish to attend campus. This will be agreed between you and your supervision team. There is no minimum or maximum requirement for visits on this programme.


This programme is open to UK and International candidates on a full or part-time basis.  

If you are sponsored by a UKRI (UK Research and Innovation) scholarships or have been awarded a University of Leeds scholarship, you are not eligible to apply. Overseas candidates who have their own sponsorship are required to secure evidence from their sponsor explicitly stating that it will support a distance learning PhD. 

Entry requirements

The minimum entry requirement is a UK BSc/BA Honours 2.1 or equivalent, and in some cases, a postgraduate Masters degree may be needed (at supervisor discretion).  The focus will be on evidence of independent research and skills and the potential for research, and so relevant employment or work experience may be considered.

If English Language is not your first language, you will be required to possess an IELTS qualification of no less than 6.5 overall with no less than 6.0 in each individual component. 


See our research degrees fee information page for the latest fees. UK applicants will pay the standard UK fee, while International applicants will pay the fee set by the School of Geography regardless of which school you’ve applied for.

How to apply

In the first instance, you’ll need know if your area of research can accommodate a PhD by distance learning. You can do this by contacting an academic supervisor to discuss your proposed project, or send an enquiry to our graduate school

Formal applications for research degree study should be made online through the University's website. You will need to apply for the Provisional PhD in the relevant School within the Faculty of Environment, an example is ‘PHP-EENV-FT’ which is a Provisional PhD in the School of Earth and Environment (Environment) Full-Time.  It will therefore be important in the ‘Research Information’ (Section K) of the online study application to specifically say that you wish to be considered for a PhD by Distance Learning.