How to apply

Student reading in the Laidlaw Library cafe

You can apply for a postgraduate research degree at any point during the year, however we recommend applying before mid-June if you wish to commence your studies in October.

In order to apply you will need to produce a draft outline of your proposed research, using the following headings:

  • title/topic
  • research questions and focus
  • background to the proposal
  • research methods to be used
  • timetable
  • short bibliography.

Supporting documents

Alongside the draft outline of your proposed research, you will also need to provide the following supporting documents to apply:

  • two references
  • a copy of your degree certificate, or equivalent
  • a transcript of your degree results
  • a copy of your IELTS/TOEFL results (if applicable).


You will need to contact your two referees yourself, asking them to provide information in regards to:

  • your character
  • your academic record. If your referees are from your university this information should include your overall degree grade and performance in individual subjects
  • their assessment of your suitability for the relevant postgraduate degree scheme.

Guidance on references

We need at least two academic references for a research degree application. It is in your own interests to ensure that your referees are able and willing to return the form promptly to us, particularly if you have applied later in the year.

At least one reference must be from the academic institution which you are currently attending, or have most recently attended. Also note:

  • references must not be written by fellow students, family members or friends
  • if you have graduated more than five years ago we will accept one work-based reference
  • if you have graduated more than ten years ago we will accept two work-based references
  • work references should be written by someone more senior to yourself in the organisation where you work
  • the reference should either be written on letter headed paper or on the University of Leeds reference form
  • references should be emailed directly to by your referees.

How we review your application

Our admissions team will review your proposed research and make a decision based on:

  • your research proposal
  • the potential fit between your topic and our expertise
  • supervisors’ interest in being involved
  • referees’ reports
  • degree results
  • schools resources
  • and wherever possible, an interview.


If you have any queries on applying please contact postgraduate research admissions:


Tel: +44 (0)113 343 8056