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Postgraduate course

Practice-led Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Combine your research with your creative practice. Immerse yourself in your chosen specialism and produce research of the highest academic quality.

Students writing ideas on glass with white marker pen

Pursue your intellectual interests and develop your creative practice by planning, designing, and conducting academic research that is led by your practice. An expert supervisory team will support you to develop your research and write your thesis. If you have an idea for a creative output that will lead to insight in current research, this is the course for you. Our practice-led PhDs are available on subjects in the School of Arts and the School of Humanities.

York campus

  • Duration – 2 to 4 years full time, 3 to 7 years part time
  • Start date – February 2022, October 2022

Minimum Entry Requirements

    2:1 degree in a related subject

    Master's qualification

Tuition Fees

    UK and EU 2021 entry £4,400 per year full time

    International 2021 entry £12,750 per year full time

Course overview

Your Practice-led PhD will be challenging, rewarding and will result in the highest educational qualification. Your research will be an original contribution to knowledge and your practice will help you understand the cultural framework that it contributes to.

You will collaborate with a supervisory team that has been carefully selected for you and be part of an exceptional research community of postgraduate researchers.

When you choose to study with us, you will get plenty of opportunities to enhance your professional personal skills. These could include:

  • Gaining teaching experience
  • Presenting your research at conferences and events
  • Engaging with further training
  • Working with the community.

Professional Development & Training

During your PhD, you will discuss additional training with your supervisory team. Your supervisors will help you identify your strengths and highlight areas for development. The university delivers a blended training programme that will help you to develop your research and professional skills, enhance your CV and your employability.

Course structure

How you will study

Your Practice-led PhD will consist of 3 stages where you will:

  • Produce a literature review of current research in your field
  • Pose a set of novel questions that advance knowledge in your area
  • Produce a creative output
  • Produce and submit your thesis
  • Attend a viva voce or oral examination.


In the initial stage of your Practice-led PhD you will focus on establishing a working relationship with your supervisory team. You will discuss your research proposal and create a suitable plan for your course. You will undertake an in-depth literature review to critique, analyse, and evaluate existing research. This will ensure the originality of your project. During this time, you will undergo a formal review with your supervisory team and a transfer assessment. The transfer will be in front of an academic panel who will independently assess the potential of your research project to lead to the award of a PhD.

During the second stage, you will be expected to create your practical piece. You will then plan how you will organise your thesis into coherent chapters for your thesis. You can present your research at conferences during this time and submit your work for publication. You will have a formal annual review to ensure your project is progressing.

Your final stage is where you will focus primarily on writing your thesis. You will have a final formal review alongside your regular supervisor meetings. At the end of your final phase, you will submit your thesis and undertake your viva voce. During this oral examination you will discuss and critically defend your thesis. An independent chair and examiners will be present to assess your thesis.

Entry Requirements


Minimum Entry Requirements

    2:1 degree in a related subject

    Master's qualification

International Students

If you are an international student you will need to show that your qualifications match our entry requirements.

Information about international qualifications and entry requirements can be found on our International pages.

If English is not your first language you will need to show that you have English Language competence at IELTS level 7.0 (with no skill below 6.0) or equivalent.

International entry requirements

Fees and Funding

UK and EU 2021 to 2022

The tuition fee for January 2022 entry to this PhD programme is £4,400 for full time UK/EU, Jersey, Guernsey and Isle of Man students.

For UK/EU, Jersey, Guernsey and Isle of Man candidates studying part time, the tuition fee for January 2022 entry to this PhD programme is £2,200 per year.

Doctoral loans are available to help you pay for your programme. Find out more about UK Government Doctoral loans.

International 2021 to 2022

The tuition fee for January 2022 entry to this PhD programme is £12,750 per annum for full time international candidates.

For international candidates on a part time programme the annual cost is £6,375.

More information about funding your PhD is available on our International Fees and Funding page.

International Visa and Immigration

Tuition Fees

    UK and EU 2021 entry £4,400 per year full time

    International 2021 entry £12,750 per year full time

Additional costs

Depending upon the nature of your research project, a bench fee might be applied as a separate cost to your tuition fee. Bench fees are normally incurred for laboratory consumables and other significant project costs and any goods will remain under the property of the University.

If you have any queries regarding bench fees, please speak to your potential supervisor during the application process.

Any bench fees will be included in your offer letter and if you accept, the charge will be in addition to your tuition fees.

Contact us to discuss your research proposal

If you know what subject you want to research, or just want to find out more, contacting a Research and Knowledge Transfer Lead is a great first step.

Our Research and Knowledge Transfer Leads can help you turn your interest and curiousity into a research proposal. They can also put you in touch with an academic who is researching a similar subject, and who can be your research supervisor during your course.

School Research and Knowledge Transfer Lead: Matthew Reason

Contact Matthew if you are interested in subjects relating to:

  • Drama and theatre
  • Music performance and production
  • Fine art, illustration and photography
  • Media production
  • Design
  • Visual communication.

School Research and Knowledge Transfer Lead: Matthew Clarke

Contact Matthew if you are interested in subjects relating to:

  • Language and linguistics
  • Children, young people and families
  • Teaching and education
  • Psychology and mental health.

School Research and Knowledge Transfer Lead: Abi Curtis 

Contact Abi if you are interested in subjects relating to:

  • History and American studies
  • Politics and international relations
  • Religion, theology, philosophy and ethics
  • English literature and media studies
  • Geography
  • Film Studies 
  • Media 
  • Media and Film Studies
  • Creative Writing. 

School Research and Knowledge Transfer Lead: Daniel Madigan

Contact Daniel if you are interested in subjects relating to:

  • Maths and data science
  • Computer science
  • Biosciences
  • Sport and health sciences.

School Research and Knowledge Transfer Lead: Alexandra Dales 

Contact Chris if you are interested in subjects relating to:

  • Business and management
  • Law
  • Sociology, criminology and policing
  • Accounting, economics and finance
  • Marketing
  • Tourism, hospitality and events.
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