How to Apply

PhD and research degrees

Student looking at an IPad in the Leeds University Business School cafe

The application process

If you are interested in applying for our PhD or MA by Research programmes, please follow the steps below.

If you are applying for the MSc Research programmes (where you study for a taught Masters and then a PhD, also known as the 1+3 route) we need to assess your suitability for both elements at the same time, so you would need to complete the steps below as well as a Masters application

All completed research applications will first be reviewed by the relevant division in the Business School and then forwarded to potential supervisors. Candidates will only be offered a place on the programme if a suitable supervisory team is agreed. Please note that it is generally easier to find supervisory teams when research proposals fit closely with the research interests of staff (see Step 1: Locating your research).

Step 1: Locating your research

Before you apply, it is important that you take the time to review our current research activity to identify where your research interests link to our work and expertise. This process is known as locating your research. Once you have identified where your research proposal fits within the Business School you will need to complete the Locating your Research form as part of your application.

Step 2: Gathering supporting documentation

To speed up the application process, we would recommend that you have the supporting documents below ready to submit with your application form.

  • Research proposal. This document is essential in identifying potential supervisors. See writing your research proposal for further details. You will be asked to upload an electronic copy of your research proposal.
  • Locating your Research form. Once you have finished Step 1 you will have completed the Locating your Research form, which should be submitted with your application.
  • Certified copies of qualification certificates for all your higher education and professional qualifications.
  • Certified copies of academic transcripts for all your higher education qualifications. This is an official university listing of the full set of marks contributing to the overall grade of your qualification.
  • English Language Certificate. If English is not your first language we will require evidence that you meet our English language requirements.
  • Two References: You should obtain and submit academic letters of reference from two people who have taught you at Masters (or Bachelors) level who are able to comment on your academic ability and suitability to study on the programme to which you are applying.
    References must be written on headed paper or bear the institution’s stamp / logo, or typed and stamped on the University of Leeds Referee’s Report. Due to the volume of applications we receive, we do not generally contact referees on behalf of applicants, and we would ask that you request your own references. 
    You can send your references directly to us by email to or by post to:

    The Graduate School,
    Leeds University Business School,
    Maurice Keyworth Building,
    University of Leeds,
    LS2 9JT
Step 3: Apply online

Once you have completed steps one and two you will need to complete the online application form. Your Locating your Research form and all supporting documentation can be uploaded to the online application form or emailed to

Please note that once an application has been completed (with all supporting documents submitted) plagiarism detection software will be used in the academic review process. 

A paper application form is available on request.

Application deadlines

UK/EU applicants International applicants
Full-time 30 November 2016 (February 2017 start)

31 July 2017 (October 2017 start)

30 November 2017 (February 2018 start)
31 October 2016 (February 2017 start)

30 June 2017 (October 2017 start)

31 October 2017 (February 2018 start)
Part-time 30 November 2016 (February 2017 start)

31 July 2017 (October 2017 start)

30 November 2017 (February 2018 start)
30 November 2016 (February 2017 start)

31 July 2017 (October 2017 start)

30 November 2017 (February 2018 start)