The Slade School of Fine Art is an art school with an international outlook, part of UCL, London's global university. The Slade offers a supportive, stimulating and creative environment in which to develop your doctoral research. We welcome applications from students with a wide range of backgrounds, here in the UK and internationally. Our focus is on subject areas within the Slade (painting, sculpture and fine art media) and on interdisciplinary research between the Slade and disciplines offered by UCL.
The aims of the MPhil/PhD programme are to:
- advance the highest quality of research in Fine Art that demonstrates ambition, breadth of vision and creativity
- enable you to further your aspirations as a practising artist, and, or, writer
- encourage your practice, art and writing, to make an original contribution to knowledge, and to further understanding through the processes of research
- encourage a diversity of research outputs including the visual and verbal (exhibitions, events, performances, collaborations, publications, conferences)
- affirm the importance of Fine Art research while also exploring the possibilities of interdisciplinary research with other departments and faculties at UCL
- ask you to contribute to the research culture of the Slade and the wider UCL community and to exchange ways of working, thinking, doing and being
- encourage the sharing of research with national and international research institutions and the wider publics
The Slade offers a choice between the
following three options within the PhD programme:
- Practice-led: a thesis of studio practice that makes an original contribution to knowledge plus a written report of 15,000-40,000 words (or 10,000-20,000 words for the MPhil).
- Practice-related: a written thesis of 60,000-80,000 words with studio practice that together make an original contribution to knowledge (or 35,000-45,000 words for the MPhil).
- Written thesis only: a written thesis of 80,000-100,000 words that makes an original contribution to knowledge (or 50,000-60,000 words for the MPhil).
The MPhil/PhD programme has strong links to the taught programmes at the Slade and you will also have access to the School-wide lecture and visiting artists’ programme. The Slade provides excellent workshop and research facilities. Current Slade research themes include: painting, sculpture, fine-art media, material, word and image, landscape and electronic media.
In addition to
personal tutorials, students participate in:
- relevant research skills courses organised by UCL Graduate School;
- a bi-weekly Forum/Exchange for the presentation of research by Slade and other UCL research students;
- regular seminars responding to students' research interests;
- workshops on writing and research;
- exhibitions, events, symposia, conferences at the Slade Research Centre, Woburn Square;
- the staff Research Forum series on Slade Research themes where PhD students are invited to contribute;
- the organisation of an annual students’ event which can take the form of an exhibition, conference or symposium.
also expected to attend:
- discipline specific MA/MFA studio seminars within the Slade painting, sculpture and fine art media areas;
- seminars and lectures given by Slade and UCL staff and invited artists and speakers: Slade staff talks, the Slade Contemporary Art Lecture Series and the UCL History of Art Centre for Contemporary Art lecture series.
In addition we would
expect our students to be active participants in exhibitions, performances,
events, conferences, and publishing both within and beyond UCL.
Head of the Doctoral Programme and
Co-ordinator of the written and practice-related options: Dr Sharon Morris
Co-ordinator of the practice-led option: Dr Hayley Newman
Your primary supervisor will be a member of Slade staff, all of whom are practising artists or scholars in the history and theory of art, with national and international profiles.
supervision is also available from renowned scholars and specialists throughout
UCL, including the sciences where appropriate. Second supervisors currently
include: Dr Caroline Bressey (Geography), Dr Ben Campkin (Bartlett School of
Architecture), Professor Susanne
Kord (German), Dr Petra Lange-Berndt (History of Art), Dr Miriam Leonard (Greek and Latin), Professor Robert
Lumley (Italian), Professor Timothy
Mathews (French), Professor Chris
Pinney (Anthropology), Dr Peg Rawes (Bartlett School of
Architecture), Dr Alison Wright (History of Art), Professor Joanna
Zakrzewska (Eastman Dental Hospital).
Recent and current visitors to the MPhil/PhD Programme 2010-2012 Guest Speakers: Peter Osborne, Sarat Maharaj, David Beech, Su Golding, Mel Gooding, Jen Harvey, Robert Hewison Guest seminars and workshops: Yve Lomax, Maria Fusco, Ruth Padel, Victor Buchli, Esther Leslie.
Outlines of current and archived MPhil and PhD Research are in the
Student Research section.
There are two application deadlines:
The first application deadline is 17 November 2014. Interviews for shortlisted candidates will take place on 21 and 22 January 2015. If you wish to make an application for a LAHP or UCL Scholarship, you should apply for this deadline.
The second application deadline is 2 March 2015. Interviews for shortlisted candidates will take place on 28 April 2015.
Both application deadlines are for entry in September 2015.
MPhil/PhD Open Day
Applicants can attend the MPhil/PhD Open Day, which will be held 10am – 1pm on Wednesday 15 October 2014. For details on how to book, see our tours booking page.
Application Procedure for MPhil/PhD and Graduate Affiliate Research
The Online Application
Applicants must complete the online form and upload the following supporting documentation:
- An electronic Transcript from your undergraduate degree programme. If you have also taken a Master's programme, you should upload a second transcript;
- a Research Proposal (approximately 2 A4 pages). The proposal should include: a summary of the proposed area of research; questions to be addressed; an initial statement of the relationship between written and practical/visual research if applicable; some indication of research methods to be deployed; and some reference to existing literature or other form of production (visual/practical) in the field; plus a bibliography of 2-3 A4 pages;
- those students whose education has not been conducted in the English language should upload their most recent English Language Test Certificate;
- a CV;
- for practice-related or thesis only applications: a Writing Sample of writing of around 8,000-10,000 words (upload this as the Additional Document).
- for practice-led applications: a short piece of writing of up to 1,000 words addressing or contextualising your own work (upload this as the Additional Document).
When you have completed the online form and entered contact emails for your referees, they will be contacted automatically giving them instructions on how to upload their references. All applications must include two references that must be uploaded by your referees. References are an important part of the application and it is your responsibility to ensure that your referees upload their references promptly so that the entrance examiners have them when they review your application. It is recommended that you complete the online application in advance of the deadline to give your referees time to complete their references.
If you are applying to take the practice-led or practice-related MPhil/PhD you should send a portfolio to Graduate Research Admissions, Slade School of Fine Art, UCL, Gower Street, London, WC1E 6BT by the application deadline. This should be on CD-R with up to fifteen images (jpegs only). (Do not submit images in PowerPoint format.) Include the title of the work, date, dimensions and medium for each image. Videos and films should be presented in QuickTime on DVD. It is recommended that a showreel is compiled for these with a maximum duration of ten minutes. Please write your name on the disk (do not affix any labels to the disk) and stick the portfolio label to the outside of the case. Your disk should be a duplicate and will not be returned.
We regret that submissions that do not follow these guidelines cannot be considered.
Dr Sharon Morris and Dr Hayley Newman, Co-ordinators of the Slade Doctoral Programme, and and a small team of senior Slade staff meet to consider all applications and shortlist candidates on the basis of the quality of their studio work, their suitability for research, and the feasibility of their research proposal and its supervision. Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed by the ordinators plus the proposed supervisory team.
Successful applicants normally register in September.
Applicants will hold a good first degree and will normally be expected to have studied to MA or MFA level.
English Language Requirement
All students whose first language is not English must reach a satisfactory level of proficiency in English language before starting their studies at the Slade.
Various English language qualifications are acceptable. For the MPhil/PhD the Good level is required.
UCL’s tuition fees are set annually and cover registration, tuition and supervision for each academic year, or part of an academic year that you are enrolled. Tuition fees are subject to an annual increase. The fee does not cover artists' or other academic materials. Current fees and further information about fee status, how to pay and living expenses can be found on the UCL Money pages.
The Slade is part of the AHRC funded London Arts and Humanities Partnership (LAHP) which brings together three leading UK research organisations: University College London (UCL), King’s College, London (KCL) and the School of Advanced Study (SAS). The LAHP AHRC Doctoral Training Partnership will fund and train up to 400 postgraduate students over five annual cohorts from 2014. As well as funding for studentships and shared doctoral training, this will open up additional opportunities for interdisciplinary supervision for Slade students across these three leading research institutions. For further information, please see www.lahp.ac.uk.
If you wish to be considered for a LAHP Studentship you must apply by the first deadline of 17 November 2014 for entrance into the programme the following September 2015.
For details of UCL Scholarships and other UCL funding opportunities please see the following links:
Applicants must indicate on their UCL application form that they wish to apply for a UCL Scholarship. If you wish to be considered for a UCL Research Scholarship you must apply by the first deadline of 17 November 2014 for entrance into the programme the following September 2015.
Please look carefully at the deadline for any funding application. Many deadlines for scholarships fall early in the spring and you may need to apply for the November deadline.
Each year the Slade Bursary Committee awards a large number of £500 Bursaries, funded by donations from the Friends of the Slade and other benefactors to students with particularly difficult financial circumstances. All students are eligible to apply.
Jean Spencer and Malcolm Hughes Bursaries are available each year for MPhil/PhD students to enable them to further their research through projects, conferences, travel, or other research activities. The maximum size of any bursary is £500 and applications for smaller awards are encouraged. There are two deadlines per academic year and applications are considered at the Slade Research and Doctoral Board.
If you want advice about your proposal before submitting a formal application you can email Dr Sharon Morris (sharon.morris(@)ucl.ac.uk) for some initial feedback in relation to the practice-related and written thesis only options, or Dr Hayley Newman (h.newman(@)ucl.ac.uk) in relation to the practice-led option. Send a 300-word abstract of your research proposal, your cv, and a bibliography with your enquiry.
There are two application deadlines, 17 November 2014 and 2 March 2015.
Please note that if you are applying for a grant or scholarship, you should check the deadline in advance. Most funding deadlines fall several months before the programme begins. Many deadlines fall in the spring and this will mean that you need to apply to the Slade by the November deadline in order to have secured a place on the programme in time to apply for funding. See the UCL Scholarships and Funding page for further details.
All applications are considered by a small team of senior Slade staff and shortlisted candidates are invited for interview. Interviews are conducted by the co-ordinators of the PhD programme plus the proposed supervisory team.
We prefer candidates to begin their programme in September.
For details of UCL Scholarships and other UCL funding opportunities see the following links:
Please look carefully at the deadline for any funding that you are applying for. Most funding deadlines fall several months before the programme begins. Many deadlines fall in the spring and this may mean that you need to apply to the Slade by the November deadline in order to have secured a place on the programme in time to apply for funding.