The Slade School of Fine Art at UCL, is one of the UK's leading university departments for research in fine art. We approach research as the practice of art and reflections upon that practice through methods that are experimental, imaginative and diverse.
Modes and duration
Tuition fees (2021/22)
Note on fees: The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Students website: ucl.ac.uk/students/fees.
Applicants must hold an upper second-class UK Bachelor’s degree or its overseas equivalent and will normally be expected to have studied to UK Master’s level, or its overseas equivalent, in either fine art or in art history/theoretical studies.
English language requirements
If your education has not been conducted in the English language, you will be expected to demonstrate evidence of an adequate level of English proficiency.
The English language level for this programme is: Advanced
UCL Pre-Master's and Pre-sessional English courses are for international students who are aiming to study for a postgraduate degree at UCL. The courses will develop your academic English and academic skills required to succeed at postgraduate level. International Preparation Courses
Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.
Country-specific information, including details of when UCL representatives are visiting your part of the world, can be obtained from the International Students website.
International applicants can find out the equivalent qualification for their country by selecting from the list below.
Select your country:
All Slade staff supervisors are practising artists or writers involved in research. An account of their diverse range of interests and expertise is available on the Slade website. Doctoral researchers benefit from the Slade's central London location and proximity to other research institutions, galleries and museums. Practice-led students in full-time attendance are allocated studio space and all students have access to a project space and workshop facilities within the current UK government guidelines for safe distancing.
We also encourage cross-disciplinary and interdisciplinary research with other departments across UCL and institutions within the London Arts and Humanities Partnership, LAHP, through participation in research clusters and events and joint supervision. Slade doctoral students extend the remit of fine art research and contributing to the wider culture through their art practice, writing, curating and academic careers.
The Slade School of Fine Art offers a choice between the following three options within the PhD programme:
- Practice-led: a thesis of practice-based work and a written report of 15,000–40,000 words
- Practice-related: a written thesis of 60,000–80,000 words with practice-based work
- Written thesis only: a written thesis of 80,000–100,000 words.
Our focus is on the main research themes within the Slade School, as indicated by the range of supervisors’ research, and on interdisciplinary research between fine art and other disciplines. Students are encouraged to explore a diversity of research outputs including exhibitions, events, performances, collaborations, publications and conferences and to share their work with researchers across UCL and LAHP, and the wider public at both a national and international level.
About this degree
Fieldwork is not a compulsory part of the programme; however, PhD students may apply to conduct research as part of study leave, and this can include a fieldwork component.
The Slade has a media store where media equipment can be borrowed. You will need to supply your own materials, including for the final viva examination and materials for the degree show, if you choose to take part. You will also need to pay for entry to any galleries or shows.
For more information on additional costs for prospective students please go to our estimated cost of essential expenditure at Accommodation and living costs.
As a member of the AHRC-funded London Arts and Humanities Partnership (LAHP), applicants may be able to apply for funding for studentships. For further information and eligibility requirements, please see the LAHP website. Slade students may also be nominated for UCL's Graduate Research Scholarship (GRS) and the Overseas Research Scholarship (ORS).
Each year, the Slade offers several Jean Spencer and Malcolm Hughes Bursaries. These awards of up to £500.00 enable students to further their research by funding travel and participation in projects and conferences. Awards are made on a competitive basis. Doctoral students may also apply to UCL Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS) and UCL Global Challenges for funding for interdisciplinary research and to hold associated events.
Scholarships relevant to this department are displayed below.
- UK rate fees, a maintenance stipend, conference costs and professional development package (3 years)
- Based on both academic merit and financial need
For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.
Students graduating from the UCL Slade School doctoral research programme have, in the last ten years, have gone on to further their research through postdoctoral research; to establish international careers as professional artists; to establish profiles in a range of related fields including art writing and criticism, and curating in galleries, museums and project spaces; and progressed to academic careers nationally and internationally. News and achievements of current doctoral students and alumni are detailed on the news section of the Slade School website. These include updates on exhibitions and commissions, gallery representation, prizes and international residencies, publications of books and articles.
The UCL Slade School doctoral programme aims to develop students' individual potential and most graduates go on to become professional artists, receiving important public and private commissions, gaining gallery representation, winning major prizes and international artist residencies, as well as developing new artist-led initiatives worldwide. Others have taken on roles in related careers including curating, museum and gallery management, education and many other roles within the creative industries both in the UK and overseas. News and achievements of alumni including recent graduates are detailed on the UCL Slade School website.
Final-year PhD students may take part in the UCL Slade School Graduate Degree Shows, which are very well attended by gallerists, curators, critics and art collectors and provide an excellent public exhibition forum for graduates to showcase their work. We are a member of EARN, the European Art Research Network of Fine Art doctoral programmes, attending annual events and participating in EARN’s research themes.
Why study this degree at UCL?
Primary supervisors are drawn from school staff, all of whom are practising artists or scholars in the history and theory of art, with national and international profiles. Secondary supervision is also available from renowned scholars and specialists across faculties of UCL and partner LAHP institutions (www.lahp.ac.uk).
Students have access to the Slade-wide lecture and visiting artists programme and research groups across UCL, including the Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS), plus doctoral events organised by LAHP institutions.
The Slade offers PhD students the opportunity to work as postgraduate teaching assistantships (PGTA) on BA Fine Art, BFA Fine Art and the interdisciplinary BASc programmes. These Teaching Assistantships are supported by training and mentoring at the Slade and UCL Arena. They are available on a competitive basis.
Department: Slade School of Fine Art
What our students and staff say
"Through teaching, I am concerned with the ways in which the contemporary painter considers, believes or understands that knowledge of methods and materials is relevant to the creative process."
Ms Jo VolleyFine Art MPhil/PhD, Fine Art MA, Fine Art MFA
"There has been a strong sense of a PhD community. Conversations and projects with my peers have shaped my project in unexpected ways. The support of this group has been very valuable. Access to resources like the Woburn Square Research Centre is invaluable to the development of research through practice."
Anna Bunting-BranchFine Art PhD
Application and next steps
Students are advised to apply as early as possible due to competition for places. Those applying for scholarship funding (particularly overseas applicants) should take note of application deadlines.
This programme requires two references. Further information regarding references can be found in our How to apply section.
UCL is regulated by the Office for Students.