Slade School of Fine Art MPhil/PhD

London, Bloomsbury

The Slade School of Fine Art at UCL, is one of the UK's leading university departments for fine art*. We approach research as the practice of art and reflections upon that practice through methods that are experimental, imaginative and diverse.

*UCL was ranked #2 for Art in the 2021 Guardian League Table (

UK students International students
Study mode
UK tuition fees (2022/23)
Overseas tuition fees (2022/23)
3 calendar years
5 calendar years
Programme starts
September 2022
Applications accepted
All applicants: 27 Sep – 18 Oct 2021

Applications closed

Entry requirements

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.

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.

Equivalent qualifications

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. Please note that the equivalency will correspond to the broad UK degree classification stated on this page (e.g. upper second-class). Where a specific overall percentage is required in the UK qualification, the international equivalency will be higher than that stated below. Please contact Graduate Admissions should you require further advice.

About this degree

All Slade staff supervisors are practising artists or writers involved in research. An account of their research interests and expertise is available on the Slade website where you will also find the Slade research strategy and our research priorities for the next five years.

We also encourage cross-disciplinary and interdisciplinary research with other faculties and departments across UCL and external institutions, including those within the London Arts and Humanities Partnership, LAHP, through research clusters, events and joint supervision. Slade doctoral students actively extend the remit of fine art research through institutional collaboration and contribute to the wider culture through their public art practice, writing, curating and academic careers.

Doctoral researchers also benefit from the Slade's central London location and proximity to other external 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 subject to UK government guidelines.

Who this course is for

What this course will give you

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 (

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.

The foundation of your career

The UCL Slade School doctoral programme aims to develop students' research potential and graduates go on to further their careers as professional artists, many 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 published their thesis as a monograph and 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 internationally. News and achievements of doctoral alumni are detailed on the UCL Slade School website.


Students graduating from the UCL Slade School doctoral research programme during the last ten years, have furthered their careers as professional artists exhibiting and taking up residencies internationally; established profiles as curators; published their writing as monographs and journal entries; progressed in their academic careers and been awarded postdoctoral fellowships.News and achievements of current doctoral students and alumni are detailed on the news section of the Slade School website.


Final-year PhD students are offered the opportunity to 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 research themes, in particular issues of Sustainability.

Teaching and learning

Research areas and structure

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.

Research environment

We aim to enable doctoral students to carry out advanced practice-based research, in particular in relation to the Slade’s research themes as exemplified by the expertise of your supervisors. We place great emphasis on interdisciplinary and cross-disciplinary connections, and Slade students network regularly with doctoral students across UCL and the London Arts & Humanities Partnership (LAHP). You are also encouraged to join research centres and networks relevant to your specific topic within and external to UCL, and to organise research events using funding through UCL Institute for Advanced Studies (IAS) and the Global Challenge Scheme.

You will register for an MPhil with a team of two or three supervisors depending on the option followed and specialist supervision required. The Slade offers three options: a written only 80,000-100,000 word thesis; a written thesis of 60,000-80,000 words plus studio work; practice-led, a thesis of studio work plus a written report of 15,000-30,000 words (40,000 maximum).

You will be required to attend a bi-weekly PhD Forum that concentrates on the communication of your research and to make a formal presentation once per year. You will be expected to take part in an annual research week, which may entail the installation of studio work and the staging of a public event, which may take the form of an exhibition, symposium, or conference, that is organised by doctoral students with staff support. Students prior to Upgrade are required to attend a series of PGR1 Upgrade Workshops, which serve as an introduction to practice-based research and training for the formal requirements of the Upgrade from MPHil to PhD. In addition there is the opportunity to attend seminars, workshops and reading groups, focusing on different research themes: these are organised by the students or staff and respond to critical issues.

You will have access to all workshop facilities at the Slade and may join any visitor’s talk across the School including Slade staff talks. We recommend that you attend the weekly all-School Contemporary Art Lecture. You will be actively encouraged to seek out research events across UCL and LAHP that are relevant to your specific research and also to engage in Slade cross-school events.

You will be invited to apply for Post Graduate Teaching Assistant (PGTA) positions on a competitive basis, working with Slade undergraduates and we aim to give every doctoral student experience of teaching. Feedback and peer review of your teaching is conducted by the Head of UG studies, Head of the BFA programme, Head of History and Theory of Art, and the Head of the PhD programme.


Details of the accessibility of UCL buildings can be obtained from AccessAble Further information can also be obtained from the UCL Student Support & Wellbeing team.

Fees and funding

Fees for this course

UK students International students
Fee description Full-time Part-time
Tuition fees (2022/23) £5,690 £2,845
Tuition fees (2022/23) £22,040 £11,080

The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Where the programme is offered on a flexible/modular basis, fees are charged pro-rata to the appropriate full-time Master's fee taken in an academic session. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Students website:

Additional costs

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.

Funding your studies

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 Grand Challenges for funding for interdisciplinary research and to hold associated events.

For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.

UCL Research Opportunity Scholarship (ROS)

Value: UK rate fees, a maintenance stipend, conference costs and professional development package (3 years)
Criteria Based on both academic merit and financial need
Eligibility: UK

Next steps

Please note that you may submit applications for a maximum of two graduate programmes in any application cycle.

UCL is regulated by the Office for Students.