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 Slade is part of the AHRC funded London Arts and Humanities Partnership. The LAHP annually awards up to 90 studentships for postgraduate research students studying arts and humanities disciplines at eight leading UK research organisations. These studentships, which normally cover fees and maintenance allowance (stipend), are available to UK and EU students.
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 normally between 15,000-30,000 words (maximum 40,000) and normally 10,000 to 15,000 words for the MPhil (maximum 20,000).
- 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, materiality, word and image, landscape and electronic media.
As part of UCL we offer an extensive range of research skill courses through UCL Doctoral School plus support from the Arts and Humanities, Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS) and London Arts and Humanities Research Partnership (LAHP).
In addition to personal tutorials, students participate in:
- relevant research skills courses organised by UCL Doctoral School and London Arts and Humanities Partnership (LAHP);
- a 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 organisation of an annual students’ event which can take the form of an exhibition, conference or symposium.
Students are 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: Prof. 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.
Secondary supervision is also available from renowned scholars and specialists from a range of departments at UCL. Second supervisors currently include: Dr Chiara Ambrosio (Science and Technology Studies), Dr Tim Beasley-Murray (School of Slavonic & East European Studies, Dr Stephanie Bird (German), Dr Caroline Bressey (Geography), Prof. Daniel Brett (Electrochemical Engineering), Dr Victor Buchli (Anthropology), Dr Ben Campkin (Bartlett School of Architecture, Professor Susanne Kuechler (Anthropology), Prof. Mark Midownik, (Institute of Making, Engineering).
There are also opportunities for interdisciplinary supervision across the London Arts and Humanities Partnership.
Outlines of current and archived MPhil and PhD Research are in the Student Research section.
The application deadline for entry in September 2021 is 19 October 2020. Interview dates for shortlisted candidates to be confirmed.
MPhil/PhD Open Day
There will be a virtual open day on Wednesday, 14 October at 9.00am BST. To book a place, please go to our booking form.
Application Procedure for MPhil/PhD and Graduate Affiliate Research
All applicants for MPhil/PhD and Graduate Affiliate Research should Apply Online.
MPhil/PhD Programme code: RRDFINSING01, Programme Title: Research Degree: Slade School.
Graduate Affiliate Research Programme code: RAFFINSING07, Programme Title: Visiting Research: Slade School.
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;
- a piece of writing:
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).
The Slade does not require applicants to have approached supervisors in advance of making the application to study. However, Slade tutors’ profiles and research interests are listed on our people pages. It is strongly advised that applicants read our staff members’ profiles before submitting an application. If there is a member of staff with whom you would particularly like to work, you may name him or her on the application form; however, supervision by a specific tutor cannot be guaranteed at the application stage.
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 will be invited to submit your portfolio online via Slideroom. You will need to submit up to fifteen images. Include the title of the work, date, dimensions and medium for each image. Videos and films should be presented as a showreel with a maximum duration of ten minutes. Submissions which do not follow these guidelines cannot be considered.
Further details, and a link to the Slade’s Slideroom portfolio submission, will be sent to you once you have submitted the UCL MPhil/PhD application, including instructions for those applicants who do not wish to use Slideroom.
Prof Sharon Morris, Head of the Slade Doctoral Programme, Dr Hayley Newman, co-ordinator of the practice-led option, 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 co-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 Advanced level is required.
Due to the number of applicants we are unable to discuss who to nominate as a supervisor or to advise on proposals before you submit your application, however, you may add names to your application form and if shortlisted we will also suggest possible supervisors. Please look at the Slade website for staff research profiles.
For further information, see our fees and funding section for information about tuition fees, funding, scholarships and bursaries.
All MPhil/PhD applicants must apply by the 19 October 2020 deadline for entry in September 2021. Late applications are not considered and all candidates are expected to begin their programme in September.
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. Due to the high number of applications received, we are unable to offer feedback on your application or interview.
For details of UCL Scholarships and other UCL funding opportunities see the following links:
Yes, as well as feedback and teaching which is informed by the professional 'art world' knowledge and international perspective of Slade staff, the Slade runs its own bespoke series of careers talks for all final year students, in conjunction with the UCL Careers Service. Sessions are led by Slade staff, with invited guest speakers, and cover various topics such as artist fees, pricing work, fundraising and writing successful grant applications, finding a studio, how to write press releases etc. The programme has been recognised as 'best practice' across the wider University. For more information see: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/teaching-learning/case-studies/2017/jun/getting-students-career-ready-ucl-slade-school-fine-art.