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. Please check the LAHP website for details of the award and to check eligibility.
Please read the information below in conjunction with the main UCL prospectus information:
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 across-School lecture and visiting artists’ programme. The Slade provides excellent workshop and research facilities (access subject to Covid regulations). Current Slade research themes include: Materials and Materiality; Histories and Cultures; Media and Performance; and, Environments and Publics.
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 supervisions, 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 researchers;
- regular seminars responding to your research interests;
- workshops on writing and research;
- exhibitions, events, symposia, conferences at the Slade;
- 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: Prof. Kristen Kreider
Doctoral Research Tutor: Dr Hayley Newman
Due to the number of applicants we are unable to advise on proposals before you submit your application. We are also unable to discuss who to nominate as a supervisor. However, you may add names of potential supervisors to your application form and, if shortlisted, we will also suggest possible supervisors. Please look at the Slade website for staff research profiles.
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 (Philosophy of Science), Prof. Daniel Brett (Engineering), Prof. Robyn Carston (Linguistics), Dr. Marquard Smith (IOE), Prof. Penelope Haralambidou (Bartlett), Prof. Rodney Harrison (Archaeology), Prof. Mark Midownik, (Institute of Making, Engineering), Prof. Sophie Page (History), Dr. Aaron Parkhurst (Anthroplogy). External supervisors include: Dr Jeff Scheible and Dr Lara Shalson (Kings College London) and Prof. Ger Duijzings (Universitat Regengsburg).
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 MPhil/PhD section.
The deadline for applications for entry in Sept 2023 will be October 17 2022, 5pm (BST). PhD interviews will take place 14 November – 18 November, with shortlisted candidates advised of their time and date.
MPhil/PhD Open Day
The date for the next Open Day ‘Slade PhD Q&A’ is Wednesday, 28 September at 10.00-12.00. This will be on-line via Teams and will involve answering queries from the Head of the PhD Programme.
The date for the next Open Day ‘Slade PhD Forum’ is Wednesday, 31 May 2023 at 10.00-13.00. These will be on-site and will include presentations of research by current doctoral researchers. Please book via the booking form.
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.
Successful applicants normally register in September.
You are not expected to approach potential supervisors in advance of making the application to undertake research. 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 your application is submitted. If there is a member of staff with whom you would particularly like to work, you may name them on the application form. Supervision by a specific tutor cannot be guaranteed at the application stage.
Secondary supervision is also available from renowned scholars and specialists from a range of departments at UCL.
There are also opportunities for interdisciplinary supervision across the London Arts and Humanities Partnership.
For admission enquiries please email the Slade PGR Administrator, Kuldip Chana (firstname.lastname@example.org). Please note that, due to the number of applicants, we are unable to advise on proposals before you submit your application or to discuss who to nominate as a supervisor.
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 and Supporting Documentation
Applicants must complete the online form and upload the following supporting documentation:
- Research Proposal
- Writing Sample
- Personal Statement
- Language Certificate (if applicable)
(N.B. A portfolio is also required, and this is sent through a separate process, as per below.
Applications that do not include the necessary supporting documentation – or do not have this in the correct format – will not be considered.
1. Research Proposal (maximum 1500 words)
This should be a single document that must include the following:
- Title of Research Project
- Project Summary (maximum 300 words) – offer a concise description of the project.
- Key Words – list five or six key words relating to your research project.
- Thesis Option – indicate whether you are applying for Practice-led Thesis, Practice-related Thesis, Written Thesis
- Potential supervisors – note any potential supervisors for your project. (Note that you should NOT contact potential supervisors prior to submitting your application.)
- Project Description, which must comprise the following sections, not necessarily in this order:
a. Significance and Originality – identify your research context or broad field of study, your intervention into this and how your research will contribute to art and to this broad context in a unique way.
b. Underpinning Ideas – discuss the ideas that underpin the project, including any problems or deep concerns that you seek to address.
c. Aims and Research Questions – list the questions driving the project and what your research aims to do.
d. Methodology – consider how you will pursue your research, including the role of your practice as research; if appropriate, outline the relationship between your practice and the written component.
e. Research Design – describe how you will structure your research and anticipate the form that the final thesis will take, including any plans for the completion of artworks and writing; if appropriate, include chapter breakdowns.
f. Sources – include a list of relevant sources.
2. Writing Sample
All applicants must include a sample of writing as part of your application. The sample of writing to be included depends on your thesis option:
- Practice-led Thesis: a short piece of writing of up to 2,000 words, which may be a short piece of writing addressing or contextualising your practice.
- Practice-related Thesis: a substantial piece of writing of around 8,000-10,000 words.
- Written Thesis: a substantial piece of writing of around 8,000-10,000.
3. Personal Statement (maximum 1000 words)
All applicants should include a personal statement that must include the following:
- Personal Biography – short biographical statement (100-150 words).
- Professional/Practitioner Experience – describe your background and interests leading up to the PhD.
- Practice – describe your practice and how this relates to your research.
- Investment – account for your personal investment in this project and why you believe the work needs to be done.
- Capacity – indicate your capacity to undertake a long-term research project and your willingness/ability to contribute fully to the research environment at the Slade, UCL and beyond.
All applicants must upload a copy of your CV.
Upload an electronic Transcript from your undergraduate degree programme. If you have also taken a Master's programme, you should upload a second transcript.
6. Language Certificate
For those students whose education has not been conducted in the English language should upload their most recent English Language Test Certificate.
Further details, and a link to the Slade’s online portfolio submission, will be sent to you once you have submitted the UCL MPhil/PhD application.
If you are applying to take the practice-led or practice-related MPhil/PhD you must also submit a portfolio of up to fifteen images. Further details, and a link to the Slade’s online portfolio submission, will be sent to you once you have submitted the UCL MPhil/PhD application.
Submissions which do not follow the following guidelines cannot be considered:
Practice Portfolio (up to 15 images of work + related material, as appropriate)
There should be only ONE image of work per page, with each image no larger than 5MB. For each image, you must indicate the following attributes:
- Date the work was made
- Materials used to produce the original piece
- Dimensions of original work in centimetres (cm) (e.g. for a painting, dimensions of 30 x 50cm)
- Short Description (up to 150 words)
- Applicants with time-based or performance elements to your work may include a URL link to a showreel (or upload a short video no larger than 450MB) with a maximum duration time of five minutes.
- All applicants are encouraged to include a URL link to a short video featuring pages from sketchbooks (or upload a short video no larger than 450MB) with a maximum duration time of 5 minutes.
Once you have submitted the UCAS application, you will receive an email from UCL inviting you to submit your portfolio. Please allow up to a week for this email to arrive.
Once you receive the portfolio submission request:
- Complete the first Microsoft Form. This will trigger a OneDrive folder to be created for you.
- You will receive an email with the link to your unique folder. Please read the instructions within the folder carefully and submit your portfolio.
- Complete the second Microsoft Form. This will close your folder and submit the portfolio to the Slade.
For applications for entry in September 2023, there is no portfolio handling fee.
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.
The Head of the Doctoral Programme and a small team of senior Slade staff meet to consider all applications and shortlist candidates based on 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 a panel including the proposed supervisory team.
For further information, see our fees and funding section for information about tuition fees, funding, scholarships and bursaries.
You can apply to spend a period of 3 to 12 months at UCL undertaking research which is complementary to the Doctorate/PhD project at your home university.
Please see the UCL Visiting Research Students page for further details.
- Complete the form on the UCL Visiting Research Students page.
- After you have submitted the formal UCL application in Portico and a UCL Application Number had been generated, please complete and submit the Visiting Research Student Supplementary Information Form (Word doc) to email@example.com.
If you have any further questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The following are some Slade-specific queries. Please also see the more general FAQs for applications to research programmes at UCL:
All MPhil/PhD applicants must apply by the 17 October 2022 deadline for entry in September 2023. Late applications are not considered and all candidates are expected to begin their programme in September.
References should be submitted by the application deadline.
All applications are considered by a small team of senior Slade staff and shortlisted candidates are invited for interview. Interviews are conducted by staff involved with the MPhil/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:
Academic Departments are not able to give visa advice to applicants or students. Please contact email@example.com.
UCL does offer some student accommodation. Please see the Student Residences Office website for more information and pay close attention to deadlines for applications. Please note that the Slade is not able to intervene in the allocation of accommodation.
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.