MPhil/PhD Fine Art
We offer 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.
- Full-time or Part-time
- Programme starts: September 2024
- Application deadline - 2 October, 5pm
- Application portal opens via UCL SELECT - 28 August
AHRC-Open day split
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.
Staff and Supervisors
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.
Deadlines for applications for 2024-25 are as follows:
- Application portal opens via UCL SELECT - 28 August
- Applications Deadline (UCL Select): Monday, 2 October 2023, 17.00 BST
- Applications Deadline (Portfolio): Wednesday, 4 October 2023, 17.00 BST (via SharePoint)
- Interviews: Monday 30 October – Friday, 3 November 2023 (inclusive)
In preparation for our next application round, please join us for our Open Day on Wednesday, 31 May 2023. (See information below, register via Eventbrite.) This Open Day event will provide an opportunity for you to engage with the work of some of our current researchers and to ask any questions about doctoral research, generally, and the Slade MPhil/PhD, specifically.
As well as seeing current research projects through to a successful conclusion, many of which were delayed due to Covid, we will be using this year to think strategically about the direction of MPhil/PhD research in the Slade. In doing so, we will be considering pressing concerns in in contemporary art, culture, society; the specific context for art research in the Slade, UCL, and wider research community; the future of art and art research and how the Slade’s doctoral research will contribute meaningfully to this; opportunities for funding and scholarships.
Please keep an eye on this website for developments.
MPhil/PhD Open Day
Dates for the next MPhil/PhD Open Day are to be confirmed.
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, Jo Payne (email@example.com). 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 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.
- Do not submit more than one portfolio.
- Candidates are instructed that videos should be no larger than 450mb each. The system will not process videos over 500mb.
Please leave yourself plenty of time to familiarise yourself with the instructions to upload your portfolio, if you choose to upload on 4th October, and if there are any errors you will not receive a notification informing you of this, as we will be receiving a high volume of portfolios and will not be able to contact you. It is strongly advised that you read/check the instructions carefully before starting to upload your portfolio.Please note, if you do not follow any of the steps/instructions when uploading your portfolio we will not able to process your application.
For applications for entry in September 2024, 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.
Fees and Funding
For further information, see our fees and funding section for information about tuition fees, funding, scholarships and bursaries.
Visiting Research Student Applications
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have any further questions, please contact email@example.com.
Visiting Research Affiliates
We are able to host a small number of excellent visiting researchers, international scholars and artists whose research interests align closely with our research themes and priorities, as outlined the Research at the Slade webpage. Please see our Research Affiliates page for further information.
Fees and funding
Find out about fees funding, scholarships, prizes and bursaries.