Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Student on laptop

A PhD is an internationally-recognised research qualification. You can study for your PhD on-campus or by distance learning.

Studying for your PhD in the School of Languages, Cultures and Societies means that you'll become an expert in a specialist area and develop high-quality research skills, which will prepare you for further research projects in addition to pursuing specialist career paths.


As a postgraduate researcher, you’ll conduct original research work under the guidance of your supervisors. You'll have regular meetings to monitor your progress and develop an initial training plan to make sure you are acquiring the appropriate skills for your research.

Your initial priority is refining a research plan and establishing a feasible timescale for your project. During the early part of your PhD, you'll undertake a range of research methods modules to support your research activities.

For your first year (or 18 months if you are part-time) you'll be enrolled as a provisional postgraduate reseaarcher, you'll develop a detailed research proposal and write a literature review. This work is submitted to a panel of examiners who will assess it and provide you with feedback and advice on the progress of your research.

This is called 'transfer' which is an important means of monitoring the progress of your work and assessing whether your proposal has enough weight to be accurately explored through a PhD research path.

After successful transfer, you'll enrol as a full postgraduate researcher, complete your research and write a thesis of approximately 100,000 words.

The degree of Doctor of Philosophy is awarded on the basis of this thesis, and your viva voce, where you'll present and discuss the rationale, methods and findings of your original study with an examining panel.


A PhD can be taken full-time (3 years standard) or part-time (five years standard).

Areas of supervision

Research opportunities are available across the School of Languages, Cultures and Societies. You can explore our research areas to discover more about our academic staff and where your research interests may fit.

Entry requirements

You should hold a good honours degree (upper second class or first class) in a related discipline, and hold, or expect to obtain, a Masters degree in a related subject.

If English is not your first language, you'll also need an English language qualification, for example IELTS 6.5 with at least 6.0 in all components. If you fail to meet these requirements you may still be offered a place dependent on completion of a pre-sessional English language course offered by the University’s Language Centre.

The distance-learning PhD requires IELTS score of 7.0 overall, no less than 6.5 in every component.

Scholarships and fees

We offer a variety of scholarships for PhD students. Check the scholarships page to see the range of opportunities.

Fees for PhD programmes are set independently and reviewed on an annual basis. Check the University's fee page for current information.

PhD by distance learning

Your distance-learning PhD means you can study from anywhere - although you’ll be required to attend relevant training sessions and progression assessment points in Leeds.