Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

School of Politics and International Studies

Admissions Contact

Postgraduate Admissions

School of Politics and International Studies
Tel: +44 (0) 113 343 8056

Leeds Social Sciences Institute 

The Leeds Social Sciences Institute runs fortnightly interdisciplinary seminars that allow research students to present and discuss their work with other postgraduate students.

Leeds Doctoral College

Leeds Doctoral College brings together a range of opportunities for postgraduate researchers including training, dedicated study spaces, language support and career development.

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PhD and MPhil

Study in our research suites

About the PhD

A PhD is the most internationally-recognised research qualification. Studying for a PhD allows you to become an expert in your chosen specialist area, and gain high quality research training that will equip you to undertake subsequent research projects. You carry out original research under the guidance of two supervisors.


A PhD can be taken full-time or part-time.

  • Full-time: three years standard, four years maximum.
  • Part-time: five years standard, seven years maximum.
  • Split site: five years standard, seven years maximum.


An initial priority is refining the research plan and establishing a feasible timescale for your project. During the early part of your PhD programme, you will undertake various research methods modules to support your research activities.

For the first twelve months, or eighteen months if part-time, you will be enrolled as a provisional PhD student. In this period, you develop a detailed research proposal and write a literature review chapter. This work is then submitted to a panel of examiners who assess it and provide you with feedback and advice on the progress of your research.

This procedure is called 'upgrading' and is an important means of monitoring the progress of your work, assessing, amongst other matters, whether your proposal has enough weight to be accurately explored through a PhD research path.

After successfully upgrading, you will enrol as a full PhD student, 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 present and discuss the rationale, methods and findings of your original study with an examining panel.

About the MPhil

The MPhil is awarded on the basis of a thesis of around 60,000 words and a viva voce.


An MPhil can be taken full-time or part-time.

  • Full-time: two years standard, three years maximum.
  • Part-time: four years standard, six years maximum.

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