Postgraduate Research: How to Apply

Postgraduate Research: How to Apply

Culture & Creativity Research Institute Research Degree Programmes


The Culture and Creativity Research Institute (CCRI) offers opportunities for full-time and part-time doctoral level study in the arts and humanities.  For official information about each course including length, available modes of study, fees and entry requirements, please search for the relevant entry in the SHU online prospectus or click on one of the links below.


We offer PhD courses in:

Opportunities to study for full-time or part-time MPhil are also available in Fine Art & Design and Media & Communication.

Prospective research students are warmly encouraged to explore CCRI’s research centres and Impact Blog to find out more about areas of research expertise, the research environment, staff and student projects and potential research supervisors before applying.  Doctoral projects are typically grounded in the discipline studied at undergraduate and/or master’s degree level, but we can support projects requiring supervision from more than one discipline and welcome applications with proposals for interdisciplinary research projects.

We offer opportunities to submit a PhD for examination in the following formats:


  • monograph
  • creative practice-based (for candidates who can evidence educational attainment and a track record in their proposed area of creative practice at application)
  • article-based (subject to approval at around 12-15 months FT)


Funding & Scholarship Opportunities


For more information about SHU Scholarship schemes, including Graduate Teaching Assistantships, and opportunities for British Black, Asian or minority ethnic researchers as part of the SHU Race Equity Scheme see:

University scholarships | Sheffield Hallam University (

To explore all our current funded and self-funded PhD programmes and project adverts on go to:

Doctoral programmes and projects | Sheffield Hallam University (

For general information about funding, including student loans for doctoral study see:

Doctoral funding and scholarships | Sheffield Hallam University (

A Simple Introduction to PhD Funding |



If you would like to discuss an aspect of PhD study before you make an application, or ask us a question, you can submit an online enquiry (see online prospectus course entries for an ‘ask us a question’ box) or contact a member of our team:


For general application enquiries contact:

Culture & Creativity Research Institute Postgraduate Research Administration Team


For course and academic enquiries:


Dr Becky Shaw, Postgraduate Research Tutor (PGRT) covering Art, Design & Media Practice

Dr Kerry McSeveny, Postgraduate Research Tutor (PGRT) covering Media, Communication, Cultural Studies, Film & Screen Studies

Dr Ana María Sánchez-Arce, Postgraduate Research Tutor (PGRT) covering History, English and Performance

Supervision enquiries


It is a good idea to check that we have the research expertise to support your proposed project before you consider applying.  If you are confident that you have identified a potential supervisor, you can contact them by email.  Your email should contain an overview of your educational background and other relevant experience, your research idea (attach a decent draft of your proposal) and why you would like to study for a PhD with them.  If they are interested, they may be willing to help with e.g., suggestions for background reading or give you a few pointers to help develop the proposal.  Let us know when you apply if you have been in contact with a potential supervisor, bearing in mind that allocation of the Director of Studies (as confirmed in the offer letter) and other supervisors will be subject to confirmation of their availability.

If you aren’t sure if CCRI is the right place to support your PhD or don’t know who might supervise your proposed project, please contact the PGRT in your area for advice (see above).  Please don’t email multiple members of staff at the same time to find a potential supervisor.  This makes it hard to track and support your enquiry properly and creates unnecessary work. 


How to Apply


There is a useful general description of the steps in making a research degree application to SHU here, including a list of documents you will need to upload to the online application form and guidance on the contents we expect in a research proposal.  This general advice is also helpful: How to Write a Great PhD Research Proposal |

Applicants for PhD Fine Art & Design may find this additional guidance on how to write an artistic research proposal useful.

When you are ready to apply, go to the online prospectus entry for your course, and click on the online application form at the bottom of the page. 

We can enrol research degree students at October, February, or May intake points.  It is important to note that each has an application submission deadline (unless otherwise advertised):

  • For October: apply by 1 June
  • For February: apply by 1 October
  • For May: apply by 1 February

We prefer to admit full-time students into either the October or February cohorts, so they get maximum benefit from the CCRI training programme, which runs twice a year to coincide with those intake points.  Funded students will typically be admitted into the October cohort. 


What happens after I apply?


  • Your application is checked for completeness; we will ask you to supply missing information or documents before it can progress.
  • The PGRT for your area will make an initial assessment of your qualifications, experience, and research proposal and check that we have a Director of Studies and at least one other supervisor who is qualified and available to supervise your project.
  • All suitable candidates are invited to an interview with the PGRT and other subject expert/s and will be asked to prepare a short presentation on the proposed research to deliver at the start of the interview.
  • At the interview we discuss your research aims and plan in more detail, why the research is interesting and of value, your research experience, your motivation for PhD study and interest in SHU and in the scholarship opportunity (if applicable).
  • Following interview, a decision will be made to offer a PhD place (which may be subject to conditions being met) or reject your application. We will communicate all decisions and offers in writing.
  • Following acceptance of an unconditional offer for PhD, you will receive advice about how to enrol, induction activities and how to get started.

Frequently Asked Questions


I have a PhD offer; can I delay enrolment?

Yes, this may be possible.  Candidates holding an offer can ask to delay their enrolment and we will do our best to accommodate this.  However, an offer will expire if the candidate hasn’t enrolled within a year of the original agreed entry point e.g., a candidate with an offer for Oct must enrol in that month or may ask to defer to the following February or May entry point BUT must re-apply if they wish to start in the following October.


I have studied on a previous degree course with Sheffield Hallam, am I eligible for a fee discount?

Yes, if you have previously completed an undergraduate or master's degree course with us you may be eligible for a 10% discount on your fees.


Can I get guidance from the University regarding visa requirements and the visa application process?

Yes. Please contact the University’s International Experience Team. They are highly trained in this area and will be happy to offer guidance and help.


Can I get help with accommodation while I'm studying at Sheffield Hallam University?

Yes. Please contact accommodation services to discuss your accommodation needs.


Can I get disabled student support?

Yes.  SHU has a dedicated Disabled Student Support team providing support and guidance for all disabilities and medical conditions that have lasted or are likely to last for 12 months or more.   They can advise on e.g., applying for a disability support allowance, assistive technology and setting up a learning contract.  If you’ve accepted an offer and disclosed a disability, register with Disabled Student Support to discuss your needs and find out how they can help.  You don’t have to wait until enrolment.  

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