Applying to study for a PhD

Central has a two stage application process. If you are interested in applying for a PhD at Central, then the first step is to complete our online application. Within the online system you will be invited to fill out a short form, the "Expression of Interest" form, with basic information about your proposal. You should do this as far as possible in advance of your desired start date. This will allow staff to conduct an initial assessment of the project and invite applicants with viable projects to develop a full proposal in the second stage.

Application Process

The drop-down boxes below provide information about what is required for Stage 1, Stage 2 and the Interview Stage:

Application Stage One

For the first stage, applicants should follow the online guided process by clicking the relevant 'Apply online' link located in the left-hand column of this page.

Applicants will be required to:

  1. complete a series of short online forms to provide the Admissions Office with your details. These will be held confidentially, and not used by the Research Degrees Team who will assess your project for suitability to Central’s specialisms;
  2. upload a completed Expression of Interest form, detailing the project;
  3. a one-page CV.

The Expression of Interest form asks for short answers to the following areas:

  • Proposed year and term of entry (i.e. October or January)
  • Mode of study: Full time/Part time
  • How do you intend to fund your study?
  • Proposed project title
  • Keywords (up to 5)
  • Key research questions
  • Description situating the research and potential original contribution to knowledge (300 words)
  • Practice research: indicate how this may, if applicable, operate in the context of the inquiry and what resources are needed (200 words)
  • Indicative bibliographic sources: list 5 key books, articles, and performances already consulted, which have informed the project's conception
  • Possible supervisors: name at least two possible supervisors
  • Have you spoken to anyone at Central about this project?

Please note that Central no longer accepts Expression of Interest forms submitted via email; they must be uploaded as part of the online process when prompted. CVs of more than one page may be returned, which can delay the processing of an application.

Application Stage Two

The Research Degrees Team will review your Expression of Interest form and provide feedback as appropriate.

Applicants with projects that demonstrate an alignment with Central’s specialisms, and supervision availability, will be invited to proceed to the second stage of the application process. Research Services will write to such applicants to request a full proposal and personal statement, which will be considered by a minimum of two senior members of staff and/or proposed project supervisors.

Full Proposal and Personal Statement


No more than 2,000 words and covers the following:

  • Overview of the project (approx. 350 words)
  • Key research questions (approx. 150 words)
  • Research context (literature and performance review) (approx. 400 words)
  • Methodologies (please include details of any other archival or practice resources that you will wish to draw on (approx. 300 words)
  • Timeline (approx. 300 words)
  • Indicative bibliography (approx. 400 words)                                                                      


No more than 1,300 words and covers the following:

  • Why do you wish to undertake this project at Central?
  • Practice – if appropriate to your application please provide details of qualifications and previous experience in the fields relevant to your proposed practice. You may provide a url link to 5 mins of your current practice. (approx. 400 words)
  • What training you envisage needing to realize this project? Please delineate any specialist technical equipment or software needs or other resources that you have identified. (approx. 400 words)
  • Ethics: what kind of ethical issues merit consideration in undertaking this research? (approx. 300 words)

Please be aware that you may be asked to provide further information during the admissions process.


Research Services will collate and provide feedback on full proposals.

Applicants who have viable projects will be called to interview, which will normally be held with the proposed potential supervision team. Interview panels may, on occasion, also include a member of the Research Degrees core academic team. Interviewees will be notified of all panel members in advance.

Studentship interviews will be held in April, after all offers of a place on the programme have been made, with the Director of Research and members of the core team.

Receiving Decisions for PhD Applications

Applicants will receive written confirmation of the final decision from Central’s Admissions and Student Recruitment Office.

If you are offered a place, the formal offer will lay down the framework within which you will be conducting research.

For example:

  • whether you will be full-time or part-time
  • the annual fees you will be required to pay in the first year, including information about whether there are any additional charges (e.g. for materials, production support, etc.)
  • the outline of the proposed research programme, the normal length of study and the facilities which will be made available
  • the names of your allocated supervisors.

Your topic for research will normally have been agreed at the interview stage and will be included in the offer letter. Where this is not the case, it must be formalised by the Research Degrees Committee no later than one month after registration.


Candidates register initially for the MPhil (unless you are transferring research begun for a PhD elsewhere).

To transfer to the PhD, you will submit a substantial piece of work-in-progress around nine months after you have begun your MPhil for full-time students; this time is pro-rata for part-time students. Details on length of format, time required and assessment of work, can be found in the programme specifications for each postgraduate course in the prospectus.

When to Apply

You are advised to apply as far as possible in advance of your desired start date.

The School has two start dates for the programme, in October and January.

Should you be transferring your PhD from another institution, you will need to follow the same application procedure.