Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

School of Education

How to apply

In this Section:

To apply for a postgraduate research degree at the School of Education, you should have a relevant first degree at honours level or equivalent. We also prefer that you hold a Masters degree in the area you wish to pursue further, and that you have appropriate experience in the field of education.

All research students must complete a University of Leeds: application for research degree study form. There is no application fee and you can apply at any time of the year. However, we encourage full-time students to begin their studies in October at the start of the academic year, so please bear this in mind when submitting your application.

The application form also includes guidelines on how to fill in each section correctly. Please also consult the information on Preparing Your Research Proposal as it will help you with submiting with your application.

Please read all the material thoroughly before completing and/or submitting your application as this will ensure your application is processed more quickly.

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If English is not your first language, you will also normally need to meet the following English Language requirements.

  • IELTS: 6.5 overall with no grade below 6.
  • TOEFL iBt: 94 (Listening 21, Reading 23, Speaking 23, Writing 24)

The University of Leeds Language Centre provides the Academic English for Postgraduate Studies pre-sessional course which is designed to help international students develop the necessary language and academic study skills required for successful study on a research degree programme.  Pre-sessional courses start in September, January, April, July or August.

For further information, please visit the Language Centre’s website or contact the Language Centre via email.

These notes supplement the more general notes for guidance on completing the University application form for research degree study.
Section G of our application form asks for a brief description of the general research area that interests you. In the School of Education, we ask you to supplement this by submitting an outline research proposal.

This is an important part of your application because it allows us to see what you want to research, how you are thinking of doing the research, and your understanding of related research in the field. Our decision on whether or not to accept you as a research student includes an assessment of the viability of your proposed research project, so it is worth taking some time and care over preparing the outline proposal.

Good research usually starts from some questions that need answering, a problem that needs solving, or a puzzle that needs deeper understanding. This gap in knowledge and understanding gives rise to a research topic or issue, and to research questions which guide your work. A proposal should therefore include the following elements.

  1. A short general statement that, in a couple of paragraphs, introduces the research topic or issue that you want to investigate and what you want to find out.
  2. A discussion of some published literature (about one page long) that demonstrates your familiarity with the field and key researchers in your topic area. Try to make links between what is already known and what you want to find out.
  3. A presentation of one, or more, research questions upon which you wish to focus your research.
  4. A brief discussion (less than a page) of the research methods and procedures that, at this stage, you envisage using in your research.
  5. A very brief discussion of what you hope the outcomes of your research will contribute to knowledge and understanding in the field.
  6. A bibliography that includes full references for the literature you have referred to in the proposal.

We do not expect you to provide a fully worked out research proposal at the time of making your application.

Students that are accepted for research degree study will work on developing their proposals together with their supervisors. Indeed, most proposals change once work on a research degree begins, and the research you eventually carry out may be somewhat different from what you proposed initially.

However, the proposal you submit with your application should persuade us that you have the ability to develop the skills of a good researcher.

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