Studying a creative research degree at UCA means joining a vibrant and progressive top ten research community with a wealth of specialist resources for creative research and practice.

Want to study a creative research degree? At the University for the Creative Arts, you have the ideal setting, support, and environment to achieve your research and practice ambitions. 

Joining us for your creative PhD will give you an unparalleled opportunity to delve into an area of research that is relevant to your passions and your aspirations. 

You’ll be part of our imaginative, supportive research community, with a base at the UCA Doctoral College, located close to our Canterbury campus at Rochester House. Here, you can design the framework of your studies, make academic connections, and develop unique and impressive doctoral work. 

As a full or part-time research student at UCA, you’ll have the option to choose a traditional or practice-based route for your studies. Whichever you choose, you’ll develop an original written thesis, and practice-based candidates will need to produce accompanying creative work. 

Our students are undertaking PhD's in a variety of creative subjects, from exploring cultural hybridity in Nigerian film, to interpreting the behaviour of ants through fine art.  

If you're interested in joining them, and studying a postgraduate research degree at UCA, read on. 

at UCA

The deadline to apply for the Vice-Chancellor’s Studentships is 10 April 2024. These Studentships are also available on a part-time basis. All applications close on 10 June 2024.

A PhD is an advanced postgraduate qualification where you plan and complete your own focused investigation into a subject you have chosen and produce a piece of original research that contributes new knowledge to the research community.

A PhD is the highest-level academic qualification, and undertaking a PhD equips you be an independent researcher, ready to take your place in your field in academia or in the many jobs where research skills are important.

At the UCA Doctoral College, students undertake PhDs in a variety of creative subjects, from advancing the potential of the photobook, to exploring the relationship between dance and drawing.

Before making the decision to do a PhD, it is important to understand the nature of this programme and how this differs from Masters’-level study.

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Over half of our research students are undertaking a practice-based PhD, which might include for example making films, sculptures, robots, garments, or games alongside writing a 35-45,000 word thesis. Other students write a full 65-85,000 word thesis.

UK students can choose to study either full-time or part-time, however part-time study is not available to international students.

The pathway to PhD begins with enrolment in our Masters by Research degree, which includes an intensive taught course in October that is on site, the successful completion of which results in progression onto our doctoral programme (a further two years plus optional writing up year).


Throughout your studies, you will be supported by the Doctoral College in Canterbury. Your supervisors (who may be based on one of our three campuses) will act in a mentoring role, providing feedback and encouragement and helping you to develop the research required for a PhD qualification.

You will have at least two supervisors and monthly supervisory meetings will take place online or in person.

Many students collaborate with their supervisors and the wider UCA research community, both during and after their studies.

View our Research Staff Profiles

UCA is a creative university with a range of specialisms. Your study could focus on any of the disciplines, including:

  • Animation
  • Architecture
  • Business for the Creative Industries
  • Computer Arts and Visual Effects
  • Crafts
  • Fashion
  • Film, Television and Media
  • Fine Art and Digital Art
  • Games and Creative Technology
  • Graphic Design and Illustration
  • Interior, Product and Spatial Design
  • Music
  • Performing Arts
  • Photography
  • Visual Communications
  • The history and theory of art, design, architecture, visual culture and material culture

If you have a proposal and are not sure whether we have expertise in this, please get in touch with our office:

We offer a social and educational environment that is tailored to support your study.

The first part of your degree is face-to-face at our Doctoral College in the heart of Canterbury. It is designed to help you develop your research plan, equip you with the skills you will need to succeed, and to get to know your colleagues.

Following this you may want move campuses to be closer to your supervisors and relevant facilities as you build your creative practices. At each campus there is dedicated space to work and at the Doctoral College there are two floors of desks.

Throughout your studies you'll have access to our year-round programme that includes:

  • Workshops
  • Writing retreats
  • Field trips
  • Graduate forum of lectures and outings
  • International speaker seminar series
  • Gallery spaces for exhibiting
  • Monthly writing workshops
  • Annual student-run conference

Most importantly, you will be supported by the wider UCA research community with faculty members across all of our Schools actively engaging our students in projects, events and assistant teaching.