Museum Studies


Museum Studies at Leicester offers supervision for the degree of:

  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) - full-time

This degree is available to study both on campus and by part-time distance learning.

Supervision and research areas

We offer supervision in Museum Studies in areas compatible with the research interests of our academic staff including:

  • Art and Its Institutions: Histories and Practices
  • Cultural Heritage and Cultural Practice
  • Culture: Politics and Representation
  • Museums: Design, Space, and Innovation
  • Museums: Engagement and Participation
  • Museums: Experience and Affect
  • Museums, Heritage Sites, and Cultural Institutions: History and Memory
  • Museums: Social Agency and Organisational Change 
  • Museum Work: Cultures and Practices

Interested in a different research area?

It is important that the area you want to work in is broadly compatible with our research interests - otherwise we may not be able to accept your application.

However, please do not feel we will not be interested if there is not an exact match. It is sometimes possible to be flexible, so please contact us.

Entry requirements

Applicants must hold a UK undergraduate (Bachelors) degree with at least first class or upper second class honours or an equivalent qualification from a recognised overseas institution and a first class or 2:1 equivalent for a Masters degree.

  • You should have a good knowledge of the field of Museum Studies; however, we recognise that knowledge acquired in other fields – from palaeontology to Modern Languages – can serve as a strong foundation for PhD study of museums, galleries and heritage.
  • Students undertaking a PhD in Museum, Gallery and Heritage Practice will usually be working professionals. We will also consider individuals working outside of these formal relationships on the basis of their proposal or an agreed relationship with a museum or heritage organisation. We will consider individuals working in peripheral or commercial organisations associated with this sector (commercial gallery managers, trustees, environmental scientists, tourism officers and so on). We will consider non-professionals where the project has a strong practice-based element (such as a collection or heritage survey).

See academic entry requirements and the English language entry requirements.

How to apply

  1. Make sure we offer PhD supervision in the area in which you want to work.
  2. Download and save the Research Proposal Form. Complete all sections of the form telling us what you want to research, how you intend to do it, and why it is worth doing and how, with reference to existing practice and research, it constitutes an original investigation. When you are ready to apply for your place you will need to upload the form to the Research Proposal section of your online application form.
    You might be interested in signing up for our 5 week online course 'Discovering Your PhD Potential: Writing a Research Proposal. The course is offered through FutureLearn where you can register your interest for the next available course.
  3. Prepare your supporting documents - with your application you need to include proof that you meet the academic entry requirements and the English language entry requirements
  • Include all relevant certificates/diplomas and transcripts
  • international applicants must provide official copies of their entire course transcripts including explanations of the mark schemes used
  • supporting documents not in English must be provided with a certified English translation
  • In addition to uploading the above documents please enter contact details for two academic (not personal) referees who can comment on your suitability for the research degree programme or upload letters of reference if already available
  • Personal Statement

Submit your online application using the Apply button at the bottom of this page. Upload your supporting documents and completed Research Proposal Form.

When to apply

We have intakes in January, April, July and September each year.

You should try to submit your application as far in advance of your preferred start date as possible. If you are an international applicant and require a visa to study in the UK you should submit your application at least three-to-four months before the proposed start date.

After you have submitted your application, it will take a minimum of six weeks for you to receive a decision about your application.

Fees and funding

Tuition fees vary according to your fee status (whether you live in the UK, EU, or international) and the mode of study (full-time or part-time). For clarification, please contact

UK/EU Campus-based

  • Starting in 2020/21 academic year: £6,030 per year
  • Starting in 2021/22 academic year: £6,030 per year

International Campus-based


  • Starting in 2020/21 academic year: £15,520 per year
  • Starting in 2021/22 academic year: £15,520 per year

Distance learning

UK/EU distance learning

  • Starting in 2020/21 academic year: £6,030 per year 
  • Starting in 2021/22 academic year: £6,030 per year

International distance learning

  • Starting in 2020/21 academic year: £12,910 per year
  • Starting in 2021/22 academic year: £12,910 per year

Paying for distance learning

The fees quoted are the annual fees and are paid over the first 4 years of study. The fees can be paid by the following options:

  • Total course fee paid in full before first registration
  • Total course fee split into four annual payments with first annual payment made in full before first registration
  • Total course fee split into 12 equal instalments paid spread over years 1-4 of the study.  The first instalment to be paid before first registration
  • If study extends beyond the 4th year no further fees are required

A payment schedule will be sent with the offer letter.

Duration of study: 

The normal duration of a PhD programme is three years (full-time campus based). PhD students may use the fourth year as a 'writing-up' year for which a reduced fee is payable if active research has been completed (currently £100). The maximum registration permitted is four years.

For Distance learning the study is part time and has a minimum registration period of 4 years and a maximum of 7 years.


For a list of our available scholarships/studentships, please visit our funded opportunities pages.

PhD description

PhD students complete an independent research project under the guidance of a supervisory team. The research is normally completed over a maximum period of 3.0-3.5 years (full-time) or 6.0-6.5 years (part-time/distance learning).

A fourth year (full-time) or seventh year (part-time/distance learning) or the remaining part of this can be used to prepare the thesis for examination. The thesis should not normally exceed 80,000 words and must make an original contribution to knowledge and contain work of publishable quality. The thesis must then be defended in a viva voce (oral) examination before a degree can be awarded.

PhDs explained