Institute for Transport Studies (ITS)

Applying for your PhD

Research degree applications can be submitted at any time of year. Most PhD researchers begin in October, but we are normally able to accommodate start dates in other months of the year.

You are welcome to contact potential supervisors to discuss your proposed area of research. You can find out which academics are most appropriate for your research area by reading their profile pages:

To apply for a place, please complete the University’s online application process via this link:

You will need to upload the following documents:

  1. Two academic references, at least one of which should be from someone who taught/supervised you during your most recent degree. The references should be on headed paper or on this template
  2. Scanned copies of certificates and transcripts from all of your previous degrees (undergraduate and postgraduate). If your previous university cannot provide evidence of the award in English, please also provide an official translation into English. If you are currently studying for a degree then please provide a transcript showing any marks that you have already received.
  3. CV
  4. English language evidence (if relevant)
  5. Either: an outline research proposal, which should include
  • a statement of the problem or issue to be addressed
  • a short summary of other work/recent literature in the area
  • 2 or 3 specific research objectives
  • an outline of the proposed methodology
  • a brief summary of the timetable for the research.

Or: an indication of which suggested PhD topic interests you. You should provide a statement of motivation outlining why you would be a good fit for the topic. This should refer to your academic background and any relevant experience. It should also give an indication of how you would choose to interpret and implement the project. 

Note: PhD places are offered without funding.  Applicants who also wish to apply for an advertised scholarship may need to complete a separate scholarship application form and submit this prior to the scholarship deadline. See the scholarship advertisement for details.

Please contact the Postgraduate Research Administrator (phd(at) if you have any queries about the application process.

Applicants for a research degree should have or expect to obtain a first or upper second class honours degree or equivalent, preferably in a quantitative discipline. A Master's degree (not necessarily in transport) may be advantageous but is not essential. Candidates should have a clearly specified and achievable research goal. Candidates for the one year research degree normally already have some research experience.

If English is not your first language, you will need a recognised English Language qualification to be admitted onto any of the University's degree programmes. 

Information about the University’s English language requirements can be found on this website.

The basic requirements for the Institute for Transport Studies are IELTS 6.0 with no less than 5.5 in each component skill. Some programmes, such as the Split-Site PhD, require a higher level of English language. 

Please contact the Postgraduate Research Administrator (phd(at) if you have any queries.  

The University of Leeds Language Centre provides an Academic English for Postgraduate Studies pre-sessional course which is designed to help international students develop the necessary language skills for successful postgraduate research. For further information, please see visit the Language Centre’s website or contact via email: langc(at)

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