PhD and MPhil Postgraduate Research Degrees

Key Facts


Programme Overview

How to Apply

For application details please go to the 'How to Apply' section using the menu to the top left or the green 'How to Apply' button on this page.


Master of Philosophy (MPhil) or Doctor of Philosophy (PhD). All GSA degree programmes are validated by the University of Glasgow. Established in 1451, the University of Glasgow is a member of the prestigious Russell Group of leading UK research universities and a founder member of Universitas 21, an international grouping of universities dedicated to setting worldwide standards for higher education.


Students are able to choose, according to their individual programme of research, a mode of submission that best articulates their original contribution to knowledge. This may include a wide range of visual and textual elements, which may be in physical and/or digital formats.

Completion of the PhD programme normally takes a minimum of three years' full-time, or six years' part-time study.

Postgraduate Research Degrees (MPhil / PhD) Staff

Head of Doctoral Studies: Prof. Susannah Thompson

Doctoral Studies Administrator: 

GSA PhD Co-ordinators

School of Fine Art -  Dr Laura Guy:

School of Innovation and Technology - Prof. Steve Love:

and Prof. Lynn-Sayers McHattie:

School of Design - Dr Elizabeth Hodson:

Mackintosh School of Architecture - Dr Dave Loder:

Programme Overview

The Glasgow School of Art has a distinctive specialist, practice-led research culture which is widely recognised internationally. The generation of new knowledge and understanding through creative practice, scholarship and criticism in Fine Art, Design, Craft, Architecture and related fields is central to the concept of research. Our researchers include internationally renowned artists, designers, architects, historians and critics.

The MPhil is a one-year postgraduate research degree programme based in one of GSA’s five schools – Fine Art, Design, Innovation, Architecture or Simulation and Visualisation. The programme offers full or part-time study, with a degree gained after 1 years (full-time) or 2 years (part-time) of study.

The PhD is a three-year postgraduate research degree programme based in one of GSA’s five schools – Fine Art, Design, Innovation, Architecture or Simulation and Visualisation, supervised by a Primary Supervisor and up to two additional co-supervisors (one of which may be an academic in another institution, with approval from GSA). The programme offers full or part-time study, with a degree gained after 3 years (full-time) or 6 years (part-time) of study.

We offer opportunities for part-time and full-time programmes of research and welcome applications for either mode. MPhil or PhD programmes can be undertaken as practice-led projects which combine the submission of a written thesis with objects, artworks, exhibitions, performances, artefacts etc. which represent practice-led research (MPhil / PhD by Practice) or by written thesis only (MPhil / PhD by Thesis). Applications are considered on the strength, originality and rigour of the proposal, the ‘institutional fit’ between your proposed project and GSA’s areas of expertise and on our capacity to provide appropriate supervision.

The PhD community at GSA rearticulates processes and practices in relation to an ever-expanding corpus of creative forms and fields. We are an intellectually vibrant and supportive research environment where creative practice is nurtured and valued. Collaboration, experimentation, impact and knowledge exchange are central to our intellectually ambitious vision. We lead scholarly inquiry into creative practice and practice-led research in relation to the full range of academic disciplines and professional contexts available within one of the world’s top ten specialist art schools.

PhD supervision is arranged within and across our five schools: Fine Art; Design; Innovation; Simulation and Visualisation; and the Mackintosh School of Architecture. Our PhD researchers are supported by bespoke supervisory arrangements made across these disciplines, fields and research groups.

Many of our academic supervisors are practicing artists, designers, architects as well as critics, writers and historians. In addition to the broad range of supervisors at GSA, we can also arrange cross-institutional supervision through our membership of the Scottish Graduate School for Arts and Humanities (SGSAH) consortium, a partnership of 16 universities and higher education institutions in Scotland. This allows for innovative cross and interdisciplinary projects to be supported by supervisors drawn from world-leading universities, alongside our own specialist staff.

Both GSA and SGSAH offer funding for postgraduate researchers to support events, training and travel undertaken as part of their research, including residencies and paid internships with non-academic partners. In the last few years, our doctoral students have worked with a range of organisations as students, residents and interns. Recent examples include Historic Environment Scotland, Dundee Contemporary Arts, Orkney Islands Council, RSPB, Collective Gallery, Glasgow Women’s Library, LUX, Hospitalfield and a wide range of other institutions, organisations and agencies. As part of our commitment to professional development, employability and training, GSA also offers opportunities for PhD researchers to undertake paid Graduate Teaching Assistant positions, ensuring our PhD students gain valuable teaching experience while sharing their research and expertise with undergraduate and masters students. In addition, GSA hosts an impressive range of visiting researcher programmes and events. Recent keynote lectures, masterclasses and workshops have been led by Chris Kraus, Kate Briggs, Lauren Elkin, Juliet Jacques, Sir Peter Bazalgette, Jonas Staal, Tim Ingold, Bisi Alimi, Ayesha Hameed and Amy de la Haye.

PhD study is central to the development and reputation of GSA’s research. As a PhD student you will be joining a close-knit, interdisciplinary research community within one of the world’s oldest and most renowned practice-led institutions. For more information, informal feedback on proposals, advice on choosing supervisors etc., please contact the PhD Coordinator in one of our GSA schools (choose the one most closely linked to your proposed project in terms of discipline) – details in the menu to the left and see detailed information on how to apply HERE.

Supervisors and Current PhDs

Please refer to our PhD Supervisors page for details of our supervisory expertise and to the Student Profile page to see the projects our doctoral students are involved in.

Studio Provision
For PhD study, studio space is not provided by default. Students can make a case in their application for a project space at specific points in their research, which will be considered in negotiation with local departments and Estates.

Entry Requirements

Applicants should normally have obtained a minimum of an undergraduate degree with First or Upper Second Class Honours and (where required) an IELTS score of 6.5 overall (or equivalent). For PhD, successful applicants also usually hold a Masters degree and/or relevant professional experience in the field or discipline of their proposed PhD.