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  1. Research degrees
Study at City

PhD / MPhil Culture and Creative Industries

The Centre for Culture and Creative Industries is host to a vibrant research community concerned with current debates such as globalisation and identity, the politics of heritage and quality of life.

Key information

Start date

Admissions take place in late September each year.


Full-time: 2-4 years

Part-time: 4-7 years.



Full-time: £4,500 per year

Part-time: £2,250 per year


Full-time: £12,000 per year

Part-time: £6,000 per year


The Centre for Culture & Creative Industries is host to a vibrant research community concerned with current debates affecting:

  • Power in/of the creative and cultural sectors
  • Cultural geographies, heritage and the urban organization of culture
  • In/equalities and labour conditions in the cultural industries
  • Mediated identity, consumption and intimacy
  • Gender, ethnicity and sexuality

The Centre welcomes applications for research that is underpinned by empirical and/or theoretical methodologies. We have a strong commitment to the development of interdisciplinary approaches that take account of cultural and creative industries in historical, political and social contexts.


Entry requirements

Candidates should normally have or be expecting an upper second or first class degree in any related discipline. We also expect a Master's degree or equivalent with the dissertation component marked at Distinction level (70+). However, we also welcome applications from mature students with substantial research experience. Candidates can be considered for a PhD by Prior Publication.

We also expect:

  • A mature and independent attitude to research
  • Adherence to the values of the Student Contract
  • Commitment to taking part in a community of scholars
  • An open attitude to the development of your own research
  • Generous and constructive criticism of the work of others presented in seminars
  • An understanding of the National Qualifications Frameworks
  • Willingness to present working papers in School of Arts Seminars and national and international conferences.

English requirements

Under City regulations research theses must be submitted in English. Candidates whose first language is not English will be required to show evidence of a high standard of written and spoken fluency. Examples of this include a degree from a British university or a minimum overall score of 7.5 and no less than 7.0 in any of the subtests (Listening, Reading, Writing, Speaking) in the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) administered by the British Council. For further information about IELTS, please see their website:

Visa requirements

International Students (EEA and Non EEA) coming to study in the UK, may need to apply for a visa or entry clearance to come to the UK to study. The way that you apply may vary depending on the length of your course. There are different rules for:

  • EEA nationals joining the programme in 2020 and EEA nationals joining from January 2021
  • Students on courses of more than six months
  • Students on courses of less than six months
  • Students on a pre-sessional English language course.

For more information see our main Visa page.


The Programme

The PhD at City is designed to do two things: assist you with your research project and give you transferable skills for the years after you finish. With these aims in mind the PhD programme is structured as follows:

Year 1 - In year one students work with their supervisor to develop the literature review in their specific area and outline their methodology and plan for the thesis. They participate in peer seminars and are expected to attend research events in the department.

Year 2 - In order to progress from MPhil to PhD students present an upgrade paper no later than Spring of year two. This outlines their review of the literature, their methodology and gives an indication of the overall shape of the thesis.*

Year 3 - The formal requirements in third year are focused around the writing up and submission of the thesis.

Year 4 - The fourth year of a PhD is only used as a writing up year.

*Students on graduate research programmes are initially registered for an MPhil award. Promotion to registration to PhD is not automatic, but contingent on the satisfactory outcome of a review process. This normally takes place towards the end of the first year of registration for full-time candidates and towards the end of the second year for part-time candidates.

The programme will conclude with submission of your research in the form of a PhD thesis and attendance at a viva voce examination in front of at least two examiners, at least one of whom will be external to the University.

Candidates are required to demonstrate the following:

  • a full understanding of previous research literature and current academic and professional thinking;
  • the ability to undertake sustained, high level research and master the theoretical (and where appropriate, practical) aspects of the subject areas relevant to the research field;
  • the ability to communicate the subject matter of the research field, and the conclusions of the particular research project, in the accepted academic form of a research thesis.

The research thesis/dissertation must contribute to the advancement of knowledge and the understanding of the subject, either through the communication of substantial new information as a result of the research, or through a significant and novel reinterpretation of previous research and/or knowledge.

An MPhil thesis should demonstrate evidence of systematic study and should be either a record of original work or a critical exposition of existing knowledge; a PhD thesis should similarly demonstrate evidence of systematic study and in addition make a new contribution to the subject, shown either by the discovery of new facts or analyses or by the exercise of independent critical judgement.

For full details about the City PhD programme structure, please see the Guide for Research Students.

PhD Supervisor

CCI allows students -- in consultation with their supervisor -- to create a unique programme of study tailored to their needs within a broader framework of expectations. These cover: theory, history, methods/philosophy and substantive, detailed methods, as well as writing and presentation workshops.
The supervisor offers advice, and guides the student to successful and timely completion of the thesis. This is likely to be more prescriptive and directive in the early part of the PhD career, and more advisory and dialogical in latter stages. Whilst the supervisor is an expert, one would hope that the PhD student's expertise of the subject area begins to exceed that of the supervisor by the end of the first half of the thesis. Clearly, the student must make the thesis their 'own'. The focus of the supervisory relationship is shaping the research project, issues of analysis and focus, and the writing project. The supervisor will introduce the student to the world of academic life, and facilitate contacts with researchers to help with the development of the thesis.

The PhD student should take responsibility for project 'management' by taking notes and agreeing agendas for meetings, and keeping a long-term plan and milestones under review for regular discussion with the supervisor. The PhD student and supervisor should work as a team. Part of the early stage is to build up a relationship and a mode of working. The supervisor should keep the student prepared for deadlines, and the student should plan their time and their project accordingly, highlighting any potential issues and risks to smooth completion to the supervisor.
Supervisors will also help students identify needs, and select additional relevant courses based upon previous student.

A record of the agreed plan for first-year students must be lodged with the PhD director using City's Research & Progress (RaP) system and should be reviewed annually. Non-completion of this plan may lead to disqualification from further progress.

Funding options

Fees for doctoral candidates are charged annually and cover registration, supervision and examination. Fees are subject to review each year and may vary during your period of registration.

You pay the above fees (which usually increase each year in line with inflation) annually until you are ready to go into 'writing up' status, whereby you are no longer researching your research topic and are solely writing up your thesis for examination. You will not be required to pay further tuition fees but you will be charged the writing-up fee of £300 which will cover you for the duration of the writing-up period (a maximum of 12 months for full-time and 18 months for part-time students).

If a student fails to submit their thesis within the maximum writing-up period, they will be reverted to full registration (full-time or part-time depending on their status before moving to writing up) and will be required to pay the full fees. Students will only be expected to pay for the time taken to complete the thesis and once the thesis has been submitted the remaining proportional fees will be refunded to the student.

Fees are payable upon registration. Details of methods of the payment of tuition fees can be found on City's website, at:

Postgraduate Doctoral Loans

The Government has introduced a new Postgraduate Doctoral Loans scheme which can provide a loan of up to £25,000 over three years to support study for a doctoral degree. A Postgraduate Doctoral Loan can help with course fees and living costs while you study and can be used alongside any other forms of support you may be able to receive, for example from industry or business or through your PhD supervisor.

Find out more about Postgraduate Doctoral Loans

SeNSS Studentships

The South East Network for Social Sciences (SeNSS) consortium of 10 leading UK universities offers fully funded doctoral studentships, post-doctoral fellowships and placements.

Find out more and apply for SeNSS Studentships before 18th February 2021.



Research students are normally appointed a supervisory team consisting of at least two supervisors. One of these will be designated as the first point of contact with personal responsibility for ensuring that effective supervision is provided.


Find out more information on central provision for doctoral students.

Research Environment

The Department's PhD programme offers the support and resources you need to complete your doctorate, including:

  • Tailor-made supervision by our nationally- and internationally-renowned staff
  • Research training within the Department
  • Use of a specialist reference archive of more than 6,000 items unique to City as well as access to libraries and major London collections such as the British Library and the Arts Library of the Barbican Centre
  • Membership of the Department Seminar group, who meet regularly to participate in seminars given by research students and/or invited speakers from academe and the industry
  • The chance to publish your research in the Department's peer reviewed journal Culture, Criticism and Management
  • The support of the School's knowledge transfer programmes to provide insight into applied research
  • Working as part of a lively research community made up of students from all over the world with diverse educational and career backgrounds.

How to apply

We accept applications on an ongoing basis for entry in late September. There is no formal application deadline, but it is advisable to apply as early as possible due to the limited availability of supervisors.

To apply online, you will need to submit the following supporting documents:

  • A copy of your research proposal.
  • Copies of your degree certificates and transcripts.
  • Official work e-mail addresses (not private ones) for two academic referees (or one academic and one professional referee where appropriate).
  • Proof of your English language proficiency (if applicable).

When this information is received the application will be assessed by the relevant academic staff. Further information or an interview may be required. The applicant will be contacted if this is the case. The outcome will be reported to the applicant as soon as is practicable.

Find out more about how to prepare your research proposal.

Apply online

MPhil/PhD in Culture and Creative Industries (part time) starting in September 2021