How to Apply for a PhD

School of Stage and Screen (last updated August 2023)
Produced by the Associate Head of School for Research and Knowledge Exchange

It’s great to hear that you’re interested in applying for a PhD at the University of Greenwich in the School of Stage and Screen.
Our Doctorate of Philosophy (PhD) is a large scale (3-5year) self-directed research project, undertaken with support from expert supervisors across our school.

Successful applicants will join a rich and diverse research student community studying across three programmes in our

  • MPhil/PhD2 – Drama
  • MPhil/PhD – Music and Sound Arts
  • MPhil/PhD – Film and Screen Practices

With support from your supervisor, you will explore the bounds of your project and make an original contribution to your field. Because the majority of the learning in a PhD takes place as self-directed study, supported by a supervisor, it is really important to identify the correct supervisory team and the right environment to undertake your chosen research project.

This document sets out the various stages of the application process to act as a guide.

It is divided into the following key sections:

    • STEP 1. – Develop a PhD Research Project Proposal
    • STEP 2. – Electronic Application
    • STEP 3. – Proposal Review
    • STEP 4. – Interview
    • STEP 5. & 6. – Registration

A. Identifying a Supervisor

All PhD projects are guided and supported by a Primary and Secondary supervisor (and in some cases also a Third). As such, you should consider carefully the scope of your own interests and identify potential supervisors with expertise linked to your specialist research

This might include having one supervisor with a more practical focus and another with a more theoretical emphasis. OR for an interdisciplinary project, this could mean supervisors across areas e.g. one supervisor in Drama and Performance and the other is in Film.

You may have already identified a potential supervisor through reading or experiencing one or more research outputs (books, papers, performances, films, compositions etc.) OR you may have come across the research activities at the university via one of our public events or activities. Whatever the specific context, you can find comprehensive details of our academics and their expertise via the profiles on our Research Centre websites.

  • SOUND/IMAGE Research Centre
  • Creative Futures Research Centre

Use these webpages to identify relevant outputs from our experts and find out more about the scope of activities taking place across the school and the resources we have available.

B. The Application Process

Application for PhD is a two-step process.

STEP 1. – Develop a PhD Research Project Proposal

A PhD Research Project Proposal is a narrative (a story) which demonstrates that you have:

  • Knowledge of your field.
  • Defined research questions.
  • A clear sense of how you might make an original contribution to that field.
  • Relevant experience which will allow you to undertake this project.
  • Awareness of the methods that you want to use to undertake your project and access your original contribution.
  • An explanation of why Greenwich / Stage and Screen has the best resources in place to support and enable you to undertake your research.

The proposal should clearly and confidently communicate that you are ready and suited for the project that you are applying for.
It should be no longer than 1500 words.

Key Things to Include – 3 P’s – Project, Person, Place

  • Project – Demonstrate that you have a clear understanding of your field and that you have identified a gap in knowledge that your project will fill.
  • What are your research questions and how will you answer them?
  • How do these questions constitute an original contribution to the field?
  • What methods will you use and why are those chosen the best ones to answer your questions. Possible research methods might include:
    • Quantitative = numbers based evaluations (via ratings e.g. Likert scales),
    • Qualitative = descriptive based evaluations (questionnaires or interviews),
    • Philosophical or Theoretical = conceptual text based,
    • Archival = records which could be visual, text based, sonic, filmic,
    • Practice = applied practical projects through which you put ideas into action and later reflect upon their outcome.
  • What do you imagine you will deliver at the end of your project (This might be any combination of: written thesis, album of compositions, performance, series of films).
    • In responding to this, remember that Research is fundamentally defined as: new insight, effectively shared.

Person – All about you. Cite your relevant expertise, experience and interests.

  • Who influences you?
  • What key texts or works are relevant to your research interests?
  • What specific relevant skills do you have for this research?
  • What other significant projects have you been engaged in? How do these demonstrate your resilience and ability to overcome challenges?
  • Why are you the best candidate to undertake this research?

Place – Why is this the perfect place to enable you to undertake your research. Think about and discuss the resources available*:

  • Greenwich, Stage and Screen, PhD programme,
    • Drama / Music & Sound Arts / Film and Screen Practices
  • Supervisors (specific specialisms and experience),
  • Equipment,
  • Networks of contacts / partners,
  • Track record of previous projects,
  • Location,
  • Access to Archives.

*You may find it beneficial to research the profiles or our staff to identify relevant publications, outputs and projects. And our Research Centre pages to learn more about our strategic areas of focus and our facilities.

Final Checks

Be sure to re-read the proposal before you submit it. Try to put yourself into the readers shoes, and make sure that you’re not taking for granted any assumed knowledge that you have about yourself, your interests, and your experience. Consider how you will translate the data or information that you uncover, into knowledge that you can share.

Remember that research is a process. You will reveal new insights by engaging in its undertaking. As such, we’re not expecting you to know and describe your final findings before you’ve even started, but rather to frame the problem that you want to solve, how you’re proposing to solve it and how new insight in this area has the potential to benefit others in your chosen field.

STEP 2. – Electronic Application

i. Double check that you meet the entry requirements listed on the Applying for a postgraduate research degree page.
ii. Submit an application via the online system to be formally logged in the university application system.
iii. Remember to upload your PhD Research Proposal to this application and include any other required documentation.

C. What Happens Next?

STEP 3. – Proposal Review for your registration and the beginning of your research project.

Your PhD Research Project Proposal will be assessed by your prospective supervisor and another academic research colleague.
The outcome of this assessment might be:

  • NOT APPROVED: Your project is not suitable in its current form or we won’t be able to properly support your proposed research project with our resources. You will receive an email with our rationale and recommendations.
  • MORE INFORMATION REQUIRED: If we require any additional information or have any queries about your PhD Research Project Proposal, we’ll write to you for clarification.
  • APPROVED: You will receive an invitation to an interview.

STEP 4. – Interview

If your proposal is accepted, you will be invited to a formal interview. You will be interviewed by your prospective supervisor and at least one other academic.

  • You’ll give a short 7-10 minute presentation on the topic of your proposal.
  • We will discuss your proposal and ask you questions about it.
  • You will have the opportunity to ask questions about the supervisors and PhD study.

STEP 5. & 6. – Registration

If you are successful at interview you will be notified via email, and our administrative colleagues will contact you to begin the formal processing of your application.

This will include a formal start date for your registration and the beginning of your research project.

D. Any Other Queries

If you have any other queries or require any additional support or advice, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us.

For queries about STEP 1-3:
Please contact the relevant PhD programme lead:

  • Drama – Prof. Jorge Ramos (
  • Music and Sound Arts – Dr. Andrew Knight-Hill (
  • Film and Screen Practices – Dr. Rosamund Davies (

For queries about STEP 4-5:
Please contact the Postgraduate Admissions team;

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