When do applications open?

Applications for September 2024 are currently open. The deadline for these applications is 31 July 2024

Applications for January 2025 entry will open on 1 September 2024. The deadline for these applications will be 30 November 2024.

 Applications for September 2025 will open on 1 November 2024.

Please register your interest for future start dates and you will be notified when applications open.

The application process

  1. Identify the degree programme at SAS you wish to study: see all our courses
  2. Obtain electronic copies of your degree transcripts/certificates
  3. Obtain electronic copies of your English language proficiency documents (see requirements)
  4. Contact potential referee(s) to ask them to provide a reference to support your application
  5. Write your sample essay, if you are applying to the MA in Understanding and Securing Human Rights, MA in Cultural and Intellectual History or MA in Art History, Curatorship and Renaissance Culture
  6. Write your research proposal, if you are applying to a MPhil/PhD
  7. Prepare your CV (see requirements)
  8. Prepare your personal statement
  9. Submit your application online

A non-refundable application fee of £50 will need to be paid before your application can be considered.

If you have any queries about the course application and/or admissions process, or if you require course and application material in hard copy, please fill in the online enquiry form.

All application documents must be submitted in English or accompanied by an official translation into English. 

Degree transcripts/certificates

The academic transcript is a mandatory document for all applications.

Do not submit additional documents unless they are specifically requested. Admissions selectors will not use them when assessing your application unless they are required.

An academic transcript is a list of the programmes you have been enrolled on and the grades that you have received during your programme of study.

You must provide an official transcript from the Academic Registry or Student Records office at your institution. The transcript must be:

  • on institutional-headed paper;
  • be stamped and signed by the issuing office.

This can either be your final degree transcript and certificate, if you have completed your degree, or an interim transcript if you are currently studying for your degree.

If your documents are not in English, you must also upload a full translation of each document, prepared by your university or a registered translator. You must not translate the documents yourself.

Student transfer arrangements

Transferring to SAS from another institution: If you have been studying elsewhere and wish to transfer your registration to a programme offered by the School of Advanced Study (SAS), University of London, you may be able to transfer credit you accumulated to the new programme. If we are able to recognise the prior learning you will reduce the number of modules/courses you take, which may reduce the time and cost of the qualification for which you register. Further information and details of how to apply can be found here

Transferring from SAS to another institution: For students who wish to use accumulated credit from a School of Advanced Study programme and study elsewhere, we will, on request, provide a transcript of your studies, outlining your syllabus details and assessment results. A fee is payable for this service. It is up to the receiving institution as to whether they will recognise and accredit the learning.


For Taught Postgraduate programmes:  one reference; academic or professional.

Note: The application form will ask you to provide two referee contact details, however you only need to enter one. To proceed with the application process you will need to enter the same details for referee 1 and 2.

In some cases we may also ask for an academic writing sample of at least 3000 words and/or interview.

For Research Degrees: two references; 

The type of reference required will depend on when an applicant last studied a degree programme:

-3 years or less: two academic references 

-between 3 and 5 years: two academic references or if not available one academic and one professional reference 

-more than 5 years prior: two academic references or if not available one academic and one professional or two professional reference. 

We will not be contacting referees to request references, you must arrange for them to be submitted by the application deadline. Reference letters should be produced on headed paper, bear an original signature and must be written no earlier than six months prior to application. Referees must email their references to admissions@sas.ac.uk from their institutional email accounts. 

We cannot accept references from personal/private email accounts (i.e. Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail).

Alternatively, if a company/institutional email address is not available, we can accept hard copies of references on a letter headed paper, signed and with contact details, to be mailed to the address of SAS Registry. 

We can only accept confidential references. This means that your referee has written their letter objectively and that you have not read it. Therefore we cannot accept references that you email to us yourself.

References should normally be written in English. If a referee wishes to write in another language she or he should first contact the School's admissions department to be sure their language of choice is acceptable.

English language requirements

For details of our current English language requirements, please review our entry requirements.

Personal identification

Evidence of your full name and date of birth as stated on your application. This must be a scan or photocopy of either your passport, passport, photo driving licence or EU National identity cards.

If you have changed your name from that which is on the above document or certificates, you must provide official evidence of the change, e.g. a scan or photocopy of your marriage certificate or statutory declaration.

Personal Statement

Please describe your academic interests and your reasons for applying for this course of study. Please include information about other qualifications, employment and voluntary work undertaken (including any overseas) if relevant to your application of c.500 words.

Academic Writing Sample

Applicants for the MA in Human Rights applicants should submit a sample of written work with their application. If it is not possible to present a recent piece of coursework from your first (or other) degree, then perhaps you may have something relating to your work that you could use, or failing that, please write a short editorial opinion piece which could take the form of a review / analysis of an article or text, preferably on an issue relating to human rights of c.1000 words.
Applicants to the Warburg Institute should submit a sample of written work either with their application or prior to interview, preferably in English. If it is not possible to present a recent piece of coursework from your first (or other) degree, then perhaps you may have something relating to your work that you could use, or failing that, please write a short editorial opinion piece which could take the form of a review or analysis of an artwork, exhibition, article or book. Written work should not exceed 2000/3000 words (including any footnotes)

Research Proposal

As part of the application for admission to all Research and Doctoral programmes you must prepare a research proposal outlining your proposed area of study. The aim of the proposal is to determine your area of research interest so you can be matched with an appropriate supervisor, and to give you an opportunity to demonstrate to us that you have the aptitude to undertake doctoral level research.

It is the most important document submitted as part of your application, so we strongly encourage you to spend time preparing it.

Your research proposal should be no longer than 2,000 words in length, plus a bibliography. A Curriculum Vitae must be attached on a separate sheet.

Guidelines on drafting your research proposal.


We require a CV as part of your application. 


MPhil/PhD applicants by Distance Learning only: Research Degrees by Distance Learning form

As part of the application process you will need to submit the Research Degrees by Distance Learning form by uploading the document on to the portal. Please note that we are unable to consider your application if you do not submit this form.

Wait for a decision

Institutes will aim to make decisions on applications within 28 working days, although where an interview takes place, this may not be possible. 

Portfolio of Publications (PhD by Publication only)

Applicants who wish to apply for PhD by Publication at any of the School's Institutes are required to submit with their application a portfolio of publications no more than ten years old. We recommend upload this in a Word or PDF document.