Postgraduate research

PhD/MPhil

What is a PhD?

PhD stands for Doctor of Philosophy. It's a globally recognised postgraduate degree which involves extensive and original research into a specific chosen field. Traditionally a PhD will be completed in 3 years full-time or 6 years part-time. It requires a high level of perseverance and independence as well as critical and evaluative skills. Although challenging, it is a rewarding process, developing you to become an expert in your chosen field. To be awarded a PhD you will be required to produce a thesis, which is usually between 40,000-80,000 words depending on the subject of study and method of presentation. You will also need to complete a ‘Viva Voce’ or oral defense of your PhD. Major and Annual reviews provide key stages of progression throughout your research degree.

Find out more about the range of PhDs available

What is a PhD by Publication?

The PhD by Publication is normally based upon research already undertaken before registration, it is normally considered on the basis of a series of peer-reviewed academic papers, books, citations or other materials that have been published, accepted for publication, exhibited or performed. It is usually accompanied by a substantial commentary (approximately between 5,000-10,000 words) linking the published work and outlining its coherence, significance and contribution to knowledge, followed by an oral examination (viva voce), at which the candidate defends their research. Applicants wishing to be considered for the PhD by Publication must be holders, of at least five years' standing, of an undergraduate or postgraduate degree awarded either by a UK higher education institute or by a recognised equivalent non-UK degree of the same standard. Students are expected to submit their materials for examination 1 year from the registration date.

Applicants wishing to apply for a PhD by publication should submit an online application form. The application requires:

  • A CV and the names of two references.
  • A title of the proposed PhD
  • A listing of the published work on which the application is based
  • A statement of not more than 1000 words setting out the candidates view of the nature and significance of the work submitted.

Download more details in our guide to PhD by Publication or contact us for more details.

What is an MPhil?

MPhil stands for Master of Philosophy and provides you with similar skills to a PhD. It requires extensive research, but you will not be required to provide the same levels of original contribution. The MPhil involves submitting a thesis and defending your work successfully in an oral examination (Viva Voce). The programme takes two years if studying full-time, or four years if studying part-time.

Find out more about the range of MPhils available