Structure of Postgraduate Study

The University is organised into five Faculties, and courses are taught across a range of disciplines. The University offers Research Degrees, Professional Doctorates and a wide range of Taught Programmes.

Research Degrees

  • Doctor of Philosophy
  • Master of Philosophy

Most research students will undertake an initial period of supervision and training of not more than 10 months for full-time students or 15 months for part-time students. During this period candidates for research degrees will be registered as research students of the University. Progress will be monitored and at the end of the initial period the appropriate school will decide whether:

  • You should register for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy
  • You should register for the degree of Master of Philosophy
  • A decision should be deferred for up to a further six months

Most research degrees are available on a full-time or part-time basis. Further information is given on the relevant school web pages.

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

This is a programme of independent research which normally takes three years of full-time study or six years of part-time study (including the initial period of supervision and training outlined above).

Doctoral candidates undertake research on a topic in which the candidate is expected to demonstrate the ability to:

  • Conduct original investigation
  • Assess ideas critically
  • Relate that investigation to a wider field of knowledge

You will normally have two nominated supervisors. At the end of the three-year period you submit a thesis for examination. For full information and regulations on thesis submission, please see:


Master of Philosophy (MPhil)

This programme is also pursued by independent research under nominated supervisors. Slightly less demanding than the PhD, it takes 1 - 2 years (full-time) or 2 - 4 years (part-time), depending on the topic, and results in the submission of a thesis.

Professional Doctorates

  • Doctor of Applied Social Research
  • Doctor of Education
  • Doctor of Midwifery
  • Doctor of Nursing
  • Doctor of Professional Health Studies

These professional doctorates are research degrees, with a taught component, and can be studied on a full-time or part-time basis.


Taught Programmes

  • Master of Business Administration (MBA)
  • Master of Education (MEd)
  • Master of Letters (MLitt)
  • Master of Science (MSc)
  • Master of Research (MRes)

These are taught courses, normally of 12 months' duration, if studied on a full-time basis or 24 months if you study part-time. The final months of the course are devoted to the production of a dissertation on an agreed topic of each student's choice.

Instead of a 12-month course, students can choose to work towards a postgraduate diploma. This is a taught course of 9 months' duration, if studied on a full-time basis, and does not include the production of a dissertation.

Further details on each course may be found in the course information pages

Part-time Study

Research degrees and some taught programmes are available by part-time or distance-learning study. For further details see the relevant departmental web pages.

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