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Research Degree FAQs

Here are some frequently asked questions (FAQs) about our MRes and MPhil/PhD programmes.

See our Professional Doctorate page for information about these programmes.

  • Can I apply to study on a distance-learning basis?

    Yes. Please submit the standard application form but include your reasons for wanting to study through distance learning in your personal statement.

  • Can I study part-time?

    Yes. Please note that the University is unable to sponsor a Tier 4 visa for part-time study.

  • When can I start?

    We have two intakes each year in October and January.

    2016/17 academic year: Monday 3rd October 2016 and Monday 30th January 2017

    2017/18 academic year: Monday 2nd October 2017 and Monday 29th January 2018

  • Why is the programme called MPhil/PhD? Can't I just do a PhD?

    All students will normally be initially registered for an MPhil and then required to transfer to PhD midway through their programme once the student has demonstrated their project is at a PhD level. A student will only be registered for PhD directly in certain circumstances, for example: when a student transfers their programme from another University where they have already completed the transfer to PhD process.

  • Can I apply for an MPhil only?

     Yes.

  • What is the difference between an MRes, MPhil, PhD and Professional Doctorate?

    The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) requires your work to make an original contribution to knowledge in your field of study. You will be expected to show evidence of systematic study; and of independent, critical and original thinking; while your thesis should be worthy of publication in whole or part. A PhD thesis is up to 80,000 words in length and is the culmination of 3 years full-time or 6 years part-time study.

    The Master of Philosophy (MPhil) requires a shorter period of study than the PhD, approximately 2 years full-time or 4 years part-time and conclude with a thesis of up to 40,000 words. The thesis should demonstrate your ability to undertake an appropriate research programme and to produce a critical analysis of existing knowledge in your field of study. The need for originality in the MPhil is less than what is required for the PhD.

    Whilst the Professional Doctorate is equivalent to the PhD, it varies in two ways: 1) There is a considerable weighting given to a taught component which comprises an integral and key part of the programme, and the assessment of the taught component contributes directly towards the final award. 2) The thesis produced by Professional Doctorate students will make an original contribution to knowledge within the relevant area or areas of professional practice.

    The Masters by Research (MRes) is an advanced postgraduate degree which can either be taken as a stand-alone qualification or as progression route into doctoral research. Unlike the MPhil, it has a taught component (60 credits of research methods modules), followed by a 120 credit thesis. The MRes also differs from a taught MA or MSc course by placing particular emphasis on the large research thesis and fewer taught modules.

  • I'm enrolled in a PhD programme at another university. Can I apply to transfer?

    Yes. Please contact the Research School in the first instance.

  • How do I apply?

    Information on how to apply is listed in the ‘How to Apply’ section on each course page. For MPhil/PhD study, applications are made through an online application form. For MRes courses and PhD studentships, please download the application form (Microsoft Word format) and return to the Research School.

  • When is the application deadline?

    The application deadline for entry in October 2017 is Monday 7th August 2017. Your full application, including supporting documents, must reach us by this deadline. International students requiring a visa may need to apply earlier in order to account for visa processing times.

    Late applications may be considered after this date but we strongly advise all applicants to apply as early as possible.

  • What are the entry requirements?

    MRes:

    First or Second Class Honours Degree or equivalent award in an appropriate discipline or The applicant has appropriate research or professional experience which has resulted in appropriate evidence of achievement.

    MPhil/PhD:

    A Postgraduate Masters Degree in a discipline which is appropriate to the proposed programme of study or First or Upper Second Class Honours Degree or equivalent award in an appropriate discipline or The applicant has appropriate research or professional experience at postgraduate level which has resulted in published work, written reports or other appropriate evidence of achievement.

    As part of its mission statement the University is committed to widening participation for its higher degrees. Although most candidates will have an undergraduate and/or a Masters degree, the University is happy to accept applications from candidates with relevant professional qualifications and work related experience.

  • What are the English Language requirements?

    We require a minimum IELTS of 7.0 (with a 7.0 in writing) for MPhil/PhD or IETLTS 6.5 (with a 6.5 in writing) for MRes. Other equivalent English qualifications will also be considered.

  • How much are the fees?

    The tuition fees for research degrees at the University of Worcester can be found on our Finance webpages.

  • What funding is available for research degrees?

    The University of Worcester offer a number of fully-funded PhD studentships each year. These include a fee waiver and tax-free bursary for 3 years and are linked to a particular project, subject or supervisor. Details of those studentships currently available are viewable here.

    Postgraduate loans were introduced from the 2016/17 academic year. If you are studying for an MRes or MPhil, you can borrow up to £10,000. Please visit the gov.uk website to find out more. Doctoral loans (up to £25,000) may be available from the 2018/19 academic year.

    You can also make use of the Alternative Guide to Postgraduate Funding. Please contact the Research School to obtain access.

  • Should I contact a potential supervisor before applying?

    Yes, we recommend that you discuss your proposed research project with a member of staff before applying. A list of members of staff and the areas they can supervise is available on the ‘Supervisors’ tab of each course page.

    Alternatively, each course page lists the MPhil/PhD Course Leader for the appropriate academic Institute who will be able to confirm the availability of appropriate supervision.

    If you have any general queries not related to your specific research project, please contact the Research School.

  • What do I include in my research outline?

    Guidance notes on preparing your research outline are available here.

  • I've submitted my application, what happens next?

    Applications are initially processed by the Research School and then passed to the MPhil/PhD Course Leader for the appropriate academic institute who in conjunction with other academic staff, will carefully consider your application. Candidates will be selected for interview based on the extent to which the following criteria are met:

    1. The Academic Institute has the supervisory capacity to support the research project 
    2. The research proposal has the potential to become a viable research project at doctoral level 
    3. The applicant demonstrates that they have the competence and motivation for completing a research degree based on the following criteria: a) Understanding of a UK doctorate and what this entails; b) Intellectual ability; c) Creativity – the potential to make an innovative contribution; d) Excellent organisational skills; e) Excellent communication skills – verbal and written; f) Perseverance.

    Applicants residing outside of the UK can be interviewed via Skype. Prior to interview, candidates will be asked to submit a piece of written work. This should be a piece of completed research work, for example, a Masters dissertation.

    All successful applicants are provided with an individual letter of acceptance and a contract which sets out the terms of the offer. The terms of the contract are binding on the institution and, upon acceptance, on the student. Students with special needs are referred to the University’s student support services. All international students will also receive contact from the International Centre about becoming an international student at the University of Worcester.

    Please note that the whole process may take several months.

  • Will I be able to gain any teaching experience while I study?

    Yes, we offer our research degree students opportunities which will equip them with the skills required for future employment, including teaching or other research/consultancy support duties on behalf of their supervisor.

  • What are the opportunities for Researcher Development?

    Students have access to an extensive programme of modules, courses and workshops, offered both face-to-face and online, that will develop their skills and capabilities as a researcher and equip them with a set of transferable skills that will enhance their employability. While some key elements of the programme are compulsory, students work with their supervisors to develop an overall programme of development specific and relevant to their individual needs. Please visit our Researcher Development webpages to find out more about what we have on offer.

  • Do you hold an Open Day?

    Yes, we hold a postgraduate research Open Day in the early Spring of each year.

  • I have another question, who do I contact?

    Please contact the Research School by emailing research@worc.ac.uk.