A Master's by research degree focuses on research expertise and prepares you for professional work or PhD study. A PhD is a doctorate of philosophy based on mostly independent study.
Both research degrees are assessed formally on the basis of one piece of work, a dissertation (or thesis), that reports your original thought and research. You must also successfully complete all required training.
Choosing a topic
Although sometimes we have specific PhD research projects related to funding awards, most of our research students choose their own research topics. Once you have decided on the nature of your project, it is important to contact a staff member whose expertise matches your area of interest with a CV and research proposal to discuss your proposed project and potential supervisory arrangements. Master's by Research applicants should also follow this procedure.
You then work with your proposed supervisor on refining your research proposal which provides the starting point for your subsequent research.
During your research, you are supported by your supervisory team, normally comprising one main supervisor and a secondary supervisor. Your will have agreed your main supervisor, based on their compatibility with your research interests, prior to registration. Typically, you have one formal meeting per month with your main supervisor to discuss your work and progress (bi-monthly for part-time students).
Through the Graduate School, you have access to training in research-specific and broader transferable skills, including academic writing, career management and presentation skills.
PhD students in receipt of a teaching studentship (GTA), must also complete the Associate Fellowship Scheme (AFS). The AFS registration period is one year.
The Statistics and Methodology module from our taught MSc programme is available for doctoral students who have not already completed an advanced statistics and methods course. Master's by Research students are usually required to undertake this module.
MSc 1 year full-time, 2 years part-time; PhD 3 to 4 years full-time, 5 to 6 years part-time
Knowledge and understanding