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Research Degrees

The aim of our research programmes is to provide you with a solid grounding from which to launch further research and career development. We offer research skills development and training as well as enabling you to develop related areas such as IT, presentation and career-planning.

Now is a great time to start your postgraduate research degree as loans are now available to help ease the cost of study at this level. More information on the loans can be found here

We offer the following types of research degree:

The PhD is a programme of independent, self-directed academic research, supported by a team of supervisors that makes an original contribution to knowledge written up in a thesis. The PhD programme also supports the development of research and generic skills to equip you to operate successfully as a professional researcher in any setting.

The MPhil is a programme of independent, self-directed research reviewing or surveying and collating and evaluating existing knowledge in an approved topic and presenting the findings in a thesis for examination including a viva. Like the PhD, the MPhil develops your research and generic skills and is pursued under the guidance of a team of expert supervisors. It differs from the PhD in that it is a smaller scale of work, conducted over a shorter period of time and does not create new knowledge in the field.

The MD is a doctoral research degree undertaken by medical graduates. An MD project is of more focused scope and therefore shorter in length than PhD study but is of comparable depth and the work should also make an original contribution to medical knowledge. It may be laboratory- or clinically-based and will focus on a specific clinical research topic.

Practising UK-based GMC-registered clinicians may undertake a full- or part-time MD to work on a research question that arises from or is part of their clinical duties and interests.

The aim of these programmes is to find novel approaches to integrating professional and academic knowledge.  Professional doctorates are work based and start with a large taught element, which is formally assessed followed by the completion of an original piece of research. The research should be presented as a dissertation, and as with a traditional PhD, is examined by experts in the chosen field. Usually the research project would relate to real life issues concerned with professional practice.

The PhD by Published Work route is intended primarily for mid-career research-active academic who, for one reason or another, haven’t had the opportunity to undertake a research programme leading to a PhD. Submissions for this award will consist of coherent body of work which is of the same quality, rigour and volume as required of a standard PhD in your field and which constitutes an original contribution to knowledge. 

At the University of Wolverhampton this route is only available for academic staff of the University appointed to a full-time contract or occupying a substantive part-time post equivalent to at least 0.2 of a full-time contract.

See 'Appendix A: Regulations for the Degree Award of PhD by Published Work' of the 'Research Degree Regulations' for more information:

Higher Doctorates are awarded to individuals who have demonstrated a command over a field of study and who have made a significant original contribution to the advancement of knowledge or to the application of knowledge (or to both).

Applications may be made for the following higher doctorates:

  • Doctor of Arts (DArt)
  • Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)
  • Doctor of Design (DDes)
  • Doctor of Engineering (DEng)
  • Doctor of Letters (DLitt)
  • Doctor of Laws (LL.D.)
  • Doctor of Music (DMus)
  • Doctor of Science (DSc)
  • Doctor of Social Science (DSocSc)
  • Doctor of Technology (DTech)

Higher Doctorates are awarded on the basis of a submission of a substantial portfolio of research-based work. The applicant must have published research outputs in the accepted media within their field of significant quality and number and be involved in peer reviews of their subject.

 The work submitted must be of high distinction and must establish that the applicant is a leading authority in the field or fields of study concerned. Applicants must evidence a sustained and coherent contribution in their field over a number of years that is consistent with the applicant playing a leading role in their subject area. Applicants must demonstrate leadership in their field, the nature of which must be set out clearly in the applicant’s statement.

See 'Appendix B: Regulations for the Award of Higher Doctorate' of the 'Research Degree Regulations' for more information:

For further information you can download copies of the research degree regulations via the University's Academic Regulations.

Things to Consider


ProgrammeMode of attendanceHours per weekWeeks per yearMax Programme LengthProgramme Breakdown
PhD Full-time At least 35 hours per week Minimum of 45 weeks per year Four years 3 years study (+ 1 year write-up period if required)
PhD Part-time At least 15-18 hours per week Minimum of 45 weeks per year Eight years 7 years study (+ 1 year write-up period if required)
MPhil Full-time At least 35 hours per week Minimum of 45 weeks per year Two years 1 year study + (1 year write-up period if required)
MPhil Part-time At least 15-18 hours per week Minimum of 45 weeks per year Four years 3 years study + (1 year write-up period if required)
International Distance Full-time At least 35 hours per week Minimum of 45 weeks per year Four Years  3 years study + (1 year write-up period if required)
International Distance Part-time At least 15-18 hours per week Minimum of 45 weeks per year Eight years 7 years study + (1 year write-up period if required)


All applications are assessed on an individual basis and in some cases the University may require you to meet higher entry requirements than the minimums outlined below.

To apply for a research degree, you should normally hold one or more of the following:

  • a first or upper second class honours degree, or
  • a master’s degree, or
  • evidence of prior practice or learning that is accepted by the Dean of Research, or
  • relevant professional experience 

For a Higher Doctorate, you should normally hold either:

  • a first degree awarded by a UK University (or equivalent body), of at least seven years standing, or a qualification of equivalent standard; or
  • a higher degree awarded by a UK University (or equivalent body), of at least four years standing, or a qualification of equivalent standard.

English language requirements

If your entry award was not delivered in English, you do not have a degree from an English-speaking University, or you are a non-native speaker of English, you will be required to demonstrate proficiency in English at least to the level of an IELTS score of 7.0 or its equivalent to be registered as a research degree student.

However is you wish to pursue a Research Degree in the areas of Chemistry, Computing and Mathematics, Computer Science, or Engineering, you will be required to demonstrate proficiency in English at least to the level of an IELTS score of 6.5 (Writing - 6.5 and no less than 6.0 in any other component) or its equivalent.

Pre-Research Degree Course

If you need some support to meet the criteria of applying for one of our research degrees, we offer a Pre-Research Degree Course which is a bridging course to an MPhil or PhD.


The fees charged for our postgraduate research degrees depend on whether you are a home/EU student or an international student. Have a look at our Research Degrees Fees page for how much your programme will cost per year*.

*Research Support Fees: In addition to course fees, you may be liable for other charges, such as Research Support Fees (RSF). RSFs are a fee charged to provide funding to cover research-related items/activities which are essential in order to carry out the research. RSFs are detailed alongside our fees and these will be confirmed at the time of offer.

As a research student, you could self-fund or apply for funding from an employer or other organisation. has detailed information about funding postgraduate study.

Financial support for research study

Before applying, you should consider carefully how you will finance your studies for the duration of your programme, including tuition fees, research support fees and living costs.

We are able to take payments in instalments, to spread out the cost of your studies, and it is possible to switch between full-time and part-time modes of study. For more information go to

Government loans

From 2018, the government is making loans available for postgraduate research students of up to £25,000, to cover fees and living expenses. More information can be found at

20% alumni Loyalty Discount

We offer a 20% discount on fees for postgraduate qualifications if you're a University of Wolverhampton graduate.

From 1st August 2018, the University will also be offering the Loyalty Discount to students progressing from an undergraduate programme and/or a taught postgraduate programme to a postgraduate research programme, where both courses are University of Wolverhampton Awards.

There is no time limit on how long ago you completed your degree and/or Masters level qualification, as long as the new award is at a higher level.

For full terms and conditions please see: Loyalty Discount for Postgraduate Research Students

Research councils

The UK Research and Innovation funds postgraduate study in all subject areas on a discretionary basis.

University Research Studentships

The University offers a very limited number of research stipends, formerly known as bursaries, to research students. Stipends are designed to support specific projects as determined by the Research Institute rather than individual student-led projects.

Funds are accessible from the relevant Research Institute or Centre - please contact them directly.

Other sources

The Dennis Turner Opportunity Fund

Living in Wolverhampton

It is enviably cheap to live in Wolverhampton and ideally located for travel around the UK. We are only one and a half hours from London, one hour from Manchester and 15 minutes from Birmingham by train. If you have not lived in the West Midlands or the UK before, you should research the average living costs.

If you would like to apply, please click through to your preferred PhD programme above and click Apply Now.

Please go to our Making Your Application page for further guidance.

All of our postgraduate research students belong to both their Faculty and The Doctoral College. The Doctoral College delivers a comprehensive programme of research training and development, as well as social events for you to meet with others and exchange ideas.

Additional support for all of our postgraduate students includes:

  • English language support: available to all students for whom English is not their first language.

  • The Gateway: Offering advice before you join us, including information on funding and career
  • Counselling Service: Professional, confidential and non-judgemental advice and support during your studies.
  • The Chaplaincy: A friendly and unique place on campus for people of all faiths and none.
  • Nursery facilities: Our nursery on City Campus, Little Scholars, offers an excellent and convenient environment if you require childcare.
  • Students’ Union: A comforting and welcoming space on campus, as well as opportunities to get involved in social and sporting activities, advice and support.
  • Student Support and Wellbeing (SSW): Comprehensive support services for students with disabilities.
  • WeLoVe Alumni Association: Careers advice, discounts and opportunities to network and join us at special events.