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The Pre Research Degree Course

This course is designed for post graduate research students prior to enrolment on a research degree programme. The Pre Research Degree Course (PRDC) comprises one, six month module (Pre Research Degree Module 8RR001).  Overall it provides a bridging course to MPhil /PhD for students who do not meet the criteria for these research degrees in one or more of the following ways:

  • The research proposal (as set out in the Expression of Interest), has potential, but requires more development to be acceptable (as a RESPROP) for the full Research Degree.
  • The applicant is a non-native speaker of English and is not able to demonstrate profieicnet in English at least to the level of an IELTS score of 7.0 or its equivalent. (6.5 in the areas of Chemistry, Computing and Mathematcis, Computer Science, or Engineering)

The course enables students to develop generic and subject specific research knowledge to prepare them for future research degree studies.  This course focuses on developing Knowledge and Intellectual Abilities, Personal Effectiveness, and Engagement Impact and Influence. Students will analyse their research development needs in these areas, and will develop an Independent Learning Plan and identify developmental opportunities and engage with these.

Further information can be found in the PRDC Guide.


Applicants for the PRDC will have already completed an Expression of Interest (EOI) form for a research degree and will have been offered a place on the Pre Research Degree on the basis of an assessment of this EOI.  They will not need to submit another one.

This EOI will have already been assessed by two potential supervisors. Where the applicant is a non-native speaker of English with an IELTS score of less than 7.0, a member of the International Academy will also be involved in the assessment.

In line with other Research Degrees, students can start the PRDC throughout the year.  The Admission date is likely to be on the first Monday of the month.  The Offer letter will provide details of where to report to on the first day and the name of the Postgraduate Research Tutor within the Faculty who will carry out a brief induction at Faculty level.

Please be aware that if a Tier 4 visa is required, visa applications should be submitted at least 7-8 weeks before the intended start date of the course to allow time for the visa to be processed. If students need help with the visa application they can contact the Visa & Immigration Support Officer for advice.  See website or e mail

English Language Provision

Where English language development is required as part of the Pre Research Degree, students will meet with the International Academy to develop a lesson plan in this area; this will form part of the students independent learning plan.  The aim of this lesson plan will be to prepare international students whose first language is not English, and who already have IELTS 6.0 or equivalent (with 6.0 in Writing), to reach the English Language level required (IELTS 7.0) to progress to research study in the context of UK Higher Education. The delivery of English Language component of the PRDC is through one to one tutorials with a specialist teacher.  This allows For personalised development mindful of disciplinary area, the research topic and the student need.

[Please note:  There are a range of English Language Pre-Sessional Courses offered by the University's International Academy for those who wish to study a full-time degree course at the university but do not have the required level of English. If the applicant’s IELTS score is lower than 6.0, it may be necessary to undertake a further Pre-Sessional course to bring his/her English language skills to the correct level. Courses last from 5 - 33 weeks depending on the IELTS level on admission [please see the website above for more information].


International Students firmly accepting an unconditional offer of a place on the Pre Research Degree course with the English Language Skills development, are required to pay a non-refundable fee deposit of £5,000 prior to the issue of a CAS to apply for a Tier 4 visa.  The £5,000 will include the £3,000 cost of the English Language.  Where a student progresses from the Pre-Research Degree course to a Research Degree, a £2,000 discount off the first year Research Degree fee will apply.

Home students and international students firmly accepting an unconditional offer of a place on the Pre Research Degree course but not requiring the English Language option, will be charged £2,000.  Where a student progresses from the Pre-Research Degree course to a Research Degree, a £2,000 discount off the first year Research Degree fee will apply.