Research Degrees

How to find and apply for a PhD and MPhil at the University of Wolverhampton

Research degrees offer you the opportunity to develop and demonstrate your ability to undertake research into an area of personal or professional interest.

Our research degrees give you the most solid base possible to launch further research and career development. 

Browse our research degrees.

Our Offer

We aim to provide you with the expertise, the training, the environment, the support and the resources to ensure a speedy and successful doctoral completion, and employability skills for life after. 

Please see our PhD & Doctoral Offer for more information.

Now is a great time to start your 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 https://www.gov.uk/doctoral-loan

We offer the following research degrees:

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 Doctor of Medicine (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.

To find out more about the course and to make an application visit the MD Course page

Professional doctorates are structured doctoral programmes with taught elements that address aspects of theory, practice and research. They are equivalent in time, intellectual demand and academic outcomes to those of a traditional PhD.

Professional Doctorate students make a contribution to both theory and practice in their field, and develop professional practice by making a contribution to (professional) knowledge primarily through advanced supervised research written up as a thesis.

Professional Doctorate courses:

 

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 'Part D: Regulations for the degree award of PhD by Published Work' 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 'Part E: Regulations for the award of Higher Doctorate' for more information.

Life as a research student

You’ll have all of the benefits of being part of the University of Wolverhampton. You’ll have the option to stay in our student accommodation, you can join all of the Students Union sports clubs and societies and you’ll have access to the same student services. As well as this, you will be part of the Doctoral College, and be able to take advantage of our excellent Research Skills Development Programme.

Studying for a research degree is an intensive and demanding commitment; that is why, across the university, considerable practical and academic support is offered to all research students. During your studies you will be supported by a supervisory team who will guide you in the development of your project. They will offer advice and encouragement at every stage, helping you to develop increasing independence as you gain knowledge of your field. 

Don't take our word for it, meet some of our current research students and see what they have to say about studying at Wolverhampton.

Things to Consider

 

Programme Mode of attendance Hours per week Weeks per year Normal Programme Length Max Programme Length
PhD Full-time At least 35 hours per week Minimum of 45 weeks per year Three years Four years
PhD Part-time At least 15-18 hours per week Minimum of 45 weeks per year Six years Eight years
MPhil Full-time At least 35 hours per week Minimum of 45 weeks per year One year Two years
MPhil Part-time At least 15-18 hours per week Minimum of 45 weeks per year Two years Four years
International Distance (PhD) Full-time At least 35 hours per week Minimum of 45 weeks per year Three years Four Years 
International Distance (PhD) Part-time At least 15-18 hours per week Minimum of 45 weeks per year Six years Eight years

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. More detailed information is available in the relevant research degree regulations on the Research Degree Regulations webpage.

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 University, or
  • a qualification which is regarded by the University as equivalent to a first or upper second-class honours degree.

Applicants holding alternative qualifications, including professional qualifications, shall be considered on their merits and in relation to the nature and scope of the programme of work proposed. In exceptional circumstances, the University may permit entry to research degree programmes to applicants who do not hold typical academic qualifications. Professional experience, publications, written reports, or other appropriate evidence of previous research shall be taken into consideration. The University may place additional entry requirements, including written or oral submissions, on applicants who do not meet the criteria to ensure an ability to study at the required level.

For a Higher Doctorate

The following shall be eligible to make application for the Higher Doctorate degree:

  • Any member of the University’s staff who at the time of application have been employed by the University for not less than three years.
  • An honorary or visiting member of staff of the University of Wolverhampton who have served for not less than four years
  • Any alumnus of the University of Wolverhampton or the former Wolverhampton Polytechnic
  • A person who has carried out research at or in association with the University of Wolverhampton for a period of at least fifteen years, which has led to publications that will form a substantial component of the body of work presented in support of the application

Applicants should be holders, of at least seven years’ standing, of a doctoral degree awarded by a UK University (or equivalent body), or of a qualification of equivalent standard.

English language requirements

Applicants must demonstrate proficiency in English at least to the level of an IELTS score (or equivalent) of 7.0, with no individual element less than 6.0. The only exemption to this is for students who are not required to do so as per UKVI regulations: https://www.gov.uk/student-visa/knowledge-of-english

For an applicant wishing to pursue a Research Degree in the areas of Built Environment, Chemistry, Computing and Mathematics, Computer Science, or Engineering, applicants must 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).

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 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. Prospects.ac.uk 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 www.wlv.ac.uk/howtopay.

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 www.gov.uk/doctoral-loan

Please note: If you are intending to make an application to Student Finance England (SFE) to fund your studies, before applying to SFE, you will need an offer letter from the University with a formally agreed start date for your doctoral research. An offer will only be made following successful completion of the application process, therefore your start date may be at least 3 months from the date you submitted your research application to us. 

Loyalty Discount

The University offers a 20% 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

International students

A number of International Scholarships are available by application in academic year 2023/24.

Further information and guidance can be found at https://www.wlv.ac.uk/international/international-fees--scholarships/

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 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 are a national of a country that is not within the European Economic Area (EEA) and you do not have a passport issued by an EEA country, it is very likely that you will need to apply for a Tier 4 student visa before you leave your home country.

What type of visa you will need, and the process for applying for it, will differ based on the type of course you plan to study, the duration of your course and several other criteria.

As part of the application process you will need to obtain the relevant entry clearance before you can travel, ensure you have sufficient funds and pass any health checks before you arrive in the UK. 

For more information applicants should refer to guidance from our Visa & Immigration team

 

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 research 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
  • Careers, Enterprise & the Workplace - Careers advice & guidance, jobs & placements, volunteering, start your own business.
  • The Chaplaincy - A friendly and unique place on campus for people of all faiths and none.
  • Students’ Union - A Students Union bar, 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.

Making an Application 

To find out more about research in a specific subject please browse all PhD and MPhil programmes via the button below, where you can register your interest if you require further information or click 'Apply Now' to take you straight to the online application form.

For more information on what to include in your application see our Research Applications Guidance. 

Apply for a Research Degree