Research degrees

Undertaking a research degree such as an MPhil, PhD, or Professional Doctorate is an intellectual challenge like no other. It’s an opportunity to immerse yourself in the subject you are passionate about, set your own work goals, and make an important contribution to your field.

Why choose Derby?

  • We offer a range of support, including a skilled supervisory team for your project, and a suite of to help you progress in your doctoral studies and your career beyond
  • We have higher-than-average student satisfaction: over 82% of research students are satisfied with their supervisory support (Advance HE, Postgraduate Research Experience Survey 2022)
  • There is a close-knit research community made up of around 400 students and 300 staff, as well as a vibrant programme of networking and social events

Find out how we support our researchers

Research degree options at Derby

MPhil/PhD

For a PhD (Doctor of Philosophy) you will undertake independent research that makes a substantial original contribution to knowledge in your chosen field. A PhD usually takes three years full-time and up to six years part-time for students to complete their research and submit their thesis for examination, and you will be assigned at least two academic supervisors who will support you.  If you already have a body of research, you may be able to take a shorter route: a ‘PhD by Published Works’

An MPhil/PhD by Published Works is a shorter, alternative route for those that already have a published body of work, which could include creative works. It usually takes one year full-time or two years part-time to submit the critical appraisal for examination. This route is designed to provide doctoral recognition for your previous research achievements. You need to provide a critical appraisal of these works, similar to the thesis requirements for a traditional MPhil/PhD.

MPhil

The MPhil (Master of Philosophy) is a postgraduate research masters, which is essentially a smaller-scale PhD. It can be part of a PhD or a step toward one, but you can also study it as a standalone qualification. It usually takes a maximum of two years full-time or three years part-time for students to complete their research and submit their thesis for examination. If your project isn’t extensive enough for a PhD, or you want a shorter qualification, an MPhil is a good option.

Find out how MPhils/PhDs work

If you are applying for either a funded (studentship) or self-funded MPhil/PhD, follow our guidance on how to write a research proposal.

Silhouette of a woman writing an equation on a whiteboard.

Our research students

Find out about some of our postgraduate research students and the projects they are working on.

Our research student profilesOur research student profiles