Research degree FAQs


Here are some frequently asked questions (FAQs) about our MRes and MPhil/PhD programmes.


Can I study part-time?

Yes. Please note, however, that the Ƶ is unable to sponsor a student visa for part-time study.

When can I start?

We have two intakes each year in September and January.

Why is the programme called MPhil/PhD? Can't I just do a PhD?

All students will normally be initially registered for an MPhil and then required to transfer to PhD midway through their programme once the student has demonstrated their project is at a PhD level. A student will only be registered for PhD directly in certain circumstances, for example: when a student transfers their programme from another Ƶ where they have already completed the transfer to PhD process.

Can I apply for an MPhil only?  

Yes, this is a qualification in its own right.

What is the difference between an MRes, MPhil and PhD?

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) requires your work to make an original contribution to knowledge in your field of study. You will be expected to show evidence of systematic study; and of independent, critical and original thinking; while your thesis should be worthy of publication in whole or part. A PhD thesis is up to 80,000 words in length and is the culmination of 3 years full-time or 5 / 6 years part-time study.

The Master of Philosophy (MPhil) requires a shorter period of study than the PhD, approximately 2 years full-time or 4 years part-time and conclude with a thesis of up to 40,000 words. The thesis should demonstrate your ability to undertake an appropriate research programme and to produce a critical analysis of existing knowledge in your field of study. The need for originality in the MPhil is less than what is required for the PhD.

The Masters by Research (MRes) is an advanced postgraduate degree which can either be taken as a stand-alone qualification or as progression route into doctoral research. Unlike the MPhil, it has a taught component (60 credits of research methods modules), followed by a 120 credit thesis. The MRes also differs from a taught MA or MSc course by placing particular emphasis on the large research thesis and fewer taught modules.

I'm enrolled in a PhD programme at another university. Can I apply to transfer?

Yes. Please contact the Doctoral School in the first instance.    

How do I apply?

Information on how to apply is listed in the ‘How to Apply’ section on each research degree programme page. For MRes and MPhil/PhD study, applications are made through an online application form located on each research degree programme page.

When is the application deadline?

We have two entry points throughout the year; these are always in late September (Semester 1) and late January / early February (Semester 2).

If you would like your application to be considered for a September start date, we encourage you to apply as early as possible but we ask that you apply no later than 1 month before your start date.

Applications for a January intake need to be received by the beginning of December. In exceptional circumstances, we may be able to consider late applications, please contact

International applicants are requested to apply no later than 3 months before their start date.

What are the entry requirements?

First or Second Class Honours Degree or equivalent award in an appropriate discipline or The applicant has appropriate research or professional experience which has resulted in appropriate evidence of achievement.

A Postgraduate Masters Degree in a discipline which is appropriate to the proposed programme of study or First or Upper Second Class Honours Degree or equivalent award in an appropriate discipline or The applicant has appropriate research or professional experience at postgraduate level which has resulted in published work, written reports or other appropriate evidence of achievement.

As part of its mission statement the Ƶ is committed to widening participation for its higher degrees. Although most candidates will have an undergraduate and/or a Masters degree, the Ƶ is happy to accept applications from candidates with relevant professional qualifications and work related experience.

What are the English Language requirements?

We require a minimum IELTS of 6.5 (with no less than 6.0 in any component) for MPhil/PhD and MRes. Other equivalent English qualifications will also be considered.

How much are the fees?

The tuition fees for research degrees at the Ƶ of Worcester can be found on our Finance webpages.

What funding is available for research degrees?

The Ƶ of Worcester offer a number of fully-funded PhD studentships each year. These include a fee waiver and tax-free bursary for 3 years and are linked to a particular project, subject or supervisor. 

If you are studying for an MRes or MPhil, you can borrow up to £10,000. Please visit  to find out more. If your intended award is a PhD then you can apply for a .

You can also make use of the . Please contact the Doctoral School to obtain access.  

Should I contact a potential supervisor before applying?

Yes, we recommend that you discuss your proposed research project with a member of staff before applying. Please go to the Research Areas of the relevant research degree programme page.

Alternatively, each research degree programme page lists the MPhil/PhD or MRes Course Leader for the appropriate academic School /  Institute who will be able to confirm the availability of appropriate supervision.


What do I include in my research outline?

We have create some guidance notes to help you prepare your research outline.

I've submitted my application, what happens next?

Applications are initially processed by the Doctoral School and then passed to the Course Leader for the appropriate academic School / Institute who in conjunction with other academic staff, will carefully consider your application. Candidates will be selected for interview based on the extent to which the following criteria are met:  

  1. The Academic School / Institute has the supervisory capacity to support the research project. 
  2. The research proposal has the potential to become a viable research project at doctoral level.
  3. The applicant demonstrates that they have the competence and motivation for completing a research degree based on the following criteria:
    a) Understanding of a UK doctorate and what this entails
    b) Intellectual ability
    c) Creativity – the potential to make an innovative contribution
    d) Excellent organisational skills
    e) Excellent communication skills – verbal and written
    f) Perseverance

Applicants residing outside of the UK can be interviewed via Microsoft Teams. Prior to interview, candidates will be asked to submit a piece of written work. 

All successful applicants are provided with an individual letter of acceptance and a contract which sets out the terms of the offer. The terms of the contract are binding on the institution and, upon acceptance, on the student. Students with special needs are referred to the Ƶ’s student support services. All international students will also receive contact from the International Centre about becoming an international student at the Ƶ of Worcester.

Please note that the whole process may take several months.

What are the opportunities for Researcher Development?

Students have access to an extensive programme of modules, courses and workshops, offered both face-to-face and online, that will develop their skills and capabilities as a researcher and equip them with a set of transferable skills that will enhance their employability. While some key elements of the programme are compulsory, students work with their supervisors to develop an overall programme of development specific and relevant to their individual needs.

Do you hold an Open Day?

We have a virtual open day that is accessible all year round. Please go to and register. You can then access all the open day materials.

I have another question, who do I contact?

Please contact the Doctoral School by emailing