Research degrees

We offer two types of research degree, Master of Philosophy (MPhil) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD). Although you study for both qualifications here at Bucks, the degrees are awarded by Staffordshire University. So as a research student you’ll be registered with Staffordshire University and be formally enrolled here as we’ll be responsible for your supervision and support.

You can study for a research degree full time or part time, and by attending on site or via distance learning. If you’re a full-time student, we expect you to spend at last 37 hours a week on your research, for at least 45 weeks of the year.

Areas for research

We welcome applications for research degrees across a wide range of disciplines, including:

  • Nursing, health and wellbeing
  • Sports science
  • Practice-led film and media
  • Cultural and media studies
  • Practice-led art and design
  • Social sciences
  • Management
  • Higher education pedagogy

To apply for the MPhil, or the MPhil with the chance to transfer to the PhD, you should have:

  • An Honours degree of 2:1 or above in a relevant subject from a UK university, or
  • A qualification which we recognise as being equivalent, such as an Honours degree awarded overseas.

To apply directly for the PhD, you should have:

  • A Masters degree awarded by a UK university, or
  • A Masters degree from a university overseas which is appropriate for the research you'd like to do, and which included training in research and the delivery of a research project.

If you don't meet the entry criteria, we could still consider you for a place. We’ll take into account the nature and scope of the work you’d like to do and might ask you for evidence of:

  • Professional experience
  • Appropriate research or professional experience at a postgraduate level
  • Publications
  • Written reports.

You should present this evidence and any supporting documentation along with your application.

To receive a PhD, you have to research a topic that we have approved and present a written thesis at an oral examination. Your work should be an original contribution to knowledge, or an original application of existing knowledge. Your thesis should be up to 80,000 words and demonstrate a sound knowledge and critical appreciation of the discipline.

We might also award a PhD for a programme where creativity has played a significant part in your work. In this case, we’ll expect a permanent record of the creative work as part of your final submission.

You could also gain a PhD by focusing on preparing a scholarly edition of a text or other original artefacts. In this case your final submission will include a copy of the edited text or artefact, with appropriate explanatory text and critical commentary.

You can take the MPhil as a standalone qualification or as your first step towards the PhD. When you’re moving on to PhD level we ask you to reach a specific point in your MPhil studies.

To receive an MPhil, you’ll carry out research through independent supervised study. At the end of your studies you’ll present a thesis of up to 40,000 words and take an oral examination .

To apply for a research degree, Home/EU applicants must send the following by email to

Applications are considered three times during the year, with the following deadlines and start dates:

 Application deadlineStart date 
  3 June 2018 1 October 2018
 9 September 2018 1 February 2019
 13 January 2019 1 May 2019

The Research Degrees Admissions Panel decides whether to invite the applicant for an interview.  All applicants are informed of the outcome of their application.

Successful applicants are informed of their start date and induction programme.

Applicants who are Overseas residents should apply through the International office . For consideration for the next available start date, approval of eligibility from the International office will be required along with the documents listed above before the application deadline.

Fees for 2017-18 Home/EU residents are:

 Full-time study £ 4,195 per annum
 Part-time study £ 2,484 per annum

Fees for 2017-18 Overseas residents are:

 Full-time study £10,456 per annum
 Part-time study £ 5,228 per annum

Fees will increase annually in line with the indicative fee levels set by Research Councils UK.

For further information please contact