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Types of research degree

There are various postgraduate research qualifications that BU awards:

  • Master’s by Research
  • Master of Philosophy
  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) by Thesis/Practice-based PhD
  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) by Publication
  • Doctor of Education Creative & Media

None of these involve any formally assessed taught components.

An MRes can be completed in one year full-time or over two years part-time and involves undertaking a research project at Master’s level. You’ll conduct independent research which you will then write up as a thesis and present in an oral examination - also known as viva voce. 

An MPhil takes a minimum of two years to complete. You will need to critically investigate and evaluate an approved topic, write a thesis and then present and defend this thesis by viva voce.

A PhD by Thesis is distinguished by delivering an independent and original contribution to knowledge on a given subject. It involves an advanced and complex project that results in a written thesis being presented and defended by viva voce. It takes a minimum of three years to complete a PhD.

A PhD by Publication is slightly different in that it is awarded based on publications or other practical elements, as well as an accompanying synthesis. Through this synthesis, you need to demonstrate a critical investigation, provide an original contribution to knowledge and show an understanding of appropriate research methodology for your chosen field. As with a PhD by Thesis, you must present and defend your thesis by viva voce. A PhD by Publication is only available to members of staff.

A Doctor of Education Creative & Media is a part-time course to support teachers, lecturers, media professionals, trainers and other educational professionals working in creative/ media/ technology related areas, to conduct doctoral research into their own professional practice in education.

Our postgraduate research degrees are awarded based on the faculty they are delivered in. You can find out more information about the subject areas you could research in our course search section.

If you're interested in our postgraduate taught courses, you will find more information about these courses in our postgraduate study section.

Fully funded research degrees

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MRes Scholarships

An MRes is a one year independent research project at Master’s level. 

Learn about our research culture

Research degree process

Research degree process

Learn more about the stages involved in a postgraduate research degree and what you will be expected to do.

Our approach to research

Our approach to research

Learn more about our world-leading research and how we have developed a collaborative and exciting research culture.