Accessibility Skip to Global Navigation Skip to Local Navigation Skip to Content Skip to Search Skip to Site Map Menu

Overview of the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

The degree of Doctor of Philosophy is awarded on the basis of the submission of a thesis. The thesis should give evidence of the candidate’s ability to carry out research, that the candidate has shown originality and independence, and that the candidate has made a significant contribution to knowledge in the particular field. It is expected that some of the work in the thesis would be worthy of publication. The research should be of a kind which a diligent and competent student might reasonably be expected to complete within three years of full-time study.


Admission to the degree shall be subject to the approval of the Senate.

Every candidate must be a university graduate and produce evidence satisfactory to the Senate of ability to proceed to the degree. Such evidence would include:

  1. a Bachelor's degree with first or upper second class honours or equivalent (including a research component); or
  2. a Master's degree (including an appropriate research component); or
  3. appropriate research experience.

A candidate for a Master's degree may apply to transfer to the degree of Doctor of Philosophy, and have the date of registration backdated as is considered appropriate.

Initial registration for the degree is provisional, and is confirmed only after one year of full-time or part-time study.

If registration for the degree is not confirmed, then either provisional registration is continued for a further period of up to a year or the candidate is required to withdraw or to register for another degree.

Structure of the Course

Full-time and Part-time Study

  • A candidate may apply to register as a full-time or part-time candidate, but may change that status at the start of any academic year.
  • The University expects that full-time candidates will devote the majority of their working time to their studies. This should equate to a minimum of 30 hours per week on average over a period of twelve months.
  • Notwithstanding the above, holders of Divisional Teaching Assistantships are deemed to be full-time candidates, and Junior Research Fellows may also be so deemed.


  • A candidate must be enrolled for a minimum period equivalent to 2.5 EFTS consumption (2.5 full-time years) and a maximum period equivalent to 4 EFTS consumption (4 full-time years).
  • The course of study may not exceed 8 calendar years from the date of first admission.


  • At least two supervisors, or one supervisor supported by a departmental advisory panel, are appointed to oversee the work of the candidate.


Applications for PhD study are welcome at any time.