Doctoral Studies

Queen Margaret University awards two higher degrees by research to students.

(1) The Professional Doctorate (Health and Social Sciences) is equivalent in level to a PhD, and contains independent study, taught and work based elements.

(2) The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) is a degree awarded solely on the satisfactory completion of a supervised research project.

Professional Doctorate (Prof Doc) Health and Social Sciences

Applying online

You will find all our taught research degree programmes listed on our course information pages. To apply for your chosen programme, look for the “Apply Now” button at the bottom of the course page.  Each programme will list the entry requirements, study modes and available start dates. Select your programme and preferred start date and begin your application.

Supporting documents

As part of your application you will need to submit to us:

  • A copy of your degree certificate and transcripts
  • Two letters of reference (one of which must be academic) and both signed, dated and written on letter headed paper or sent to us from a professional email account, yahoo, Hotmail etc. will not be accepted

If your documents are in any language other than English then they will need to be accompanied by a formal certified translation into English, by either the awarding institution or a sworn translator.

Students whose first language is not English are required to provide us with proof of their English language ability. More information on how to do this and what certificates are acceptable can be found on our English language requirements page.

If you have not yet graduated and don’t have your degree certificate, this can be sent to us at a later date.

Additional information

Our Professional Doctorate course requires an interview as part of the selection process however for the Master in Research course you are required to provide a detailed Research Proposal and select a supervisor as part of this selection process.  Where you are required to do either of the above you will be notified by email with further instructions and information.


Many of our postgraduate courses do not have a deadline and we accept applications up until the start of the course. However please note that where a deadline has been set this will be detailed on the individual course page.

Application form

On the application form pay close attention to the spelling of your email address as this is how we will contact you about your application in future.

As part of your application on the portal, you will need to write a personal statement specific to the course that you are applying. This is your chance to sell yourself through highlighting your experience, suitability and motivators for wanting to join this course at QMU.

You will have the chance to upload supporting documents as part of your application. This is an important part of the admissions process and without seeing supporting documents tutors will not have enough information to make a decision on your application.

There is also the opportunity to save your application should you wish to complete it at a later date.

Once complete you can submit your application to us. You will receive a QMU applicant ID number which you should keep a note of and quote in any correspondence to QMU.

Apply Now (Via our Admission Department)

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

You may apply for either part-time or full-time study. Normally you will be based at Queen Margaret University. In certain circumstances applications may be considered for non-resident status. Such applications will only be considered where appropriate support can be provided locally and on the understanding that the student will visit Edinburgh at least once per year to meet with their supervisory team.

Please consider how you will fund your tuition and living expenses before applying. QMU does not provide any financial support to research students other than through the bursary scheme below.

To apply you must provide the following documents:

  • a completed application form
  • a research proposal
  • a copy of certificates for your highest level academic qualifications (normally Masters / undergraduate degree)
  • evidence of your English language ability, if you do not hold a degree that was completed and assessed in English.

We will also need two academic references. If it is convenient for you to send these along with your application please do so. Otherwise, give us the names and contact emails of the referees and we will contact them.

Email your completed application form to

Research proposal

All applicants must provide a proposal. This allows us to check how well you understand the research process and to make sure the topic is in an area we can supervise.

The research topic must be within the expertise of our staff. The topic must have academic merit and it must be capable of generating new knowledge. Research which is linked to the applicant's creative work may be considered.

It is essential that you check whether QMU has any expertise in your chosen field. We highly recommend that you contact potential supervisors prior to making an application.

The proposal should be around 1000 words long. The proposal should:

  • summarise what the research is about and say why it is important, making reference to current literature
  • identify provisional research questions
  • suggest how the questions can be investigated

The proposal must be written in your own words. Do NOT copy text from published books and articles. This is considered plagiarism and will lead to automatic rejection of your application.


Bursary funding is only available for PhD study based at Queen Margaret University in topics which have been specified by each School. Your research proposal must relate to one of the topics on our website. Please quote the relevant topic title when submitting your application.

How to apply

Application form  (all applicants)
I you have been in contact with member of QMU academic staff prior to your application, and they have expressed a willingness to support your research and potentially supervise you, it would be useful to include this information with your application.  This is not a compulsory requirement however and if your research proposal is of interest to the University, you will be allocated appropriate supervisors at the point of offer.

Research proposal  (all applicants)
The proposal should be approx. 1000 words in length and be word processed and submitted as a Word document. QMU has introduced the use of the Turnitin software in a supportive and educative way. Turnitin is a web-based software package, which is intended to support students in their avoidance of plagiarism and to support staff in their detection and prevention of it. Applicants to the PhD programme should be aware that as part of the application process, academic reviewers may submit research proposals to Turnitin in order to verify the legitimacy of the proposed research.

Evidence of English language ability  (international applicants)

If English is not your first language, you will need to provide an IELTS certificate or have completed a degree which was delivered and assessed in English.

Only valid IELTS certificates are accepted as evidence of English language capability.  You need a score of 6.5 (with no less than 6.0 in each element).  IELTS certificate are valid for 2 years after the test date.

If you completed a degree at an non-UK institution and the course was delivered and assessed in English, in addition to the certificate and transcript, you need to provide a formal letter on headed paper from the awarding institution stating this. 

 Confirmation of funding  (sponsored applicants)
If you have secured sponsorship from an employer (or other) you will need to provide evidence of this financial support. A confirmation of funding letter from your sponsoring organisation should be provided with your application.  This should be on formal headed paper, signed and dated (and ideally stamped).  The letter needs to state that the organisation will be sponsoring you, the applicant, to study at Queen Margaret University.  It also needs to state exactly what the sponsorship financially covers e.g. annual tuition fees for full/part time study for the full PhD programme period, the financial assistance provided for a living allowance and any other supported costs (if applicable).

 References  (all applicants)
Two academic references are required. Referees must provide your reference in the form of a formal letter on headed paper. The reference must be dated and signed (and ideally stamped) and sent to the Graduate School from the referees institutional work email address.  Please don’t provide personal email addresses for referees as these won’t be accepted.  If you are sending the reference letters as part of your application form, these will be formally verified before being accepted.

For further information on PhD applications please contact the Graduate School Team at




How to Apply

See our contacts below for the following areas:

Professional Doctorate application enquiries

PhD application enquiries

Show Contacts

How to Apply

Professional Doctorate (Prof Doc) - Application Enquiries Admissions Team
PhD - Application Enquiries Graduate School Team