A PhD is both a product and also a process. A product: a substantial piece of work reflecting three or more years’ worth of endeavour which may have commercial, cultural or social value. A process: it is the process through which a person acquires advanced research skills and expertise, through which an individual is challenged and changed.


Course Overview

A doctoral candidate is able to demonstrate understanding of research methodology, show originality in application of research methods, and understand how the boundaries of knowledge are advanced through research, as well as being able to extend the forefront of a discipline by making an original contribution to knowledge. Doctoral students are able to develop an area of research that interests them based upon research areas currently conducted within the University. These can be found on our Research Centres webpages.

Exit Awards

540 credits (120 credits at level 11 plus 420 at level 12)

Learning, Teaching and Assessment

Unlike the Professional Doctorate, there are no taught module elements to a PhD. The student is allocated a supervisory team upon joining QMU and the student and the supervisory team work together to establish a learning contract and a timetable for meeting milestones.

There is a longitudinal induction available for doctoral students. This consists of week-long sessions that run in September, January and April, which all students are expected to attend. Alongside this longitudinal induction, the Centre for Academic Practice at QMU offers workshops that support students to develop key skills that are relevant to their studies and/or their future career development.

Students are assessed in the following ways:

■ A probationary viva document of 5000 words is submitted five months after matriculation for full-time students (10 months for part-time students). After ‘probationary assessment’, the student will have an assessed seminar presentation at the end of academic Years Two and Three (Years Four and Six for part-time students).

■ The assessed seminar in Year Two (Year Four for part-time students) will take the form of a 3000 word paper which sets out the progression of study to date, the methodology, preliminary data, preliminary analysis and outlines how the student plans to progress their study further. The paper will be reviewed by an assessment panel.

■ The assessed seminar in Year Three (Year Six for part time students) should take place prior to the submission of the final thesis. The paper submitted for the seminar will normally include a chapter from the student’s thesis and their plan of how they intend to disseminate their research.

Teaching Hours and Attendance

The expectation is that full-time students will devote approximately 35 hours per week and part-time students approximately 18.5 hours per week to their studies. Student meetings with their supervisory team should normally be monthly throughout the prescribed period of study; and bi-monthly for part-time students. However this is negotiable between the student and the supervisory team.


Wherever possible, doctoral students are given the opportunity to hone and develop their academic teaching skills within their department, and are supported by staff within their discipline ,as well as by staff from the Centre for Academic Practice. Opportunities are also available for students to develop other skills in academia, within research or within industry.

Quick Facts

  • As you choose the focus of your learning, this course is highly relevant and flexible to your particular context.
  • PhD graduates go on to work in a wide range of sectors. During the course of your studies there will be many opportunities for professional and personal development.


Entry Requirements

You should have a good UK honours degree (2:1 or above) OR an equivalent degree from another country OR equivalent professional experience. Additionally, you must produce an outline research proposal which we judge to be feasible and appropriate for the level of study, and which is in a field we can supervise. We recommend that you contact potential supervisors prior to making an application - contacts as appropriate can be found on our Research Centres webpages. There will be an interview process for all applicants, which may be conducted in person, by Skype, or by phone.

International: Where your honours degree has not been studied in English, you will need a minimum IELTS overall score of 6.5 and no individual component score below 6.0.

Application Deadline

Preferred by June, but will accept at other times. Each year QMU offers a limited number of funded bursary places for specific topic areas. Further details are available on our website.


Each year QMU offers a limited number of funded bursary places for specific topic areas. Further details are available on our website.


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Course Overview

Mainly individual learning supported by supervisory team
Full-time: c. 3 years; Part time: c. 6 years
Start Date
September 2018
January 2019
Study Abroad
Fees & Funding