Prospective Doctoral Students

Queen Margaret University is dedicated to improving the quality of life and building the evidence-base for policy and practice through interdisciplinary research and industry relevant knowledge exchange. The value of our work is measured by its impact and the social usefulness, practicality and applicability of its outcomes.

Our aim is to understand society and enhance it: to connect local and international perspectives; to inform public debate; and to make significant contributions beyond academia. We have a vibrant research culture that promotes synergy between teaching, research and knowledge exchange.

Queen Margaret University Graduate School welcomes applications for doctoral studies within our areas of expertise and  specialist subject areas.

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

We welcome applications for the PhD programme in areas of research that fit within the academic remit of the University. If you would like to apply for a PhD programme, please follow the guidance below.

Step 1 - Entry Requirements

To study at PhD level at QMU, you need to provide evidence that you are able to meet the entry requirements for the programme. These include:

  • A degree in an appropriate subject, or a qualification or experience accepted as equivalent.
  • A Bachelors degree with an excellent or very good classification (first or upper second class Honours in the UK (or international equivalent) or a good Masters degree.
  • A strong 1000 word (max) research proposal that sits within the research expertise of the University.
  • International students must also evidence competence in written and spoken English by submitting a valid IELTS certificate (valid for 2 years from date of test) with an average score of 6.5 (with no element scoring below 6.0); or evidence of successful completion of a Masters degree in the UK; or evidence of successful completion of a non-UK Masters degree taught and assessed in English.
  • Two supporting references.

Step 2 – Research Interests and Supervision

We welcome applications for research projects which complement the research interests of the University. In the first instance, we would encourage you to take a look at our Research Centre or Knowledge Exchange Centre web pages. This will help you identify a Research Centre which matches your own research interests. You will be able to browse the Centre's research themes, projects and academic staff profiles to see if any of these are of interest and relevant to your research.

If you are proposing your own areas of research (i.e. you are not applying for QMU bursary sponsored research projects), we encourage you to make contact with potential supervisors in order to discuss your research proposal and determine if they would be willing to supervise your project. This is particularly important to ensure the availability of facilities and expert supervision.

If you feel your research would fit within the research areas of the University, and you have identified a potential supervisor for your research, we would encourage you to submit your application documentation and research proposal to the Graduate School.

Step 3 - Funding

You must consider how you are going to fund your PhD studies, which includes paying tuition fees and your living costs. Tuition fees depend on whether you are a Home, EU or international candidate, full time or part time student. Details of tuition fees for the PhD programme are provided on the Registry Fees and Funding webpages.

We recommend that full-time students set aside 35 hours per week to work on their research, part-time students 18 hours per week.

Self Funding/External Studentship/Sponsorship

If you are proposing your own area of research, you will be responsible for securing funding to cover all your tuition fees, additional fees and living costs for the duration of your studies. This may be through your own personal funds, an external studentship or sponsorship by your employer / government.

Loans up to £25,000 are available for doctoral study for prospective doctoral researchers normally resident in England (UK nationals and those with settled status). See Research Funding Information for more details. 

QMU Bursary Funding

With a QMU bursary your tuition fees are waived and you receive a tax free maintenance allowance to cover your costs of living. We have a small number of QMU bursary studentships available each year. Funding is only available for PhD study based at Queen Margaret University in topics which have been specified by each Research Centre. These specific themes/topics are advertised annually on the Graduate School webpages in February. If you plan to apply for a QMU PhD bursary, your research proposal must relate to one of the advertised themes/topics.

Step 4 - Making an Application

You should apply as early as possible. If successful, you will be offered a place commencing either September or January. In addition to completing the online application form you will be required to provide a number of supporting documents.

Application guidance is available on the How to Apply webpage.

You can apply via our online applications portal (select Graduate School (PhD).

Apply Now

We request that the online application form and all required documentation are submitted at the same time. Please note that applications will only be processed once all required documentation has been received. 

If you require any support with the application process, please contact the Graduate School Team.

Professional Doctorate

Important: This programme is currently under review (February 2024), meaning that we cannot accept applications.

The Professorial Doctorate is designed to produce professionals who are competent and confident in using their skills to tackle emergent problems in their professional practice, and to develop practice to meet the demands of the 21st century. You will be creating, conceiving, developing and undertaking doctoral projects that require a strong emphasis on individually determined learning and self directed study. The focus of the learning is on collaborative enquiry, shared learning, individual learning, individual exploration and mutual challenge and support where you and your supervisors relate as professional equals. Emphasis is placed on facilitated learning to enable you to develop detailed, analytical leading edge and lateral ways of thinking that enhance your critical insights into professional and work-based issues.

This qualification is for those who normally already have Masters level qualifications and two or more years expertise in a professional field, and want to conduct doctoral level study related to their professional area whilst working. The research is usually carried out at the place of employment.

Structurally, the Professional Doctorate is a modular credit accumulation programme. The general structure of the QMU professional doctorate is to complete four stages or modules as detailed below:

  • XD025 - Theory and context of professional practice (90 credits)
  • XD026 - Development and evaluation of professional practice (90 credits)
  • XD011 - Doctoral Research Module (60 credits)
  • XD015 - Doctoral Thesis and oral examination (180 credits)
  • Annual Progress Reports (APRs) - progression requirement.

Further details about module content and assessment can be found on the Graduate School Key Stages section of our website.

PhD by Publication

The PhD by Publication shares most of the characteristics of the PhD and is awarded on the basis of a series of peer-reviewed academic papers, books, citations or other materials that have been published, accepted for publication, exhibited or performed. These are  accompanied by a substantial commentary linking the published work and outlining its coherence and significance, together with an oral examination at which the candidate defends their research.

We have two routes within the PhD by Publication:

  • Retrospective: A one year route for experienced researchers who already have a collection of publications which can be used towards the award
  • Prospective: A three year route for those who do not yet have a full collection of publications.  The publications will be produced throughout the period of registration.

Full details of these routes can be found  in their respective Programme Regulations.

For more information please contact the Graduate School Team.

Research and Knowledge Exchange Centres

Graduate School

For further information or enquiries please get in touch.

Show Contacts

Graduate School

Graduate School Professional Doctorate and Ph.D Enquiries 0131 474 0000
Master Research Degree - Application Enquiries Admissions Team 0131 474 0000