Why study for a research degree?
We currently have more than 130 research candidates who form a significant and valuable part of the University’s research community and enrich our research environment.
QMU awards the following higher degree by research:
- Doctor of Philosophy (PhD): This is a degree awarded solely on the satisfactory completion of a supervised research project. Proposals are accepted in a range of research areas in which the University specialises. We offer the standard route, both a prospective and retrospective publication route, and a creative practice route.
- Master of Research
Each of our research centres welcomes applications for research in their fields.
Our research identity
QMU is dedicated to improving quality of life and building the evidence-base for policy and practice through world-leading multidisciplinary, translational research and international collaboration. The value of our work is measured by its impact and the social usefulness, practicality and applicability of its outcomes.
The vitality of our research environment and our commitment to researcher development promotes synergy between teaching, research and knowledge exchange to achieve maximum impact.
We are signatories to the UK Research Concordat and are committed to working with The Vitae Researcher Development Framework and the research supervision practice standards set out by The UK Council for Graduate Education.
The value of our work is measured by its academic, social, cultural and economic impact or usefulness.
Duration of study
Research candidates may register on a full-time or part-time basis. Normal study periods are shown below.
|PhD (incl. PhD by Publication (prospective) and PhD by Creative Practice)
|PhD by Publication (Retrospective)
|2 – 15 months
|2 – 15 months
Studentships and scholarships
Many self-funding students have secured scholarships from funding bodies (including employers, foundations and trusts) themselves, and students are recommended to pursue such opportunities rigorously as the number of QMU-funded scholarships is heavily oversubscribed. Each year QMU offers a small number of PhD studentships, which cover all tuition and bench fees and offer support towards living costs. Applications for studentships will be invited once a year (normally in January) and publicised on our website. Studentships can only be awarded for research proposals in the advertised topics.
Fees and funding
All other applicants must pay their own fees and living costs, or find an external sponsor to support them.
To apply for a master’s research degree, you should hold, or anticipate gaining, a good honours degree from a UK higher education institution, or a degree from an overseas institution accepted by the University as an equivalent. Applicants without an honours degree may only be considered if they can demonstrate equivalent professional experience in a relevant field. All overseas students must provide evidence of their English language ability. A minimum score of IELTS 6.5 or equivalent, with no element of performance lower than IELTS 6.0, is the entrance requirement for applicants who have not completed a degree taught and assessed in English. You must also produce an outline research proposal that we judge to be feasible and appropriate for the level of study, and that is in a field we can supervise. Finally, you will need to be interviewed. Interviews may take place in person or by telephone.
Support for research degree students
QMU is a forward-thinking higher education institution with an exciting future. It is a particularly good time to consider study at QMU. With a dedicated team of supervisors for each candidate and specialist training offered in key aspects of academic research, we believe that you will have the best possible chance of success in your studies. Each candidate is allocated a team of two or three supervisors to provide support and advice. In addition, we provide:
- three doctoral development weeks per year offering various workshops and training opportunities to attend further workshops for training in specific skills;
- a dedicated research librarian to help you make the most of our library and electronic databases;
- a network of peer support from other research students in our Graduate School; and
- opportunities to attend research seminars and learn from other experienced researchers,
How to apply for a doctoral degree
You may apply for either part-time or full-time study. Normally you will be based at QMU. In certain circumstances applications may be considered for non-resident students. 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 twice per year to meet with their supervisory team, attend doctoral development weeks, undertake assessment points, including the final viva and connect with the QMU research community. To apply you must complete the online application form and provide the following documents:
- a research proposal
- a copy of certificates and transcripts for your highest level academic qualifications (normally master’s/undergraduate degree) including official translations into English and if required evidence of English language ability
- two references, one of which must be academic if you have studied within three years of the start date
Those applying for PhD by Publication should also include a publication plan and, where appropriate, a list of prior publications, indicating their contribution to each. We strongly recommend that you make contact with potential supervisors before submitting your application.
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 that 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. See our Graduate School webpages for further information on the areas we cover. The proposal should be approximately 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; and
- suggest how the questions can be investigated.
Since 1 July 2021, international students who have successfully completed a PhD are able to benefit from three years’ work experience in the UK upon graduation, through the new Graduate Route. For more information and everything you need to know about the application process, visit the UK Government’s Graduate Route guide.
Our strategic research centres work at the intersection of conventional disciplinary groupings to create innovative approaches to contemporary societal challenges and public discourse. All centres welcome applications for research degrees.
The Graduate School
The QMU Graduate School
The Graduate School’s aims are to:
- ensure high quality graduate education
- maximise the quality of the candidate experience
- ensure timely research progression and completion rates
- share good practice on research supervision
- represent graduate issues within and outside the University
- oversee and continuously review doctoral degree administration
- maintain a vibrant community of doctoral students that contributes to the University’s research environment
- grow the doctoral candidate community and seek opportunities for new international business
- promote an inclusive and interdisciplinary research environment for PhD and Professional Doctorate candidates
- promote collaboration within the University and with external partners
All doctoral candidates are members of the QMU Graduate School. The Graduate School works in partnership with the University’s Division of Governance and Quality Enhancement, the School of Health Sciences, the School of Arts, Social Sciences and Management and a range of support departments in order to support doctoral candidates effectively.
QMU is also a member of the Scottish Graduate School of Social Science and a member of the Scottish Graduate School for Arts and Humanities, both of which provide a high level of support for students.
Our Research Centres
We are particularly interested in research that makes a difference to the lives of persons who experience health and social care services, as well as those who provide these services. We especially welcome applications for research that involves collaboration with practitioners, policy-makers and other research users in the fields of gerontology, dementia care, public health, acute care and for those persons with long-term conditions and palliative/end-of-life care.
- The sounds of words: this phonetic theme examines the consonants and vowels of speech in fine detail, how they are acquired by children, how their pronunciation is affected by speech disorders, how they are heard and perceived, and how they are formed into words and altered by context, all in the context of cross-linguistic and sociolinguistic variation, and with a view to clinical impact.
- Communication and discourse: this linguistic theme examines language in all its forms (spoken, signed and written) and in all its grammatical and prosodic complexity. We focus on how language is perceived and expressed, and on how communication and translation are influenced by social, physical and psychological factors. Our impact strategy is influenced by the importance of effective communication in facilitating social cohesion and in people’s access to education, work and services.
- Innovation in practice: the focus of this theme is the advancement of practice and policy in the professions associated with the division of Speech and Hearing Science: especially Audiology, Speech and Language Therapy, and British Sign Language Interpreting. We also aim to develop and disseminate tools and resources for vocational higher education and for research laboratories, addressing the needs of a range of external partners and stakeholders.
Find out more information on how to apply for a course at QMU.
Research Degrees at QMU
- Master of Research
- Master of Research (Business Administration)
- Master of Research (Global Health and Development)
- Master of Research (Psychology)
- Master of Research (Person-Centred Practice)
- Master of Research (Public Administration)
- Master of Research (Rehabilitation Sciences)
- Master of Research (Speech, Language and Hearing)
- Master of Research (Sociology)
- Master of Research (Cultural Leadership)
- Master of Research (Cultural Practice)
- Master of Research (Clinical Science)
- Master of Research (Education)
- Master of Research (Public Sociology)