Research degree awards

Plymouth University offers a wide range of postgraduate research degree programmes which can be studied both full time and part time.

For further information on the structure of these programmes, please see the Research Degrees Handbook.

Research Masters (ResM)

A Research Masters is a masters level degree which incorporates taught elements and an extended research phase, including research project and dissertation, governed by research degree regulations. The degree is generic and can apply in any discipline across the University.

Duration: 12-18 months full time or 24-36 months part time

Master of Philosophy (MPhil)

For this award you will need to have demonstrated to examiners your ability to undertake an appropriate research programme or to produce a critical analysis of existing knowledge in a defined field. Much of the study undertaken at masters level will have been at, or informed by, the forefront of an academic or professional discipline. You will have shown originality in the application of knowledge, and you will understand how the boundaries of knowledge are advanced through research. You will be able to deal with complex issues both systematically and creatively, and you will show originality in tackling and solving problems.

Duration: 12-36 months full time or 24-48 months part time

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

PhD research makes a contribution to the current knowledge of a subject and should be worthy of publication in whole or part. Doctorates are awarded for the creation and interpretation of knowledge, which extends the forefront of a discipline, usually through original research. Holders of doctorates will be able to conceptualise, design and implement projects for the generation of significant new knowledge and/or understanding. Holders of doctorates will have the qualities needed for employment requiring the ability to make informed judgements on complex issues in specialist fields, and innovation in tackling and solving problems.

Duration: 24-48 months full time or 36-72 months part time

The Integrated PhD

We currently offer four Integrated PhD programmes in business with management, marine and environmental sciences, geosciences and psychology. The Integrated PhD programme combines extensive research training with the development of professional skills. This integrated approach offers a learning environment in which to broaden and deepen subject knowledge while providing the opportunity for inter-disciplinary study to extend expertise in new directions.

Duration: 36-60 months full time or 60-96 months part time

Master of Surgery (MS)

Similar to the PhD, Master of Surgery (MS) is a research degree available with the Peninsula School of Medicine and Dentistry for qualified doctors registered with the GMC and working in a clinical setting within the UK. The degree can be undertaken part time alongside clinical commitments. As well as undertaking research the degree offers a range of professional skills courses designed to support your degree and personal development.

Duration: 12-36 months full time or 24-48 months part time

Doctor of Medicine (MD)

Similar to the PhD, Doctor of Medicine (MD) is a research degree available with the Peninsula School of Medicine and Dentistry for qualified doctors registered with the GMC and working in a clinical setting within the UK. The degree can be undertaken part time alongside clinical commitments. As well as undertaking research the degree offers a range of professional skills courses designed to support your degree and personal development.

Duration: 12-36 months full time or 24-48 months part time

Professional Doctorates 

A Professional Doctorate is an advanced programme of study and research which, whilst satisfying the University criteria for the award of doctorate, is designed to meet the specific needs of a professional group external to the University, and develop individuals to work within a professional context. The award titles of each Professional Doctorate will reflect the relevant profession. The award titles currently approved by the University are:

Please read the Regulatory Framework for Professional Doctorates.

MPhil and PhD by Published Works

Members of staff or alumni who have been research active and publishing in the public domain can register for an MPhil or a PhD by Published Works. The thesis must show the independent, critical and original study done as well as a distinct contribution to knowledge.

Read the Regulations for Research Degrees by Published Works.

The Research Degrees Handbook

Guidance for research degree students, academic staff, examination teams and professional staff.

The handbook includes the rules governing the research degree registration as well as guidance through the registration process.

Research Degrees Handbook

Postgraduate study

Whether you choose a taught masters programme, or undertake a research degree or professional doctorate, you will be supported and supervised by staff who are international experts in their field.

An essential aspect of Plymouth University's lively and enterprising culture is our community of postgraduate students

Postgraduate study