Research Degrees


The PhD is an independent course of studies undertaken by research and scholarship under guidance from a supervisory team. The final thesis is expected to be approximately 80,000 words. The period of study for the PhD fulltime is 36 months, and for part-time is 72 months.

Full-Time Studentships
We are sometimes able to offer full-time studentships for home and EU applicants only. Further information can be found on the Graduate School web site.

Potential applicants would be expected to have a good first degree (2:1 or above) or equivalent expereience and hold a Master's degree in a relevant area. In addition we expect students for whom English is not their first language to demonstrate a IELTS score of 7.0 or equivalent. In exceptional cases we may consider applications from candidates with lower scores who, if accepted, would be expected to undertake further English language study before commencement.

Places on our PhD programme will be awarded based on the quality of the application, availability of an appropriate supervisory team, and successful interview.

Further details on the application process can be found here. Informal enquiries can be sent to

The Proposal
The proposal for study should be approximately 1000 words, and should be sent with the application form. Proposals significantly longer than this may not be considered. There is no specific format for the proposal but it will typically address the following:

  • The Focus for the Study - here you may describe the broad issues and themes that interest you as the focus for the research.

  • The Reason for the Study - why is the study significant, for whom is it important, what is the key motivation for undertaking the study?

  • The Aim(s) of the Study - what is it that you hope to achieve?

  • Research Question(s) - these questions will most likely change and be refined over time, however, it is useful to present here some indicative questions that you consider to be important to explore and that will help shape and define the development of the research design.

  • Indicative Methodology and Methods - we understand that your approach may well change over time, however, as a starting point, what methodologies do you think will be most appropriate for you in achieving your aims and exploring your research questions? Will it be broadly quantitative or qualitative? Take note, that the work of the Research Centre is predominantly qualitative in orientation. When quantitative approaches are used, they are part of a mixed methods approach employing qualitative methods as well. You will get a good idea of the range of methodologies employed by staff through a careful reading of the work of the research centres and individual staff profiles.

  • Indicative Literature to be Reviewed - the literature will emerge as the research progresses, however, what have you read already that leads you to consider that the focus, aims and research questions are significant and worthy of in-depth research? What further kinds of literature will you need to explore and which authors seem to be key to understanding the issues?

  • Indicative Fieldwork Site(s) - what kind of data will you collect and where are you likely to carry out the fieldwork? Do you have easy access to the kinds of organization, communities and so on that a re necessary for the collection of data?

  • Ethics - what principles and procedures will you adopt that will govern the collection of data? You can find MMU’s ethical guidelines here (link to MMU ethics web page)

  • Timetable - what are the broad phases of the research and how much time do you think each phase will require? Such phases typically include: reviewing the literature, negotiating access to fieldsites, fieldwork, analysis, writing up.

Finally – In developing the proposal applicants are strongly advised to read about the research interests of staff and the research centres. We will not be able to find a supervisory team for a proposal that does not fit with these interests.

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