Postgraduate Research at Birmingham

Find out more about becoming a postgraduate researcher at Birmingham

Postgraduate research is a programme of study where the central focus is on an original research project, conducted with the guidance of expert supervisors and assessed by independent experts in the field. It is an extension of knowledge that can serve as a pathway into academia, or develop students into the future leaders of industry, government, and the wider community.

We value our postgraduate researchers and recognise their importance within the academic community. We constantly strive to develop and enhance the services, facilities and opportunities available to you. Birmingham also invests in financial support for postgraduate students, offering over £24 million per year in postgraduate student support and scholarships.

We offer the following types of research programmes:

Doctoral research programmes

On these programmes you will undertake significant research culminating in a thesis that makes an original contribution to knowledge and is worthy of publication, whilst working closely with your supervisor. We offer the following programmes:

  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) with Integrated Study
  • Professional Doctorates
  • Doctor of Engineering (EngD)
  • Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS)
  • Doctor of Medicine (MD)

The Doctor of Philosophy programme aims to foster the development of independent research skills. It is normally a three-year (full time) or six-year (part time) research-only degree and will include a proportion of research training, the exact amount of which will depend on your chosen department.

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) with Integrated Study

This is a four-year doctorate combining the traditional research degree with taught modules, developing professional skills and subject specific knowledge.

Professional Doctorates (ClinPsyD, EdD, ThD, EdPsychD, SocSciD, ForenPsyD, HScD, HScD(Clin), DPT, AppEd and ChildPsyD)

Normally spread over a period of three years, programmes comprise research-related work and subject-focused taught courses, and/or professional practice with research. You are assessed by a combination of written examinations and/or project report(s), a dissertation or a thesis. No more than one third of the programme will consist of taught modules.

Doctor of Engineering (EngD)

This is normally a four-year programme which integrates research with taught postgraduate work. You must produce a thesis which makes an original contribution to knowledge, worthy of publication, in whole or in part, in a learned journal.

Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS)

This is a part-time programme, normally of two year's duration, which may include taught postgraduate work. You must produce a thesis which makes an original contribution to knowledge, worthy of publication, in whole or in part, in a learned journal or equivalent.

Doctor of Medicine (MD)

A part-time programme, normally of two year's duration, which may include taught postgraduate work. You must produce a thesis which makes an original contribution to knowledge, worthy of publication, in whole or in part, in a learned journal.

Masters research programmes

These programmes aim to provide you with research training that fosters the development of independent research skills, and as a potential preparation for doctoral level study. We offer the following programmes:

  • Master of Philosophy (MPhil)
  • Master of Research (MRes)
  • Master of Music (MMus)

Master of Philosophy (MPhil)

We offer one-year and two-year Masters programmes:

  • One-year Master of Philosophy (MPhil)
    Either (Mode A): A programme in which the key activity is undertaking research, combined with appropriate training. You must produce a thesis containing research work of merit; or
  • Two-year Master of Philosophy (MPhil)/Master of Letters (MLitt)
    A programme in which the key activity is undertaking research, combined with appropriate training. You must produce a thesis containing original work of merit, worthy of publication. There is a small proportion of research training involved.

Master of Research (MRes)

This provides a structured study programme offering broad research training as a stand-alone degree. The MRes programme is normally one year (full time) or two years (part time). There will be a small number of taught modules, together with one or more research reports or a thesis.

Master of Music (MMus)

A programme, normally of one year's duration, of training in research with an emphasis on the acquisition of research skills. There will be a small number of taught modules involved and a research project.

 

Find a research opportunity

Applying to a Doctoral Research programme at Birmingham is a simple four-step process:

Life as a doctoral researcher

As a doctoral researcher, you will need to balance your research with your other commitments, and at this stage of your studies you will want to be able to control and manage your own development. Our online courses, including Project Management, Ethics for Researchers, Career Development and Viva Preparation, allow you to learn at your own pace and to suit your own schedule. Our Doctoral Researcher Essentials induction package provides an online guide to your first year as a doctoral researcher, a particularly valuable tool if you are starting your PhD degree in-year.

We understand our students and researchers all have differing needs, and we offer flexible, accessible services designed to meet these needs. The University Graduate School supports our postgraduate researcher (PGR) community, ensuring you are equipped to do the highest-quality research during your time at Birmingham, leaving you with the necessary skills to pursue your chosen career.

Our dedicated Skills Development programme is here to help you become an effective researcher, develop your transferrable skills and enhance your CV. Whether you need to practice for a conference presentation, improve your writing skills or get to grips with project management, you'll find courses and events to help you successfully complete your research degree.