Postgraduate Research

Postgraduate Research degrees within the College of Medical and Dental Sciences (MDS) are vital to making a meaningful contribution to world-leading developments, expansions and improvements to medical research.

From the PhD, the most advanced research degree, to the MSc by Research, or the combined taught and research MRes, our courses enable aspiring researchers of any level to develop and apply their knowledge towards the preparation of a piece of research which makes a unique contribution in their field of study.

Studying with the College of Medical and Dental Sciences

As one of our Postgraduate Research students within MDS, you will be part of a research community which includes around 600 research students from all over the world. Each research student is hosted within one of our eight research Institutes. Further information on each of our Institutes can be found on the College of Medical and Dental Sciences website

Programme structure

In MDS, Postgraduate Researchers can undertake research work leading to the award of a Master of Science by Research (MSc by research), Master of Research (MRes), Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) or Doctor of Medicine (MD). This activity is managed by the MDS Graduate School, Institute Graduate Directors and Co-ordinators and other academic staff to ensure that students following each route of study receive the necessary support.


A programme, normally of one year's duration of training in research with an emphasis on the acquisition of research skills. The programme comprises between 30 and 70 credits of taught modules from a notional 180 credits for the programme, together with one or more research report(s) or a thesis.

It is a stand-alone programme that would be of particular interest to students who wish to apply for further training at PhD level.

MSc by Research

Supervised research degree awarded on the basis of a thesis and oral examination. MSc by Research students are registered for 1 year full time or 2 years part time. Ideal for those seeking research training for progressing to a PhD.

PhD students

Are registered for 3 years full-time or 6 years part-time. Assessment is based on the production of a thesis and oral examination. A PhD thesis should represent an original contribution to knowledge, demonstrate that you can exercise independent judgement and be worthy of publication in whole or in part in a learned journal or the equivalent.

Doctor of Medicine (MD)

A supervised research degree for students already registered with the General Medical Council, is studied full time over 2 years or 4 years part time.

During the first year of your studies your supervisor will identify your training needs and invite you to attend lectures and courses relevant to your research topic. Your progress is reviewed annually with submission of a thesis expected at the end of the final year, followed by an oral examination also known as a viva. You will be awarded a doctorate if your thesis is judged to represent an original contribution to knowledge in your chosen area.