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Postgraduate research degrees involve the completion of original academic research. There are three different types of research degree: MRes, MA/MSc by Research and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD). Our research degrees develop your skills to become an independent researcher, advance your knowledge in your field and progress your career within your chosen industry.

Find a Funded PhD

Search for a funded PhD project. Projects are set by our academics in a variety of research areas.

Campus - New Library

Search for a PhD supervisor

Search for a supervisor to support your own research.

Browse our research degrees

Browse our research degrees. We offer 140 research degrees to suit your interests and specialisms.


Not sure which research degree is right for you? 

Review our guide to MRes, MSc/MA by Research and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degrees below.

  • A combined research-and-taught Masters, such as the MRes, will provide you with both taught modules to increase your knowledge of a subject, and the opportunity to complete a research thesis with the appropriate training and supervision. MRes programmes combine research and taught elements, and are normally one year in duration if studied on a full-time basis or two years if taken part time. An MRes requires the production of a thesis of between 15,000 and 20,000 words on a specific research topic. Providing a structured study programme and a broad range of training, it is an ideal stepping stone to a PhD programme.

  • A research Masters, such as the MSc by Research, is a good way to investigate a topic from your undergraduate study in greater depth, to prove your capacity for undertaking research and/or to demonstrate your suitability to progress to a doctoral degree. These research-only Masters programmes are normally one-year full time, or two years if taken part time. A Masters by Research involves the investigation and evaluation of an approved research project and the presentation of a research thesis of around 40,000 words, depending on your subject area. You will receive supervision by one or more members of academic staff. For entry to most of these programmes you will need a good undergraduate degree (usually a 2:1), or an equivalent qualification, in a relevant subject.

  • Doctoral degrees, such as the PhD, are the highest level of academic qualification. They allow you to prove yourself to be capable of conducting original research and making a contribution to a field of knowledge. As a postgraduate researcher you will usually contribute to the research life of your department by presenting papers at seminars and conferences. Doctoral researchers often teach undergraduate classes during their degree programme.

Having a supervisor in mind when applying for an MRes or PhD means you will be able to contact them in advance, and know whether they are the right person for you, and whether your project is a viable one.

Natasha, MRes in Research in Human Geography

Postgraduate Open Events

Join one of our on campus or online open events to find out more about postgraduate research and living in Birmingham.

Main library
Our Main Library has a range of facilities to support postgraduate researchers
Aston Webb Building
The Aston Webb Building, where our graduation ceremonies take place in the Great Hall
The clock tower on campus
Our famous clock tower is fondly known as 'Old Joe'