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Open Professional Studies (PhD) (2024 Entry)

students from the centre for lifelong learning studying open PhD

Find out more about this Open Professional Studies PhD research degree.

The Open Professional Studies PhD allows you to select a topic of your choice within any of our professional areas of study in: career development work, coaching, counselling, education, psychotherapy, early childhood, social work, and social policy. Warwick's Centre for Lifelong Learning provides a rich, transdisciplinary academic environment supported by a dedicated team including supervision and personal tutoring.


Course overview

This PhD provides an opportunity to undertake in-depth research linked to our expertise in in any professional field within the Centre for Lifelong Learning. Our faculty has expertise in a range of people-focused professions. We support interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary research projects linked to one or more of our main professional areas.


Teaching and learning

We provide a pleasant PhD study room and dedicated personal tutor support in addition to the supervisory team. A combined staff and student seminar programme provides a collegiate forum for sharing and discussing current topics and ideas.


General entry requirements

Minimum requirements

2:1 undergraduate degree (or equivalent) in a relevant subject or a good Master’s degree (or equivalent) in a relevant subject. Supported by a good research proposal (2500 words).


English language requirements

You can find out more about our English language requirementsLink opens in a new window. This course requires the following:

  • Band B
  • IELTS overall score of 7.0, minimum component scores of two at 6.0/6.5 and the rest at 7.0 or above.

International qualifications

We welcome applications from students with other internationally recognised qualifications.

For more information, please visit the international entry requirements pageLink opens in a new window.


Additional requirements

There are no additional entry requirements for this course.

Our research

Research themes for this PhD can include:

  • Career development work
  • Coaching
  • Counselling
  • Early childhood
  • Education
  • Lifelong learning
  • Psychotherapy
  • Social policy
  • Social studies
  • Social work

The above is not an exclusive list of research areas and you are free to propose additional topics or themes.

Research proposal guidance

Find a supervisor

Please visit our website for a current list of supervisors and their available projects.

Applicants are encouraged to contact their potential supervisor. The most important aspect is the nature of your project and its potential for supervision in our department.

You are asked to view your intended supervisor's profile and read their work. Please think about what might make your proposed PhD attractive to your supervisor, and customise the proposal accordingly.

  • How does your project relate to your intended supervisor's work?
  • How might your project enhance, advance, or develop it?
  • Could you take it in a different direction?
  • What kind of methods and approaches are likely to appeal to your potential supervisor?

We receive a large number of proposals every year and only have capacity for proposals that are carefully tailored to our specific areas of expertise.

Find a supervisor guidance

Visit our website to explore our PhD routes and areas of expertise.Link opens in a new window

Tuition fees

Tuition fees are payable for each year of your course at the start of the academic year, or at the start of your course, if later. Academic fees cover the cost of tuition, examinations and registration and some student amenities.

Find your research course fees


Fee Status Guidance

The University carries out an initial fee status assessment based on information provided in the application and according to the guidance published by UKCISA. Students are classified as either Home or Overseas Fee status and this can determine the tuition fee and eligibility of certain scholarships and financial support.

If you receive an offer, your fee status will be stated with the tuition fee information. If you believe your fee status has been incorrectly classified you can complete a fee status assessment questionnaire (follow the instructions in your offer) and provide the required documentation for this to be reassessed.

The UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) provides guidance to UK universities on fees status criteria, you can find the latest guidance on the impact of Brexit on fees and student support on the UKCISA website.


Additional course costs

Please contact your academic department for information about department specific costs, which should be considered in conjunction with the more general costs below, such as:

  • Core text books
  • Printer credits
  • Dissertation binding
  • Robe hire for your degree ceremony

Scholarships and bursaries

Scholarships and financial support

Find out about the different funding routes available, including; postgraduate loans, scholarships, fee awards and academic department bursaries.

Living costs

Find out more about the cost of living as a postgraduate student at the University of Warwick.

Department content block about careers

Centre for Lifelong Learning (CLL)

For more than 30 years, the Centre for Lifelong Learning has been a centre of expertise in the education of lifelong learners in different contexts. It has a focus on enabling adult learners to achieve their personal and professional goals by accessing a Warwick education, irrespective of background.

Our departmental research strategy focuses on four interconnected themes: concepts of lifelong learning; people-focused professions; wellbeing and identity; participation and collaboration. We seek to enthuse staff, students, and the wider community with this vision. More information is available on our website.

Find out more about us by visiting our website.Link opens in a new window


Our Postgraduate Taught courses


Our Postgraduate Research courses

How to apply

The application process for courses that start in September and October 2024 will open on 2 October 2023.

For research courses that start in September and October 2024 the application deadline for students who require a visa to study in the UK is 2 August 2024. This should allow sufficient time to complete the admissions process and to obtain a visa to study in the UK.

How to apply for a postgraduate research course  

After you’ve applied

Find out how we process your application.

Applicant Portal

Track your application and update your details.

Admissions statement

See Warwick’s postgraduate admissions policy.

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Ask questions and engage with Warwick.

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Our hosted events run throughout the year, with a mixture of virtual and in-person sessions. These events are a great way to learn more about our courses and departments, chat to current students and staff, and find out more information about accommodation, careers, and how to apply.

Postgraduate Fairs

Throughout the year we attend exhibitions and fairs online and in-person around the UK. These events give you the chance to explore our range of postgraduate courses, and find out what it’s like studying at Warwick. You’ll also be able to speak directly with our student recruitment team, who will be able to help answer your questions.

Live chats

Join a live chat with our staff and students, who are here to answer your questions and help you learn more about postgraduate life at Warwick. You can join our general drop-in sessions or talk to your prospective department and student services.

Warwick Talk and Tours

A Warwick talk and tour lasts around two hours and consists of an overview presentation from one of our Recruitment Officers covering the key features, facilities and activities that make Warwick a leading institution. The talk is followed by a campus tour which is the perfect way to view campus, with a current student guiding you around the key areas on campus.