A research degree involves the sustained and in-depth study of a specific topic, which is then written up as a thesis for examination.
All research students are appointed at least one academic supervisor. Your supervisor will be knowledgeable in your field of research and will provide guidance and advice throughout the research process. It is important to recognise that a research degree is an individual piece of work. Supervisors will provide advice and guidance, mainly in the early stages and in the final period of writing up. However they will be available for advice and support throughout your period of study. The amount and nature of that support will be agreed between you and your supervisor(s) at the start of your studies.
Research degrees normally include an element of research training, for example the methodology and techniques to be used in the research process. The research training you receive will vary depending on your academic discipline. It can include statistical methods, use of specialist equipment, advanced IT skills, health and safety, language skills, and use of archives.
Research-specific training will mainly be provided by your department. This can often take place with groups of students for more general topics and one to one sessions for specialist skills. Many departments also run an ongoing series of research seminars and talks from visiting speakers.
During your research degree you will be encouraged to present your work in the public domain through seminars for fellow students and staff but also to wider audiences at external conferences.
Your department and the Graduate School will carefully monitor your progress, ensuring that any problems are identified and dealt with as early as possible and well before the submission of your thesis.
This can vary depending on your subject discipline. It could involve preparing for formal or informal reports and will normally involve an oral examination. You can find further information on the Graduate School website.
When you study for a research degree you develop a wide range of transferable skills from project planning to making presentations. The Graduate School offers an additional programme of workshops and support material for PhD students to help you develop your skills further. The subjects offered include among others:
- Project Planning Skills
- Oral Communication
- Career Planning
- Career Transitions - Selling Your Skills
- Your Work in the Public Domain
Find out more on the Graduate School Skills Programme website
Warwick encourages applications from people who may wish to combine part-time study with other commitments. Success will require a careful balance between research and other commitments but part-time students are provided with ongoing support on how to maintain this balance. If you are considering part-time study you should discuss the time commitment involved, the arrangements for research training and your access to research resources with the academic department in which you hope to be based. Email and other electronic resources have made part-time study and access to resources much easier.
Overseas students should note that the ability to register part-time is subject to the conditions of your visa. For further information you should contact your local embassy prior to submitting your application.
Each department and research centre will have specific entry requirements but for all subjects a good honours degree (an upper second class or 2:1) or its equivalent as a basis for application is essential. The Arts and Social Sciences faculties will generally expect you to have a Master's degree in a related or relevant subject in addition to your upper second class honours degree. It is important that you look at the individual entry requirements for each course for full admissions details.
Whatever subject you choose to conduct your research in, the match between you and your project supervisor is essential to your success. As a first step you should identify the general area in which you would like to work as early as you are able and contact the department to discuss this with your possible future supervisor. To help you in this process the prospectus gives an overview of staff research interests, you can get further details usually via departmental web pages or by contacting the department directly. Links to departmental web pages can be found in the Departments and Services section of the University web site.
In the faculties of Arts and Social Sciences you will usually be expected to have a very clear understanding of the topic you wish to research and possibly in conjunction with your future supervisor produce a proposal before a firm offer of a place can be made.
Many departments will be able to offer research students valuable teaching experience, also giving students the opportunity to supplement their income. You should contact your chosen department for information about teaching opportunities that may become available.
Usually the standard period of study needed for a research degree is as follows:
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) - 3 years Full-Time
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) - 5 years Part-Time
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) New Route - 4 years Full-Time
Master of Philosophy (MPhil) - 2 years Full-Time
Master of Philosophy (MPhil) - 3 years Part-Time
Master by Research (MA, MSc, LLM) - 1 year Full-Time
Master by Research (MA, MSc, LLM) - 2 years Part-Time
Doctor of Engineering (EngD) 5 years Part-Time
Doctor of Education (EdD) 3 years Full-Time
Doctor of Clinical Psychology (DclinPsych) 3 years Full-Time