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Research Degree FAQs

What is a research degree?

A research degree involves the sustained and in-depth study of a specific topic, which is then written up as a thesis for examination.

Will I receive any academic support?

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.

Will I get any training to help me with the research process?

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.

How is my progress monitored?

Your department and the Doctoral College 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.

How will my progress be assessed?

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 Doctoral College website.

Will a research degree equip me with skills I can use in the wider workplace?

When you study for a research degree you develop a wide range of transferable skills from project planning to making presentations. The Doctoral College 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 Doctoral College website

    Can I study for a research degree part-time?

    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.

    What do I need to get a place?

    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.

    How will I know if the department is right for my area of research?

    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.

    Will I be able to get any teaching experience?

    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.


    How long will it take me to study for a research Qualification?

    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