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Before you Apply

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titleWhat is the difference between a research degree and a taught postgraduate degree?

A taught Masters degree (normally an MA, MSc or MEd) is an award granted on the basis of a taught course offered by an institution as a common experience.

A research degree is awarded on the basis of an individually initiated and registered research programme. The programme is built around a supervised thesis on a substantial piece of work, which has to show evidence of originality (PhD only) and contain material worthy of publication. It also involves an element of research training through generic courses and taught modules and/or courses.

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titleWhat is the difference between the degrees of MPhil and PhD?

For both degrees candidates are expected to critically investigate an approved topic and to demonstrate an understanding of research methods appropriate to the chosen field. For MPhil candidates, they will be expected to show originality in the application of knowledge, and understand how the boundaries of knowledge are advanced through research. 

For a PhD candidate, the investigation should result in the creation and interpretation of knowledge which extends the forefront of a discipline and makes an original contribution to knowledge. 

The average period of study for an MPhil is 2 years full-time or 3 years part-time and the length of an MPhil thesis is between 20,000 and 40,000 words, depending on the subject area.

The average period of study for a PhD is 3 years full-time or 4-5 years part-time and the length of a PhD thesis is between 40,000 and 80,000 words, depending on the subject area.

 

 

 

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titleHow long does it take to obtain a research degree?

Degree

Mode of Study

Minimum

Maximum

PhD

Full Time

2.5 years

4 years

 

Part Time

3.5 years

6 years

MPhil

Full Time

1.5 years

3 years

 

Part Time

2.5 years

4 years

Prof DocPart Time3 years6 years

 

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titleWhat are the fees?

All fee information can be found on the University Website .

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titleDo I need to have completed a masters before applying for a Research Degree?

No. Our entrance requirements are a good first degree for PhD entry and relevant professional experience for studying for a Professional Doctorate. A good first degree is an honours degree with a minimum 2.1 classification.

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titleCan I study part-time?

You can.  The Professional Doctorate and PhD by Existing Works run in part-time mode only.  PhD and MPhil programmes are available in both full and part-time.

As a part-time student, we recommend you study for 18.5 hours per week - although this can fluctuate at certain times during your programme.

 

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titleWhat are the English Language requirements?

All entrance requirements can be found on the University Website.

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titleIs it possible to carry out a research degree by distance learning?

The University has, for a number of years, registered candidates for the degrees of MPhil and PhD by distance learning. A distance learning programme is one where the candidate concerned is not based at the University, and is undertaking their research from a distant (normally overseas) base.  This can be on a full- or part-time basis.

 Distance learning students will be required to be in keep in contact with their supervisory team. This will entail regular and frequent communication by email, telephone and skype.  The student must visit the University to attend the Postgraduate Development Training programme, to meet with the supervisors and to take part in the Annual Monitoring Review meeting.

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titleIs there any funding available?

We offer a 20% discount off your course fee to eligible University of Sunderland graduates who return to study with us and enrol on a full-time postgraduate programme.

More information on the scheme, including eligibility, can be found on the Alumni Association Website.

 

Applying

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titleHow do I apply?

You can follow the ‘Apply Now’ link which is available on the course overview page:

MPhil
PhD
Professional Doctorate
PhD by Existing Published Work

 

 

 

 

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titleWhat information do I need when making an application?

For all programmes you will be required to submit evidence of your qualifications. Additional information for the various programmes is outlined below.

 

For MPhil/PhD you need to submit a 2-3 page research proposal that specifies the:

  • aims of your research
  • rationale for the research question(s)
  • proposed methodology and techniques for analysis
  • provisional time plan for the research

 

For the PhD by Existing Published or Creative Works, you will need to submit details of published or creative works and a Statement of Authorship (only required if all or parts of the work are the result of collaborative research)

In addition, in the 'personal statement' section of the application form, you will need to provide a statement of no more than 100 words outlining:

  • how and in what respect the work has made a sigificant and coherent contribution of knowledge
  • the impact within its discipline
  • the methodologies used
  • an appropriate contextualisation of the research
  • clear indication of any parts of the work which may have been carried out in collaboration with other parties/authors

 

For the Professional Doctorate you will need to submit a 2-3 page research proposal that species the:

  • aims of your doctoral project
  • project's relevance to your workplace and profession
  • proposed methodology and techniques for analysis
  • outline of a potential research plan

In addition you must write your personal statement addressing the following points:

  • your professional experience and standing
  • the recognition by your peers as a leading professional in your field
  • the level at which you are operating within your organisation or profession and the extent to which you can provide significant influence or drive substantial change
  • the opportunity that you have to make a significant contribution to professional practice and/or how you exhibit your powers of creativity and innovation
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titleWhat is the deadline for applications?

Intakes are normally available in October, February and May for PhD and MPhil programmes. For the Professional Doctorate, the start dates are October and February.

For May intake the deadline would be early April. For international students it would be 1st March.

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titleWhat are the English Language requirements?

All entrance requirements can be found on the University Website.

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titleWhat do I do once I've accepted my offer?

Once you have received and accepted your offer, you will need to:

Pay your deposit or provide evidence of any sponsorship

Apply for accommodation (if required)

Apply for ATAS (if required)

Upload any evidence which you need to meet your offer conditions.

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titleHow do I know whether I need an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate?

Depending on the subject area, all non EEA applicants require an ATAS certificate. However, if you have indefinite leave to remain, you will not require ATAS to study in the UK.

You can check on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website to check whether you chosen course is on the list of subject areas which require ATAS. We will contact you if you require an ATAS certificate, with instructions on how and when to apply.

Please note that UK immigration law does not allow universities to register international students for an ATAS applicable course until the student has supplied the university with all the relevant ATAS certificate details for their application.

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titleWhat are the fees?

All fee information can be found on the University Website .

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titleHow do I get a student visa or visa extension?

Student visas (Tiers 4) are only issues once you have an unconditional offer of a place on a programme and you have accepted the offer.  This is evidenced by a Certificate of Acceptance of Studies (CAS) which will be issued by the University.  It is important to allow plenty of time when applying for a visa. 

We advise that you check these websites for up to date information on visas:

Visa extensions are issued on the basis of evidence that you are still a student and require more time to complete your programme.  The best place to go for advice on visa extensions is International Student Support.

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