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Research Degrees

A research degree gives you the opportunity to determine your own field of study. Your supervisor will help formulate your research topic and ensure you are on schedule to complete your research on time.

Research projects are, almost by definition, unique. It is not easy to describe a typical project. However, certain common features apply to all.

Aswell as the MPhil and PhD, other research-degree programmes are available such as the DBA, the MRes and the DPharm.

Typical first year

The first year of a full-time PhD is spent on an initial registration for MPhil. It may well be taken up with a review of existing literature in your proposed area, and the refining of your research proposal, combined with formal training in research skills in the Graduate School.

If you make good progress in your first year your academic supervisor will apply for your registration to be transferred from MPhil to PhD. If you opt nevertheless to submit for an MPhil then your remaining work should be accomplished in the following year.

Typical second year

The second year of your PhD programme may well be taken up with actual data collection. Towards the end of the year it should be possible to attempt an initial analysis of your results.

Typical third year

In the third year you may conduct detailed collation and analysis of your results, and organise them into a logical and persuasive thesis.


Following submission, your thesis will be read by two examiners. Your supervisor will also already have read your thesis, and may be consulted by the examiners. You will then be required to attend an oral examination, at which will be expected you to answer questions on your thesis.

Links with industry

Distinguished industrialists and professionals hold honorary appointments in many of our departments, contributing to courses and seminars.

Departments also organise short courses, conferences and symposia for industry, the professions and individuals from outside the University.

Modes of Research

It may be possible (with the department’s agreement) to combine two or more of these modes (listed in order of popularity):

  • Full-time Internal

You will work alongside other students and staff in your department, and will be expected to complete the research for your PhD within three or four years.

  • Part-time Internal

This mode is most suitable if you have a full-time job in a related area. You should live close enough to Bradford to maintain contact with your supervisor, and perhaps participate in research training. The minimum period for completion is four years.

  • Part-time External

This may suit people such as academics employed in institutions outside the UK. You should be able to commit an average of about 40 hours per week to your research, and be in a position to make regular use of library, computing or necessary equipment resources. You will need to meet your supervisor regularly and make at least one visit of two weeks or perhaps a month each year to Bradford to discuss the progress of your research.

  • Full-time External

This mode may be available for students based overseas. You will need to visit Bradford at least once a year in order to have extensive discussions with your supervisor.