Research opportunities explained


What is a postgraduate research opportunity?

Research degrees range from masters degrees with a research element, to doctoral work – the most advanced form of postgraduate study. 

As a research student, you will work with at least two academic supervisors and be given research training to help you gain skills in research methodology.

What types of research opportunities are available?

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

A PhD is awarded on the successful completion of a programme of supervised research. It is assessed via a final thesis and a viva voce, an oral examination.

Duration: three years (guide only)

Doctor of Medicine (DM)

The Doctor of Medicine is a research-based postgraduate degree for fully qualified medical doctors. It is similar to a PhD, but often contains a component of clinical research and can sometimes be completed more quickly.

Professional Doctorate (PD)

Professional Doctorates (PD) are doctoral level qualifications, equivalent to traditional PhDs. They are rigorous, part-time programmes of advanced, applied study and research, specifically designed to meet the needs of practising professionals. They provide a framework for the integration of professional expertise and scholarly inquiry to explore specific areas of interest.

Duration: two — three years (guide only)

Master of Philosophy (MPhil)

The MPhil requires research skills and training similar to a PhD but its scope and complexity is less than that required for a doctorate. You can apply to upgrade to a PhD after one year of study (or two years for part-time postgraduate students). The MPhil is assessed by the submission of a thesis.

Duration: two years (guide only)

Master of Research (MRes)

The MRes offers general research training and skills for those intending to pursue a career that requires an understanding of research and is the perfect stepping stone to a PhD programme. In essence, it gives you the opportunity to experience research within one year, and comprises:

  • taught research training modules
  • taught subject-specific modules
  • a research project

Duration: one year (guide only)

What is a research proposal?

If you want to take a PhD, you must submit a research proposal first. This is an overview of what your research will cover, where it fits within the field, the research methods you might use, and how the research will further knowledge. Most PhD students will develop their initial proposal with guidance from their supervisor. The proposal is also a tool used to secure funding where possible. It is accepted that in some cases your research may take on a new path which means you cannot always adhere rigidly to their original research proposal.

How to write a research proposal

Why should I study at The University of Nottingham?

We offer a variety of research opportunities from master of research degrees to doctoral work - the most advanced form of postgraduate study.

As a Nottingham postgraduate research student you will:

  • have close contact with academic staff
  • receive personal research supervision
  • work with either one or two academics, or as part of a research team

Research training is provided to support your work and to help you gain:

  • generic skills in research methodology
  • skills specific to your research area
  • a greater understanding of your subject as a whole

Contact us

The Enquiry Centre
The University of Nottingham
Kings Meadow Campus
Lenton Lane
+44 (0)115 951 5559

Student Recruitment Enquiries Centre

The University of Nottingham
King's Meadow Campus
Lenton Lane
Nottingham, NG7 2NR

t: +44 (0) 115 951 5559
f: +44 (0) 115 951 5812
w: Frequently asked questions
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