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Postgraduate course

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

A PhD is your research, your questions and your passion. Immerse yourself in your chosen specialism and conduct high quality academic research, on campus or by distance learning.

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Our PhD course lets you plan, design, and conduct research in an area that interests you. Your supervisory team will support you as you evaluate the latest research findings and produce your own thesis. If you know the area you want to specialise in, this course can help you become an expert in the field. A PhD will improve your career prospects and allow you to continue the pursuit of your intellectual interests.

York campus or by distance learning

  • Duration – 2 to 4 years full time, 3 to 7 years part time
  • Start date – February 2023, October 2023

Minimum Entry Requirements

    2:1 degree in a related subject

    Master's qualification

Tuition Fees

    UK 2022-23 £4,400 per year full time

    International 2022-23 £12,750 per year full time

Course overview

Your PhD will be challenging, rewarding and will lead you to the highest educational qualification. Your research will be an original contribution to knowledge and have the potential to alter current policies, approaches or practices in the subject area.

You will collaborate with a supervisory team that has been carefully selected for you and be part of an exceptional research community of postgraduate researchers.

When you choose to study with us, you will gain plenty of opportunities to enhance your professional skills. These could include:

  • Gaining teaching experience
  • Presenting your research at conferences and events
  • Engaging with further training
  • Working with the community.

Professional development and training

During your PhD, you will discuss additional training needs with your supervisory team. Your supervisors will help you identify your strengths and highlight areas for development.

The university delivers a blended training programme that will help you to develop your research and professional skills, enhance your CV and your employability.

Distance learning

Our PhD is also available by distance learning. Studying by distance learning will enable candidates to work remotely and engage with their supervisor through online meetings.

The PhD by distance learning is available to study full time or part time. Fees, assessment requirements and milestones are the same as PhDs on campus, and so are the expectations of time commitment and supervisory meetings.

Course structure

How you will study

Your PhD will consist of 3 stages where you will:

  • Produce a literature review of current research in your field
  • Pose a set of novel questions that advance knowledge in your area
  • Conduct your research and analyse your results
  • Produce and submit your thesis
  • Attend a viva voce or oral examination.


The initial phase of your PhD will focus on establishing a working relationship with your supervisory team to discuss your research proposal and create a suitable plan for your course. You will undertake an in-depth literature review where you will critique, analyse, and evaluate existing research. This will ensure the originality of your project. During this time, you will undergo a formal review with your supervisory team and a transfer assessment. The transfer will be in front of an academic panel who will independently assess the potential of your research project to lead to the award of a PhD.

At this stage you will be expected to collect your data and analyse your results, organising your work into coherent chapters for your thesis. You can present your research at conferences during this time and submit your work for publication. You will have a formal annual review to ensure your project is progressing.

Your final stage is where you will focus on writing your thesis. You will have a final formal review alongside your regular supervisor meetings. At the end of your final phase, you will submit your thesis and undertake your viva voce. During this oral examination you will discuss and critically defend your thesis. An independent chair and examiners will be present to assess your thesis.

Distance learning supervision

Supervision for a PhD by distance learning should take place regularly through online methods, for example Microsoft Teams or Zoom.

The commitment statement agreed when you apply for the PhD by distance learning should set out expectations for the frequency and mode of contact for supervision. The statement will also detail any face to face contact expectations and arrangements for written research reports.

Distance learning attendance and resources

When studying a PhD by distance learning, you will not normally be required to attend the University in person, except induction and oral examinations where attendance is expected. Exceptions to attending in person may be requested if you are not able to do so. 

During the PhD you will be expected to demonstrate attendance through participating in designated academic engagements, including supervisory sessions.

You will be able to access electronic library resources through University systems. A way to access additional hard copy materials needed for research should be established before enrolment.

Entry Requirements


Minimum Entry Requirements

    2:1 degree in a related subject

    Master's qualification

International Students

If you are an international student you will need to show that your qualifications match our entry requirements.

Information about international qualifications and entry requirements can be found on our International pages.

If English is not your first language you will need to show that you have English Language competence at IELTS level 7.0 (with no skill below 6.0) or equivalent.

International entry requirements

Applying for PhD by distance learning

Alongside the standard PhD entry requirements, you will also need to demonstrate that you can study successfully remotely. This includes:

  • Showing that you can conduct your research with the resources available at your study site.
  • Showing that you have access to appropriate IT facilities.
  • Showing that you have the time, commitment and attitude to study successfully off-campus.
  • Showing that you have access to support for study-related disabilities, if appropriate.

You will need to agree a commitment statement to confirm these requirements before you enrol.

Fees and Funding

UK 2021 to 2022

The tuition fee for 2022 entry to this PhD course is £4,400 for full time UK, Jersey, Guernsey and Isle of Man students.

For UK, Jersey, Guernsey and Isle of Man candidates studying part time, the tuition fee for 2022 entry to this PhD course is £2,200 per year.

Doctoral loans are available to help you pay for your course. Find out more about UK Government Doctoral loans.

International 2021 to 2022

The tuition fee for 2022 entry to this PhD course is £12,750 per year for full time international candidates.

For international candidates on a part time course  £6,375.

More information about funding your PhD is available on our International Fees and Funding page.

International Visa and Immigration

Tuition Fees

    UK 2022-23 £4,400 per year full time

    International 2022-23 £12,750 per year full time

Additional costs

Depending upon the nature of your research project, a bench fee might be applied as a separate cost to your tuition fee. Bench fees are normally incurred for laboratory consumables and other significant project costs and any goods will remain under the property of the University.

If you have any queries regarding bench fees, please speak to your potential supervisor during the application process.

Any bench fees will be included in your offer letter and if you accept, the charge will be in addition to your tuition fees.

Contact us to discuss your research proposal

If you know what subject you want to research or you just want to find out more, contacting a School Postgraduate Research Leads is a great first step.

Our School Postgraduate Research Leads are the right people to talk to if you want to study a research degree. They can help you turn your interest and curiosity into a research proposal. They can also put you in contact with an academic who is researching a similar subject, and who could be your research supervisor during your course.

School Postgraduate Research Leads

School Postgraduate Research Lead: Claire Hind -

Contact Claire if you are interested in subjects relating to:

  • Drama and theatre
  • Music performance and production
  • Fine art, illustration and photography
  • Media production
  • Design
  • Visual communication

School Postgraduate Research Lead (Interim): Dr Dai O'Brien - 

Contact Dai if you are interested in subjects relating to:

  • Language and linguistics
  • Children, young people and families
  • Teaching and education
  • Psychology and mental health

School Postgraduate Research Lead: Robert Edgar - 

Contact Robert if you are interested in subjects relating to:

  • History and American studies
  • Politics and international relations
  • Religion, theology philosophy and ethics
  • English literature and media studies
  • Geography

School Postgraduate Research Lead: Adam Odell - 

Contact Adam if you are interested in subjects relating to:

  • Maths and data science
  • Computer science
  • Biosciences
  • Sport and health sciences

School Postgraduate Research Lead: David Hill - 

Contact David if you are interested in subjects relating to:

  • Business and management
  • Law
  • Sociology, criminology and policing
  • Accounting, economics and finance
  • Marketing
  • Tourism, hospitality and events
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