Research Degrees

York St John University is committed to providing excellence in academic practice and offers a wide range of research opportunities.

We encourage highly-motivated, enthusiastic and talented students to apply for a postgraduate research place with us.  Offering a wealth of expertise across a diverse range of specialist subjects, we pride ourselves on our supportive and stimulating environment in which our students conduct their research.

As a Postgraduate Researcher, you will gain access to our Graduate Centre and receive comprehensive training in research methods and develop a range of transferable skills. As well as the workshops, research seminars and conferences that you will be encouraged to organise, deliver and attend, we also offer the possibility of gaining teaching experience. The University hosts an annual internal research conference for research staff and students, providing a platform on which to share your research with colleagues outside of your specialist area.

The University has a vibrant and increasing research community, with PGR students working closely with academic staff in a number of areas. The research interests of academic staff working in our Schools provide the specialist knowledge and expertise that informs our thriving research culture. The University is proud to have externally recognised ‘world leading’ and ‘internationally excellent research (REF 2014) in each of its academic Schools.

In the Higher Education Academy’s 2017 Postgraduate Research Experience Survey, 95% of YSJ postgraduates agreed or strongly agreed with the statement: ‘Overall, I am satisfied with the experience of my research degree. Enabling our students to be successful researcher is at the heart of everything we do, regardless of whether they want to remain in academia or work in industry, and we invite you to join our growing postgraduate research community.

We offer a range of postgraduate degrees: Doctorates of Philosophy (PhDs); Professional Doctorates in Education, and in Theology; Practice-led PhDs; MA by Research, MSc by Research and MPhil by Research.  Please note that cross-school supervision is particularly welcome.

While most of our research students are self-funded, the University offers a limited number of scholarships as part of its committment to increasing its postgraduate research community . If you are interested in being considered for a scholarship, please consult our funding page. If you have any queries on the application process, please contact Admissions.

  

Doctorate of Philosophy (PhD)

What is a PhD?

A PhD is a Doctorate in Philosophy. The PhD programme allows you to explore a specific area of your chosen subject in depth and to work with your supervisor in deciding the direction of your research. A PhD is a three year full-time or six year part-time programme of research and culminates in the production of a large-scale piece of written work in the form of a research thesis, normally of between 70,000 and 100,000 words.

The University’s specialist centres and research groups provide additional support to those embarking on research work and also encourage interdisciplinary collaboration, broadening the research experience for both students and staff involved.

Research students have the opportunity to present papers or posters at conferences in the UK and abroad, and many have the satisfaction of seeing their work in print as articles in specialist journals. 

Completing a PhD can give you a great sense of personal achievement and help you develop a high level of transferable skills which will be useful in your subsequent career, as well as contributing to the development of knowledge in your chosen field.

We offer PhDs in all of our nine Academic Schools.

If you would be interested in applying for a PhD, please follow the useful links, below.

Professional Doctorates

What is a Professional Doctorate?

Professional doctorates allow those working in education or faith-based communities to do research that will expand knowledge in their profession and develop their professional practice. The subject areas covered by our three awards reflect a wide variety of subjects and methodological expertise among our staff: ,  and .

The programme (delivered at doctoral level throughout) combines four taught modules and the completion of a research thesis. The taught elements of the programme allow a more corporate and collegiate-style of learning than is usually possible when studying for a traditional PhD. 

Programme Structure

These programmes are taught part-time over a period of four to six years, and are divided into two stages:

Stage 1 (Years 1 and 2): compulsory taught modules delivered at residential weeks (Monday lunchtime to Thursday lunchtime in February and May)

Module 1: Identifying and articulating issues in professional practice
Module 2: Contextualising issues in professional practice
Module 3: Researching issues in professional practice
Module 4: Influencing and impacting on issues in professional practice

Each module is assessed by a written piece of work of around 8000 words.

Stage 2 (Years 3 and 4): research thesis, a four day residential element once a year and individual supervision from a team of experts.

The thesis is based on an original piece of research and is around 50,000 words.

We offer Professional Doctorates in two of our Academic Schools: the School of Education; and the School of Humanities, Religion & Philosophy.

Entry Requirements

The normal minimum entrance qualifications will be related to the chosen award:

  • An upper second-class honours degree (in the humanities or social sciences for DRel and DMin);
  • At least two years of relevant professional experience.

Exceptions are considered on an individual basis, where applicants can demonstrate evidence of postgraduate study or publications suitable to prepare them for doctoral level study.

Language Requirements

If your first language is not English, you need to take an  accepted by the University.

International Students

International students are admitted through the procedures of the University International Office. As this is a part-time programme, international students will not be eligible for a visa under the Tier 4 regulations. However, they will be able to attend the two annual residentials by applying (where necessary) for a short-term study visa.

If you are living internationally and would be interested in applying for a Professional Doctorate, please contact the International Student Support Team at E: iss@yorksj.ac.uk and check our .

Fees and Funding

Details of fees, which are revised annually, can be found on our website at .

For information on available funding check the  pages or contact fundingadvice@yorksj.ac.uk and 01904 87(6939).

You may also find The Alternative Guide to Postgraduate Funding helpful.

How to Apply

All applications are made via our Online Application System. Application guidelines can be found below:

Application Guidelines for Professional Doctorates (PDF, 0.2MB)

If you would be interested in applying for a Professional Doctorate, please find the useful links, below.

General queries can be made to: ProfD@yorksj.ac.uk 

Practice-Led PhDs

What is a Practice-led PhD?

A Practice-led PhD is a research opportunity for students with an interest in pursuing projects with a creative practice component. 

As a mode, practice-led research is still developing and, as such, can take a variety of forms leading to a range of different outputs. As the name suggests, such research is not about practice but, rather grows out of the discoveries, ideas and issues that emerge from the practice itself. While the relation of theory to practice will vary from one research project to the next, as will the relative proportions of practice and the written component of the final submission, it is a requirement that practical outputs (whether performance, exhibition, composition, creative writing etc.) will be accompanied by a written thesis of 15,000 words (minimum). While such research is best carefully negotiated with the supervisory team, applications in the following specialist areas are encouraged:

  • Art practice as research, art theory and creative practice;
  • Music composition and musicology;
  • Performance and performativity;
  • Performance and disability;
  • Improvisation;
  • Creative writing and script writing;
  • Documentary film making.

We offer Practice-led PhDs in three of our Academic Schools: the School of Art, Design & Computer Science; the School of Humanities, Religion & Philosophy; and the School of Performance & Media Production.

MA by Research

What is an MA by Research?

An MA by Research is a Master of Arts research degree. MA by Research is a very intensive one-year (full-time) or two year (part-time) research programme leading to a 30,000-word written thesis. Given the intensity of this mode of research, students are expected to have a very well-defined research proposal and a clear work plan at the outset. York St John University has considerable experience of MA by research supervision and we welcome applications from suitable candidates across a wide range of disciplines.

We offer MA by Research in all of our nine Academic Schools.

MSc by Research

What is an MSc by Research?

An MSc by Research is a Master of Science research degree. MSc by Research is a very intensive one-year (full-time) or two year (part-time) research programme leading to a 30,000-word written thesis. Given the intensity of this mode of research, students are expected to have a very well-defined research proposal and a clear work plan at the outset. York St John University has considerable experience of MSc by research supervision and we welcome applications from suitable candidates across a wide range of disciplines.

We offer MSc by Research in three of our Academic Schools: the School of Health Sciences, the School of Psychological & Social Sciences; and the School of Sport.

MPhil by Research

What is an MPhil?

An MPhil is a Master of Philosophy degree. The MPhil programme allows you to explore a specific area of your chosen subject in depth and to work with your supervisor in deciding the direction of your research. An MPhil is a two year full-time or four year part-time programme of research and culminates in the production of a large-scale piece of written work in the form of a research thesis, normally of between 20,000 and 30,000 words.

The University’s specialist centres and research groups provide additional support to those embarking on research work and also encourage interdisciplinary collaboration, broadening the research experience for both students and staff involved.

Research students have the opportunity to present papers or posters at conferences in the UK and abroad, and many have the satisfaction of seeing their work in print as articles in specialist journals. 

Completing an MPhil can give you a great sense of personal achievement and help you develop a high level of transferable skills which will be useful in your subsequent career, as well as contributing to the development of knowledge in your chosen field.

We offer MPhils in all of our nine Academic Schools.