Research Degrees

Discover something new

We support research which makes a positive difference in the world, and you will work alongside academic experts who understand how to align your research interests with real-world impact.

York St John University is home to a vibrant and developing research community, with research students working across all nine schools.  

Each Research Degree is unique and involves working closely with an academic supervisor to conduct detailed research into a specific topic. If you achieved at least a 2:1 in your Undergraduate Degree and enjoyed working on a research project, a Research Degree may be right for you. To become a research student you need to find a new topic, or new approach to a topic, which you are passionate about and an academic member of staff who shares this interest who can supervise you.

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Research Degree awards

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Each PhD is unique, but at York St John University all involve working closely with two or more academic supervisors to conduct detailed research into a specific topic over three to six years. If you have achieved at least a relevant 2:1 Undergraduate degree or relevant taught masters and enjoyed working on a research project a PhD may be right for you. To be a successful PhD candidate you need to identify a new topic (or new approach) that you are passionate about. 

In addition to carrying out the research and writing your thesis (up to 100,000 words long), PhD students attend seminars and conferences (sometimes overseas) and engage in skills training appropriate to their individual needs. At York St John University, many of our PhD students publish articles during the course of their doctorate and gain experience of teaching (from their second year onwards). Many have gone onto academic jobs soon afterwards.

Practice-led Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

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

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 or creative writing) will be accompanied by a written thesis of 25,000 to 50,000 words.

We offer Practice-led PhDs in three of our Academic Schools:

Masters by Research (MA or MSc)

A Masters by Research is studied over a single year full-time and you will be expected to produce a 30,000 word thesis. This may be a good option if you would like to study for a Research Degree but do not feel ready to commit to the three to four years of research required for a PhDYork St John University has considerable experience of MA and MSc by research supervision and we welcome applications from suitable candidates across a wide range of disciplines.

Master of Philosophy (MPhil)

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.

Professional Doctorate (Prof Doc)

Professional doctorates allow you to carry out research which will expand knowledge in your profession and develop your professional practice. The subject areas covered by our four awards reflect a wide variety of subjects and methodological expertise among our staff: Education (EdD)Ministry (DMin)Religion (DRel) Applied Linguistics (DAppLing) and Counselling Psychology.

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. We accept new professional doctorate students on the 1st of January each year. We strongly recommend that applicants make their applications as early as possible, and by the 1st November at the latest to meet the January start deadline.

Ranked first globally for Postgraduate research experience (PRES 2018)

Our research community

As a York St John University research student you will be supported through:

  • Access to the highly-rated Research Skills Development Programme and Writing Retreats
  • Use of our multidisciplinary Graduate Centre, so you can collaborate and meet people across disciplinary boundaries
  • Free attendance at and the chance to present at the annual Research Reflections and Postgraduate Research Conferences
  • Opportunities for PhD candidates to undertake teacher training and get involved in teaching within the University
  • The opportunity to work within established Research Groups, such as the International Centre for Community Music (ICCM), Language and Identities in InterAction (LIdIA) and the Heritage and Arts Visitor Research Collaborative (HAVRC).
  • Access to University-hosted public lectures on a huge range of topics, participating in the Ebor Lectures, York Festival of Ideas and York Literary Festival.

Reasons to choose York St John

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