Undertaking an MPhil or PhD
Nottingham Trent University offers opportunities to study for an MPhil or PhD by research in all its academic schools. Supervision is available by full-time or part-time study and can sometimes be provided by distance learning.
Supporting your studies
Carrying out research for a PhD, MPhil or ProfD requires different skills from undergraduate or taught postgraduate study. You will mostly work on your own research project, but we also emphasise the importance of regular meetings with your supervisory team.
The team consists of a director of studies (who will usually have expertise in your subject area) and at least one other supervisor selected for their complementary expertise such as relevant research methods.
The Graduate School Team will support you from your initial enquiry, through the application process and the various stages of your degree, until your viva voce examination and subsequent graduation. Once you begin your studies, you will have induction sessions to introduce you to the University, help you settle in and meet other researchers.
In addition to studying for a research degree, students undertaking traditional route PhDs will participate in researcher training. This combines general research training with specific topics associated with your discipline. The training focuses on the requirements of external research funding bodies and government requirements.
We also provide a structured programme of transferable skills training and career development. This is informed by the work of Vitae, the national organisation which support researchers throughout their careers.
Please note the following information for applicants
The School of Social Sciences has a strong focus on both applied and theoretically informed research on contemporary social issues and policy. Research is grounded in the disciplines of:
- Politics and public policy
- Social work, health and social policy
- Sociology including criminology
Both cross-School and discipline specific research is flourishing and is supported by School-wide research conferences and events, bursary competitions, and multidisciplinary research groups.
Many staff are actively involved in collaborations with other universities, both in the UK and abroad. We are especially successful in responding to the needs of external partners. We have been awarded grants from the ESRC, British Academy, Joseph Rowntree Foundation, European Commission, Home Office, Cabinet Office, Department for Education and Science, national charities and a wide variety of public services in the East Midlands and beyond.
Carrying out research for a PhD or MPhil is very different from being an undergraduate. You will work on a unique project in a field of your own choice. We will provide you with the support you need, through expert supervision from experienced researchers, a well-chosen programme of research training and the support of the University's Graduate School.
You will need to carefully assess the research opportunities available in your chosen area, and we suggest that you seek the advice of the University’s Graduate School. They will be able to put you in touch with a potential supervisor, and will also provide advice about the most appropriate course of supporting studies for you. Please contact the relevant School at the addresses shown above.
Research students are supervised by nationally and internationally recognised researchers in the School of Social Sciences.
External links and collaborations
The Schools of Business, Law and Social Sciences have developed extensive links with a wide range of external organisations. These links ensure the business, policy and professional relevance of our research degrees and our postgraduate and professional courses. They have also contributed strongly to NTU's sustained track record in scoring very highly for graduate employability in national league tables. In recent years, researchers in these three Schools have collaborated with, or undertaken research contracts for, a wide variety of organisations including:
- British Academy
- CIMA (Chartered Institute of Management Accountants)
- East Midlands Development Agency (EMDA)
- ESRC (Economic and Social Research Council)
- European Commission
- Home Office
- Leverhulme Trust
- Nottingham Probation Service
- Nuffield Foundation
- Work Trade Organisation.
Most of our part-time research students, including a high proportion of our international research students, come to us from the public services (including health, policing and local government), the professions (especially law, accounting and social work) and business organisations, to work on research projects directly related to their work. Some PhD projects are designed and managed collaboratively with external organisations. Such projects enable their employing organisations to benefit from contact with leading-edge research. We therefore particularly welcome applications from people wishing to work on projects directly related to business, professional or public services practice or policy.
Nottingham Trent University prides itself on the real-world relevance of its courses, placing particular emphasis on helping students to develop the academic and practical know-how that encourages initiative, innovation and academic excellence.
All our research degrees incorporate a programme of supporting studies designed to develop knowledge and skills of all aspects of the research process, including the funding and dissemination of research. This programme will ensure that you have the necessary expertise in research to complete your doctoral programme successfully. It will also lay sound foundations for those students who wish to pursue a research orientated career.
Participation in academic conferences, seminars and external networks contributes significantly to students' professional development. They cultivating contacts, skills and knowledge essential for successful practice as researchers: this knowledge and skill is also transferable to a wide range of other careers. Participation in such events is therefore strongly encouraged.
There are some opportunities for research students to prepare for an academic career by teaching undergraduate students or supervising laboratory work. Students may take part in the Introduction to Learning and Teaching in Higher Education training programme.
Although formal placements are not a requirement of PhDs, the University has strong links with professionals in business and industry.
There are opportunities to participate in ERASMUS overseas exchanges in some subject areas. The University has links with many other institutions such as:
- Sapienza Università di Roma
- Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
- l’Université d’Angers
- Universitat Ramon Llull (Barcelona)
Please see the Graduate School website.
Applying for MPhil or PhD
Applicants for MPhil or PhD should normally have a minimum of a first or second-class degree or a Masters degree in a relevant discipline. A period of pre-PhD study is required for some subjects before entry to a PhD.
Overall IELTS (International English Language Testing System) score of 6.5 with minimum sub-scores of 6.0 in all component sections (writing, reading, listening and speaking) or an overall TOEFL score of 94-95 (internet based – IBT) with a minimum score of 22 in each of the four component sections (writing, reading, listening and speaking). Applicants who have taken a higher degree at a UK university are normally exempt from this requirement. Applicants who do not meet the English language proficiency requirement will normally be asked to complete an English Language course. Find out more about our Language Centre.
The application process
Applying for an MPhil or PhD will require certain judgements to be made by you and by the University. You will need to decide whether NTU can offer the right environment, facilities and support for you to complete your research. The University will need to decide whether you have the appropriate experience and background to undertake the project successfully. Together we will need to decide whether we can offer you expert supervision in your chosen research field.
It is advisable to contact the University as early as possible so that these decisions can be given the consideration they require.
To apply for a PhD/MPhil please submit a research proposal (of 1,000 - 2,000 words) which addresses the following points:
- Provisional title;
- The topic or area to be investigated (the subject or field that you are going to investigate);
- The problem or hypothesis to be tested (the research questions or problem you want to address, the research objectives);
- The methods and techniques to be used in the research (how you propose to go about the research);
- A provisional timetable for the project, indicating anticipated activities;
- The relationship of the proposed research to the published literature and to current research in the field (how your project relates to other work);
- An indication of the contribution to knowledge that the thesis is anticipated to make (what you hope to find out);
- Details of previous work in the proposed field, or relationship to prior experience or study;
- Bibliography of sources already consulted or identified as of relevance to your proposal.
How to apply
You can download an application form and notes for completing the form by clicking on order prospectus above.
All applications should be emailed to the Graduate School.