A research degree gives you the opportunity to complete a piece of original research with expert guidance from world-class academics.

Find the right course for you

You might already have a specific supervisor, department or project in mind, or maybe you're thinking more about an area of study rather than a specific project. Whichever route you're considering we'll help you find the right opportunity for you. Here are some starting points:

  • Find a supervisor: look for academics who work in your field. Contact your potential supervisor(s) to discuss the research area you’re interested in
  • Find a project: visit your department of interest's web pages to see if there is a funded advertised project which fits your interests
  • Contact your potential supervisor: if you’re generating your own research project, seek guidance on its suitability and find out about funding opportunities.

Find out how to apply

You may be entitled to a UK government loan to help fund your doctoral studies. Applications are now open.

York Graduate Research School

As a research student at York, you'll be supported by the York Graduate Research School. The School co-ordinates training and development, careers and administrative support. It ensures your supervision and training is of the highest quality, and that you receive fair and consistent treatment.

Visiting students

If you're already studying a postgraduate research degree at another university, you can apply to spend time at York as a visiting research student.

Types of course

The following types of research degrees are all qualifications in their own right. They each have a different duration and examination requirements.

  • Full-time: typically three or four years
  • Part-time: typically six years

PhDs are the highest research degree-level qualification in the UK. A PhD allows you to explore a specific area of your chosen subject in-depth. You'll conduct a piece of independent and original research, which you'll write up in the form of a substantial thesis. A supervisor will help you to navigate your topic, offering expert advice on the direction of your research.

Completing a PhD can give you a great sense of personal achievement. You'll develop high-level transferable skills and contribute to the development of knowledge in your chosen field. Our research students often present papers and posters at conferences in the UK and abroad. Many have the satisfaction of seeing their work published.

  • Full-time: typically three or four years
  • Part-time: typically six years

Some departments offer the opportunity to undertake a PhD by distance learning. This means that you undertake your research and thesis production remotely, attending York’s campus only occasionally. You can be based in the UK or abroad and can study full-time or part-time.

It offers the same high quality of supervisory support, primarily online, and demands the same level of academic rigour as a campus-based PhD.

Browse our distance learning PhDs

  • Full-time: four years

Integrated PhD programmes (iPhDs) are offered by a small number of departments. As an iPhD student you’ll be enrolled on a PhD programme, and treated as a PhD student from the outset. However, in your first year, the integrated studies year, you’ll study 120-credits worth of taught modules (normally at Masters level). You'll also undertake a period of research preparation which will include a small-scale research project and either a literature review or research proposal.

The purpose of the integrated studies year is to enhance your knowledge of the discipline so that you're as well-prepared as possible to commence your PhD research project.

In Economics, the iPhD is the standard PhD entry point for all students. In other disciplines, a department may recommend that you apply for an iPhD in place of a standard PhD if they believe that this will be in your best interests . For example, your Masters degree may not have provided the depth and/or breadth of knowledge that your supervisor feels is necessary for you to start your PhD research.

  • Full-time: two years
  • Part-time: four years

An MPhil is like a small-scale PhD and may suit you if you can't commit to a longer PhD. You'll conduct a piece of original research and develop your skills in research, writing, analysis and critical thinking. Some research students enrol on an MPhil course and transfer to a PhD at the end of their second year - however, the MPhil is a qualification in its own right. Research for the MPhil is carried out in a similar way to the PhD, but the final thesis is normally shorter.

  • Full-time: one year
  • Part-time: two years

A research Masters involves completing a short, focused research project which is normally assessed by a thesis. You can choose a specific research project and work with a greater degree of independence than on a taught masters course. You'll work with a supervisor who will advise you on your project. Your department will provide research training and support.