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

From August 2020, you may be entitled to a UK government loan of up to £26,445 if your course starts on or after 1 August 2020, 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.

Types of course

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

  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
  • Integrated PhD (iPhD)
  • Master of Philosophy (MPhil)
  • Master of Arts (MA) by research
  • Master of Science (MSc) by research.


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

A PhD allows you to take an in-depth study of a particular topic. You'll conduct a piece of independent and original research, which you'll write up in the form of a thesis or a dissertation. They are the highest research degree-level qualification in the UK.

Your PhD culminates in a research thesis of around 70,000 to 100,000 words in length. 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 present papers and posters at conferences in the UK and abroad. Many have the satisfaction of seeing their work published in specialist journals.

PhD by distance learning

A PhD by distance learning is suitable for you if you want to undertake a PhD with the University, but cannot commit to being resident in the York area for whatever reason. It offers the same level of supervisory support, and demands the same level of academic rigour as a 'standard' PhD.

We offer the following PhDs by distance learning:


An integrated PhD programme (iPhD) combines taught modules, enabling students to broaden and/or deepen their knowledge in a specific area, with a substantive PhD research dissertation.


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

An MPhil is like a small-scale PhD. It may suit you if you can't commit to the longer PhD course. You'll conduct a piece of original research and develop your skills in research, writing, analysis and critical thinking. Most 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; between 50,000 and 75,000 words in length.

MA/MSc by research

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

A research Masters involves completing a short, focused research project which is assessed by a thesis. You’ll work closely with a supervisor and receive research training and support. These courses generally last one year full-time, although this may vary by department.

You will spend most of your time working on a dissertation of around 15,000 to 20,000 words. Your assessment is based wholly on the quality of your dissertation.

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.

Continuation of studies

Depending on your course, you may be permitted extra time to write up your thesis after ending your formal enrolment at the University.

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.


Look for a project and discover our research areas.

Find a department


Find out about our research degrees.

Search courses


Look for a potential supervisor.

Find a supervisor


Apply online to a research degree.

Start your application