Qualifications by Research

A postgraduate qualification by research is gained predominantly through independent study, analysis and the preparation of a thesis under the supervision of an academic who specialises in the subject area.

Southampton Solent University offers research degree awards under the authority of the Nottingham Trent University. These can be followed part-time or full-time. Students register for a Master of Philosophy (MPhil) or a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD).

Research at this level presents challenge, both intellectually and organisationally, and you will need to work independently. In general, applicants should have a first or second class honours degree, in a subject area relevant to the field of research proposed.

Any student for whom English is not a first language should, before being admitted, have achieved an overall International English Language Testing Score (IELTS) of 6.5 with minimum sub-scores of 6.0 in the reading and and writing sections or an overall TOEFL score of 560 (paper based), 220 (computer based) or 83 (internet based). During the first year of full-time research (the first two years of part-time research), they would normally be required to reach an IELTS writing score of 7.0 or a TOEFL writing score of 25.  

To register for a PhD, candidates will also normally need to hold a Master's degree or may transfer after having made successful progress after 18 months on an MPhil. Other evidence of ability and relevant background knowledge, for example publications or academic references that show the applicant's capability for undertaking a research degree, will be considered.

Master of Philosophy

An MPhil usually takes two years by full-time study or three years if studied part-time. The minimum period of registration is 18 months full-time and 30 months part-time. (The maximum registration period is currently set at 36 months full-time and 72 months part-time.) Candidates will be required to complete a thesis but the criteria used in its assessment are different from those applied at PhD level. The differences are in terms of length, depth and originality.  

Doctor of Philosophy

A PhD is expected to take three years by full-time study or four years, if studied part-time. The minimum period of registration is 24 months full-time and 48 months part-time. The maximum registration period is 48 months full-time and 96 months part-time.

The thesis must contain significant and original contribution to the understanding of the subject, which is sufficiently important to merit publication. Opportunities exist to transfer from MPhil to PhD if the progress at the MPhil stage demonstrates that development to the PhD level can be achieved. A full report must be submitted to the Research Degrees Committee with the application to transfer.


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