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Solent University welcomes doctoral students in a wide range of research areas. We support our research students throughout their programme of study with access to expert supervision, an inclusive and growing researcher community and a network of support services.  

Studying for a research degree requires considerable commitment, perseverance and passion. There will be challenges, both intellectually and organisationally, and you will need to work independently. Our researcher community and dedicated staff are on hand to support you in meeting these challenges. 

To find out more about studying for a research degree at Solent University please explore our research degree pages and review the application process in the sections below. 

Postgraduate research opportunities

Important notification:

Applicants to the Fungal Degradation of Plastic funded awards who are experiencing technical issues uploading their applications, please check that you are using the January 2020 application link in the first instance.

If you experience any technical issues, please forward your application documentation to Any applications for the Microbial Degradation of Marine Plastic that were sent to this address by the 13 September 2019 deadline will have been accepted as having met the deadline.

There are two new postgraduate research opportunities at Solent. Please see the project descriptions below and click the links for more information.



Fungal Degradation of Plastic

Solent University, School of Sport, Health and Social Sciences
Dr Suzy Clare Moody (PI):
Closing date: 31 October 2019
Fees only MPhil (UK/EU applicants only)

Project description
This opportunity focusses on utilising filamentous fungi to degrade plastic. The widespread use of plastic has revolutionised life for many, however the impact of this is a significant global accumulation of waste that is highly recalcitrant to breakdown. 348 million tonnes of plastic were produced globally in 2017, with a significant proportion of collected plastic waste going to landfill in Europe (1). It is known that some microbes can initiate degradation of petroleum-based plastics with some success (2, 3, 4), but the processes and pathways the microbes use to achieve this are still poorly understood.

Read more

About research degrees at Solent

Solent offers these types of research degree.

  • Master of Philosophy (MPhil) 
  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) – with transfer from MPhil (MPhil/PhD)  
  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) – by prior publication (available only to staff of Solent University) 

Doctoral researchers can undertake their studies as full-time or part-time students. 

Full-time students are expected to devote on average at least 35 hours per week to their research, part-time students on average at least 17.5 hours per week. 

Full-time students may undertake a small amount of paid work compatible with their full-time studies, with the expectation that the total demand on the student’s time is no more than six hours per week. 

Find out more

The University welcomes applications from international students who wish to study in the UK.  

Find out more

The University allocates research students in four main areas:  

  • Business and Society 
  • Creative and Digital Industries 
  • Maritime, Technology and Environment 
  • Sport, Health and Wellbeing 

Find out more about research areas at Solent

Who to ask

General enquiries about the doctoral degree application process at Solent University can be directed to Doctoral Student Support. 

Doctoral Student Support 
Research, Innovation and Enterprise, room A223 
Solent University 
East Park Terrace 
Southampton SO14 0YN 

Telephone: 023 8201 3207

Office hours are 9am-5.30pm (please telephone or email in advance if you plan to visit in person)

Informal enquiries

If you have a project in mind and wish to get advice on how to develop it to make a PhD proposal, you can contact one of the postgraduate research hub coordinators, or any academic member of staff in the relevant subject area, to make an informal enquiry about how to proceed.

If you wish to apply for an advertised project, please direct informal enquiries to the member of staff in the project advert.

Postgraduate research hub coordinators 

If you have any other enquiries about applying to Solent University, you may wish to contact the relevant postgraduate research hub coordinator prior to making an application:  

Business and Society 
Dr Whysnianti Basuki (, 023 8201 3497) 

Creative and Digital Industries 
Professor Martin James (, 023 8201 3483) 

Maritime, Technology and Environment 
Dr Laurie Wright (, 023 8201 6421) 

Sport, Health and Wellbeing 
Dr Richard Elliott (, 023 8201 3337) 

Entry requirements

You can apply for entry onto an MPhil or MPhil/PhD at Solent University. Additionally, staff of the University may apply for a PhD by prior publication  

Applicants for an MPhil, or a PhD through the MPhil/PhD route, should hold at least one of the following: 

a) a first or second class honours degree from a UK University or a qualification which may be deemed equivalent by NARIC* and the admissions scrutiny panel;


b) a Masters degree from a UK University or a non UK qualification which may be deemed equivalent as above;


c) other qualifications, publications and/or appropriate professional training and experience which may be considered equivalent by the admissions scrutiny panel to a or b above 

How to apply

To apply you will be required to complete the online application** and submit: 

  • A CV.
  • A personal statement clearly detailing your experience and why you are suitable for this opportunity. If you are applying for an advertised PhD project, please outline how you fulfil the essential and desirable criteria listed in the project advert. Your personal statement should be no more than 1,000 words. 
  • If you are applying to undertake an independent PhD project, you must submit a research proposal of no more than 1,000 words.
  • Two suitable references (normally at least one should be an academic reference).  
  • Evidence of English language proficiency (if applicable). 
  • Qualification transcripts/certificates (scanned copies can be submitted, but if accepted you will be required to present the originals at registration). 
  • Photograph ID page of your passport. 
  • A confirmation of funding letter or an employer guarantee form (if your studies will be sponsored).*** 

A research proposal should include the following information: 

  • Your research subject 
  • Why this research subject is of interest to you and how it relates to other research in that field 
  • How you propose to carry out your research and what may be its contribution to furthering understanding of the research area. 

* National Academic Recognition Information Centre 

** You will find the online application process for your preferred mode of study and start date below

*** Find information on fees and funding for postgraduate research degrees

If your first language is not English, you will have an overall IELTS score of 6.5, with minimum sub-scores of 6.0 in all component sections, or an overall TOEFL IBT score of 94-95, with a minimum score of 22 in each of the four component sections. If you have previously successfully studied for first degree or masters degree that was taught and assessed in English you may be exempt from the above.  

When to apply

Applications may be submitted at any point during the year. The University has two annual entry points for postgraduate research students (January and October).

If you are applying for an advertised project, please refer to the advert for the relevant application deadline.

  • Completed applications received by 31 October will be considered for a January start 
  • Completed applications received by 30 June will be considered for an October start 

Read more about the application process below and find the correct application form for your preferred start date.

Application process

You can apply to study for the research degree routes MPhil or MPhil/PhD on either a full-time or part-time basis.

Apply for October 2019 start

Apply online for MPhil full-time

Apply online for MPhil part-time

Apply online for MPhil/PhD full-time

Apply online for MPhil/PhD part-time

Staff at the University may apply for the PhD by Prior Publication route on a part-time basis

Apply online for PhD part-time

Apply for January 2020 start

Apply online for MPhil full-time

Apply online for MPhil part-time

Apply online for MPhil/PhD full-time

Apply online for MPhil/PhD part-time

Staff at the University may apply for the PhD by Prior Publication route on a part-time basis.

Apply online for PhD part-time

What happens next?

If you are making an independent application which is not in response to a specific advertised project, once a completed application is received it is forwarded to the relevant PGR co-ordinator(s) who will assess it for potential suitability in consultation with a scrutiny panel from the relevant research area.  

In order to invite an applicant to an interview panel the PGR co-ordinator will need to be satisfied that 

  • the applicant is suitably qualified and has appropriate financial support, 
  • the proposed research will yield a viable research project within the designated time limit for the programme of study
  • there is appropriate expertise, resources and capacity to support the applicant at Solent. 

Applicants will receive an initial response from the University within 6-8 weeks from completion of the application. 

If you are applying for an advertised PhD project, the supervision panel will review your completed application and invitations to interview will be issued within 6-8 weeks from the application deadline.

If you are successful at interview you will be informed by the Doctoral Student Support team, who will forward details of where and how to enrol, and when to attend the PGR induction day.

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