Skip to main content

Find out more about studying for a research degree at Solent University:

About research degrees at Solent


Research degree awards offered by Solent University are:

  • Master of Philosophy (MPhil)
  • Doctor of Philosophy (MPhil/PhD)
    • a student starts as an MPhil candidate, there is a transfer milestone at the mid-point to when potential for candidature for PhD is reviewed*
    • Doctor of Philosophy by Prior Publication (PhD)
      • Available only to employees of Solent University on a part-time mode basis

* NB: successful completion of the transfer milestone does not confer an MPhil qualification which is a separate examination process.

Find out more about the doctoral research student journey at Solent University


Applicants to the MPhil or MPhil/PhD apply for one of the following modes of study:

  • Full-time (equivalent to 35 hpw)
  • Part-time (equivalent to 17.5 hpw)

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

Find out more about support available to international students

Find out more about research areas at Solent University

Find out more about the research interests of Solent's supervisors

Make an application

The information here will help you complete your application. Please select the award and mode that applies to you and refer to when to apply, below, for application deadlines.

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 2022 start

Apply online for MPhil full-time

Apply online for MPhil/PhD full-time

Apply online for PhD full-time

Deadline for applications is 13 May 2022.

Who to ask

If you have a research project in mind and wish to make an informal enquiry around developing it into a PhD proposal, you can contact any academic member of staff in the relevant subject area.

Find out more about Solent University’s doctoral supervisors and their research interests

If you wish to apply for an advertised doctoral research studentship opportunity, please direct informal enquiries to the member of staff named in the advert.

Application process enquiries

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

Tel: 023 8201 3207

Doctoral Student Support
Research, Innovation and Enterprise (RIE)
Room A223
Solent University
East Park Terrace
Southampton, SO14 0YN

Office hours are 9am - 5pm (please telephone or email in advance if you plan to visit in person to ensure a member of staff is available to respond to your enquiry)

What do I need for an application?

Please note: only complete applications with all the following documentation provided will be considered by the University.

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. Your personal statement should be no more than 1,000 words.

(If you are applying for an advertised PhD opportunity, please outline how you fulfil the essential and desirable criteria listed in the advert.)

  • a research proposal of c.2,000-4,000 words.

(If you are applying for an advertised PhD opportunity you may not be required to submit the research proposal, please check the information on making an application listed in the advert.)

  • 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 your application is successful you will be required to present the originals at registration).
  • Photograph ID page of your passport.
  • A confirmation of funding letter, or guarantee form from your funder / employer (if your studies will be sponsored).

Find information on fees and funding for doctoral students

* You will find the online application process for your award and mode of study and preferred month of entry in the Make an application section above

** 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 a first degree or master's degree that was taught and assessed in English you may be exempt from the above.

† The research proposal should be 2,000-4,000 words and include the following:

  • Your project title and key research questions.
  • An overview of the context into which your research will fit, including:
    • The aims and objectives of your proposed research,
    • An overview of current literature that supports your proposed project,
    • How it adds to, develops (or challenges) previous work by researchers in the field,
    • Why the research is important to the subject area, and
    • How you think the research will make an original contribution to knowledge.
    • An outline of how the research will be achieved within the normal duration of a PhD.
    • Consideration you have given to research methods, what research method(s) you propose to use, and your rationale for why these are appropriate to the project.
    • Any consideration or discussion you have had with any prospective supervisors at Solent for the project.
    • Consideration of the sources, resources and / or facilities required to successfully complete the research. If the project will require access to external organisations or specialist facilities, the proposal should include details of how you intend to secure access to these for the required duration.
    • An indicative bibliography demonstrating your critical grasp of current literature in the field and how you plan to contribute to it.

When to apply

Applications may be submitted at any point during the year.

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

Find the correct application form for your preferred start date and mode of study in the section above.

Entry requirements

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

a) a first or upper second class honours degree from a UK University or a qualification which may be deemed equivalent by NARIC* and the admissions review 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 review panel to one of the above.

* National Academic Recognition Information Centre

Can I work if I am registered as a full-time student?

Full-time doctoral students can undertake work compatible with their studies for up to 6 hours per week if they wish to apply for any hourly paid teaching roles advertised by the University.

The University does not guarantee teaching opportunities for full-time doctoral students will become available, but does encourage students to check the University’s vacancies page if they are interested in gaining teaching experience.

Training for doctoral students in teaching skills may be available on request.

What happens next?

Once a completed application is received it is forwarded to the faculty doctoral coordinator(s), who will review it with members of the Doctoral Review Panel from the relevant research area.

In order to invite an applicant to an interview panel, the doctoral coordinator 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.

Applicants who are invited to interview will normally receive notification of the outcome, and if successful a confirmation of offer letter from the Admissions office, no later than 12 weeks from completion of the application. Offer letters will include:

  • an acceptance of offer form (offers which are not accepted within 6 weeks will be withdrawn).
  • details of the University’s pre-enrolment processes and setting up your student IT account

If you are applying for an advertised PhD project, the supervision panel will review your completed application and any invitations to interview will be issued within 6-8 weeks from the application deadline. Successful applicants will receive an offer letter and be required to confirm acceptance as above.

All applicants who are successful at interview will also be contacted by the Doctoral Student Support team with further details of where and how to complete their registration, and when to attend a Doctoral Student Induction session. The Induction session is mandatory for all new students to attend.

Back to top