We offer opportunities to study for a Master of Philosophy (MPhil) or Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in all of our academic schools, as well as other research degree qualifications, including the DBA and Professional Doctorates.
Find out more about research opportunities in each of our Schools:
- School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences
- School of Architecture, Design and the Built Environment
- School of Art and Design
- School of Arts and Humanities
- Nottingham Business School
- Nottingham Institute of Education
- Nottingham Law School
- School of Science and Technology
- School of Social Sciences
Find out more about our DBA and other Professional Doctorates:
Our world-class research has earned us a Queen's Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education – the highest national honour for a UK university.
Our research is recognised and funded by research councils and other external bodies. We also offer research studentships for full-time MPhil / PhD study, which are awarded competitively each year. We will emphasise the development of skills, networks and knowledge, to help you build successful careers.
Your research experience at NTU
As you work on your research you will be given the support you need, such as:
- expert supervision from an experienced researcher
- a well-chosen programme of supporting studies and training
- pastoral and administrative support.
By studying for a research degree you will examine a specific field in-depth, usually over two or three years, and write up your research in the form of a thesis or dissertation. Then you will take an oral examination (viva) conducted by specialists in your field of research.
An MPhil / PhD is not structured like a postgraduate taught course. You won't attend lectures or classes, or follow specific modules. You will work independently in order to critically investigate and evaluate your research topic, and you will need to carefully assess the research opportunities available in your chosen area.
A Professional Doctorate is structured around a series of documents, each of which is supported by an attendance workshop. This blends classroom attendance and research with the same level of independent work and critical analysis as the MPhil / PhD.
Types of study
MPhil and PhD
The normal PhD study route is MPhil / PhD where students transfer registration from MPhil to PhD registration after 15-18 months of the programme.
MPhil projects involve research on an academic or professional discipline. You will need to show originality in your application of knowledge, and understand how the boundaries of knowledge are advanced through research. You should be ready to deal with complex issues both systematically and creatively, and show originality in tackling and solving problems.
PhDs are awarded for the creation and interpretation of knowledge, usually through original research. As a holder of a doctorate, you will be able to conceptualise, design and implement projects to generate significant new knowledge and/or understanding.
Full-time and part-time
Full-time students usually complete their project within two to four years. Part-time students usually spend four to eight years on theirs.
Occasionally we allow research projects by distance learning. Applications for this will be considered on a case-by-case basis and students will be expected to spend at least some time on our campus.
This research degree is designed to provide an opportunity for those working in education, legal practice or social practice to study part-time for a research degree which is consciously linked to their own practice. Schools may also accept applications for part-time PhD projects on similar topics, and potential applicants should contact the Doctoral School or relevant course leader to discuss the pros and cons of part-time study by either route.
The Professional Doctorate course, for example, requires attendance at a series of workshops and submission of doctorate level work divided into a series of separate documents submitted during the course of the project. It is completed with a dissertation of approximately 35,000 words and a reflective report. The minimum period within which a Professional Doctorate can be completed is 48 months, the maximum period is 96 months. The University does not stipulate normal periods of registration for its Professional Doctorate courses within the minimum and maximum timescales.
Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)
Our DBA provides a distinctive approach to continuing personal and professional development. It offers a practical perspective in a stimulating environment and challenges traditional management understanding.
With a strong focus on managerial and professional practice; the DBA links rigorous study of work-based problems and issues to personal and professional development. This aids the transfer of learning into organisational and managerial practice.
As a DBA student, you will take modules in research methodology, critical review and conceptual development. You will be expected to produce regular work based on your own research.
Supervision and support
Throughout your degree you will be supported by a dedicated supervisory team.
This usually consists of a Director of Studies (the person with the greatest expertise of the project) and a second supervisor. If you are collaborating with a company or institution you may also have a third supervisor.
Projects can be inter-disciplinary and draw on knowledge from two or more Schools. All students are encouraged to discuss any issues with their Postgraduate Research Tutor or Professional Doctorate Course Leader and their Research Student Representative or Professional Doctorate Course Representative.
Our Doctoral School Administration Team will be your first point of contact for research degrees and will help you throughout the application process. If you are successful in your application, they will then be there to assist you throughout your period of study.
As a research student you will have access to a wealth of our services, including:
Our research is governed by regulations which guarantee the quality and level of support provided to students. These regulations cover areas such as:
- the application and approval process
- supervision and monitoring of research projects
- submission of theses
- appeals and complaints procedures.
- Code of Practice for Research Degrees at Nottingham Trent University
- NTU Postgraduate Research Environment Statement - This document sets out what the research student can expect of the postgraduate research environment at Nottingham Trent University.
- The University Research Degrees Committee Terms of reference and membership can be located in Section 1 of the Quality Handbook.
- University Regulations for Research Degrees
Policies and forms
- Information on the appointment of Director of Studies, lead supervisors and Supervisors can be located in Section 11 of the Quality Handbook.
- Supervision Record Policy - Postgraduate Research Student Supervision Record Form
- Teacher Training for Postgraduate Students Policy
- Further information on the appointment of external examiners for Phase One of Professional Doctorate Courses can be located in Section 9 of the Quality Handbook.
- Procedure for Investigating Alleged Research Misconduct
- Guidance on the format of the thesis can be located in The University Research Degrees Committee Terms of reference and membership can be located in Section 11A of the Quality Handbook.
- Appeal form
- Guidance on the joint, multiple and dual award MPhil PhD can be located in Section SB17 and SB18 of the Quality Handbook. You can see the full handbook here.
Further regulations and policies can be found on the following websites
Current research students and supervisors
In accordance with the University's Research Degree Regulations, research students and their Supervisory Team need to select and complete the relevant forms if they are making any changes to their status. These can be downloaded from My NTU and will be automatically populated with your personal details. Instructions and guidance on how to download these forms can be found on the intranet (note this will require you to log in using your NTU username and password).
The current handbooks for PhD/MPhil students and Professional Doctorate Students can be found on the relevant Learning Room in NOW.
Research degree forms
In accordance with the University's Research Degree Regulations, research students and their Supervisory Team need to select and complete the following forms if they are making any changes to their status. The forms are now available from logging onto My NTU and will be automatically populated with your personal details.
- Instructions for staff on how to use the online research degree forms
- Instructions for students on how to use the online research degree forms
- Looking up an NTU student's ID on Outlook
You can download the following forms:
- HD1R (Registration for the award of a Higher Doctorate)
- RDPW (PhD by PW)
- RD1PA (Project approval)
- RD2T (Transfer)
- RD4S (Change of supervisor)
- RD5SEW (Suspension/Extension/Withdrawal)
- RD6E (Exam arrangements)
- RD3MS (Mode of study)
- RD7DEC (Candidates declaration)
- RD8PR (Prelim report)
- RD9REX (Recommendations)
- RD10G (Guidance to candidate)
- RD annual monitoring form
- RD interim monitoring form
- RD independent chair's checklist
- Viva voce examinations: checklist for the independent chair
- Postgraduate research student supervision record form
Please note that the NTU Nottingham Doctorate School interview records form is not included in the list of online forms.