Nottingham Trent University offers opportunities to read for an MPhil or a PhD degree by research in all of its academic schools.
Undertaking an MPhil or PhD
Nottingham Trent University offers opportunities to study for an MPhil or a PhD degree by research in all of its academic schools. Supervision is available during full-time or part-time study; this may sometimes be provided through distance learning. There is also the opportunity to read for part-time Professional Doctorates in several schools, which include: Architecture (DArch); Business Administration (DBA); Education (EdD), and Legal Practice (D Legal Prac).
Please find a list of PhD research projects that are available. These projects, updated every summer, have been prepared by academics in areas closely related to their research interests in order to give you additional guidance when choosing your own PhD research area / topic. A research proposal closely related to one of these projects could directly benefit from existing research initiatives and / or from wider research projects already taking place in the School.
Supervising your studies
Conducting doctoral level research towards an MPhil or a PhD degree requires different skills from undergraduate or taught postgraduate study. You will mostly work on your own research project, and we emphasise the importance of regular meetings with your supervisory team.
Your supervisory team consists of a Director of Studies (DoS), who will usually have expertise in your subject area, and at least one other supervisor selected for their complementary expertise, such as relevant research methods. Additionally, independent assessors will be appointed to give you, and your supervisory team, support and guidance at certain key stages during your studies.
The Doctoral School Team will support you from the time you make your initial enquiry, through the application process and the various stages of your degree, until your viva voce examination and subsequent graduation. Once you begin your studies, induction sessions will introduce you to the University, help you settle in, and give you the chance to meet other research students.
Stages and monitoring
Most PhD students are initially registered as PhD (by MPhil Transfer). During your first year of studies you will be required successfully to pass a Project Approval assessment; this is followed by approving a Transfer to PhD assessment, during your second year of studies. Finally, your PhD thesis will be assessed in detail in a viva voce examination.
Additionally, all PhD students are required to participate in the comprehensive 'student progress monitoring' process that takes place twice a year, as directed by the Doctoral School. The outcome of these assessments, and of the progress monitoring process, will then be ratified by the relevant College and University committees.
Finally, the research training programme, below, is designed to support you while you proceed along these milestones.
Research training programme
In order to support you in your doctoral studies, and especially if you register as a full-time student, you are required participate in researcher training. This includes three core modules and electives on a variety of topics.
The research training programme has been designed to give you guidance and support towards your Project Approval, Transfer, and viva voce examination. The training focuses, too, on the requirements of external research funding bodies and government requirements. Part-time PhD students are welcome to take any of these modules, as advised by their supervisors.
We provide a structured programme of transferable skills training and career development. This is informed by the work of Vitae, the national organisation that supports researchers throughout their careers.
The maximum registration period for a full-time PhD student is four years. Part-time students (PhD and Professional Doctorates) may be registered for a maximum of eight years.
What you'll study
Nottingham Business School has a mission 'to provide education and research that combines academic excellence with impact, transforming business and organisation through knowledge and people' (NBS Blue Sky Vision 2011 - 2016).To contribute to this mission the intention is to develop research which has an impact on business, management and policy.
Research focuses and subject areas
NBS supports research across its five divisions:
Furthermore, and highlighting the School's particular areas of expertise, eight research groups are currently in operation:
- Customer Engagement (Retail and Service)
- Entrepreneurship and Innovation
- International and Development Economics
- Money, Finance and Risk
- Organising as Practice
- Public Management and Governance
- Responsible and Sustainable Business
- Work and Employment
Please note that all PhD students are active members of these research groups. As a new student you will be advised by your supervisors which group(s) to join, according to your research interests. The groups provide ample opportunities for you to engage in the preparation of academic symposia and other events, and to network with academics across the School and with visiting Professors.
Furthermore, you could find a very welcoming audience to whom to present your research / ideas. You would receive feedback that will certainly boost your presentation skills and confidence, as well as contributing to your viva voce preparations and future job interviews.
In addition, a small number of academics are attached to specialist research centres that work in highly specialised areas. Notable examples of these areas of inter-disciplinary research include:
- Lean and performance management
- Betting and gambling
- Political forecasting
- Public services management
- Economic Strategy Research Bureau
- China management
For details of specific PhD projects, please visit the Applying tab.
Careers and employability
Your career development
Nottingham Trent University prides itself on the real-world relevance of its courses. We place particular emphasis on helping students to develop the academic and practical elements of know-how that encourage initiative, innovation and academic excellence.
All of our research degrees incorporate a programme of supporting studies designed to develop knowledge of and skills in all aspects of the research process, including the funding and dissemination of research. This will ensure that you have the necessary expertise to both complete your doctoral programme and to lay solid foundations for your future career.
Participation in academic conferences, seminars and external networks will cultivate the contacts, skills and knowledge essential for successful research practice. These abilities are transferable to a wide range of other careers. Researchers are invited to take part in our own Research Conferences, giving you the opportunity to present your work to and have discussions with other researchers at NTU.
There are specific opportunities for research students who may wish to prepare for an academic career by teaching undergraduate students or supervising laboratory work; you may take part in the Introduction to Learning and Teaching in Higher Education training programme.
Although formal placements are not a requirement of PhDs, the University has strong links with professionals in business and industry.
There are opportunities to participate in ERASMUS overseas exchanges in some subject areas. The University has links with many other institutions such as:
- Sapienza Università di Roma
- Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
- l’Université d’Angers
- Universitat Ramon Llull (Barcelona).
How to apply
An applicant for admission to read for a PhD/MPhil should normally hold a first or upper second class honours degree of a UK university or an equivalent qualification, or a lower second class honours degree with a Master's degree at Merit level of a UK university or an equivalent qualification.
International students will also need to meet the English language requirements - IELTS 6.5 (with minimum sub-scores of 6.0).
Applicants who have taken a higher degree at a UK university are normally exempt from the English language requirements. Applicants who do not meet the English language proficiency requirement will normally be asked to complete an English Language course.
To apply for a PhD / MPhil please submit a research proposal (between 1,000 and a maximum of 2,000 words) which addresses the following points:
- Provisional title
- The topic or area to be investigated (the subject or field that you are going to investigate)
- The problem or hypothesis to be tested (the research questions or problem you want to address, the research objectives)
- The relationship of the proposed research to the published literature and to current research in the field (how your project relates to other work)
- An indication of the contribution to knowledge that the thesis is anticipated to make (what you hope to find out)
- The methods and techniques to be used in the research (how you propose to go about the research)
- A provisional timetable for the project, indicating anticipated activities
- Details of your previous work in the proposed field, or relationship to prior experience or study
- Bibliography of sources already consulted or identified as of relevance to your proposal.
As you’re applying for a Research degree, you may also like to have a look around our Research pages. This may help you to spot academic staff, research areas or projects that interest you.
How to apply
Click apply to download the application form and guidance notes.
All applications should be emailed to the Doctoral School.
Please read our notes on the University's commitment to delivering the educational services advertised.