Postgraduate Research Study at Ƶ

We currently have more than 130 research candidates who form a significant and valuable part of the University’s research community and enrich our research environment.

You may consider a research degree as a means of continuing professional development (CPD) as well as a route to an academic career.

Ƶ awards the following higher degree by research:

  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD): This is a degree awarded solely on the satisfactory completion of a supervised research project. Proposals are accepted in a range of research areas in which the University specialises. We offer the standard route, both a prospective and retrospective publication route, and a creative practice route. 
  • Master of Research

Each of our research centres welcomes applications for research in their fields.

Our research identity

Ƶ is dedicated to improving quality of life and building the evidence-base for policy and practice through world-leading multidisciplinary, translational research and international collaboration. The value of our work is measured by its impact and the social usefulness, practicality and applicability of its outcomes.

The vitality of our research environment and our commitment to researcher development promotes synergy between teaching, research and knowledge exchange to achieve maximum impact.

We are signatories to the UK Research Concordat and are committed to working with The Vitae Researcher Development Framework and the research supervision practice standards set out by The UK Council for Graduate Education.

The value of our work is measured by its academic, social, cultural and economic impact or usefulness.

Duration of study

Research candidates may register on a full-time or part-time basis. Normal study periods are shown below.

PhD (incl. PhD by Publication (prospective) and PhD by Creative Practice) PhD by Publication (Retrospective)
Full-time 3-4 years 2 – 15 months
Part-time 6-8 years 2 – 15 months

Studentships and scholarships

Many self-funding students have secured scholarships from funding bodies (including employers, foundations and trusts) themselves, and students are recommended to pursue such opportunities rigorously as the number of Ƶ-funded scholarships is heavily oversubscribed. Each year Ƶ offers a small number of PhD studentships, which cover all tuition and bench fees and offer support towards living costs. Applications for studentships will be invited once a year (normally in January) and publicised on our website. Studentships can only be awarded for research proposals in the advertised topics.

Fees and funding

All other applicants must pay their own fees and living costs, or find an external sponsor to support them.

Entry qualifications

To apply for a master’s research degree, you should hold, or anticipate gaining, a good honours degree from a UK higher education institution, or a degree from an overseas institution accepted by the University as an equivalent. Applicants without an honours degree may only be considered if they can demonstrate equivalent professional experience in a relevant field. All overseas students must provide evidence of their English language ability. A minimum score of IELTS 6.5 or equivalent, with no element of performance lower than IELTS 6.0, is the entrance requirement for applicants who have not completed a degree taught and assessed in English. You must also produce an outline research proposal that we judge to be feasible and appropriate for the level of study, and that is in a field we can supervise. Finally, you will need to be interviewed. Interviews may take place in person or by telephone.

Support for research degree students

Ƶ is a forward-thinking higher education institution with an exciting future. It is a particularly good time to consider study at Ƶ. With a dedicated team of supervisors for each candidate and specialist training offered in key aspects of academic research, we believe that you will have the best possible chance of success in your studies. Each candidate is allocated a team of two or three supervisors to provide support and advice. In addition, we provide:

  • three doctoral development weeks per year offering various workshops and training opportunities to attend further workshops for training in specific skills;
  • a dedicated research librarian to help you make the most of our library and electronic databases;
  • a network of peer support from other research students in our Graduate School; and
  • opportunities to attend research seminars and learn from other experienced researchers,

How to apply for a doctoral degree

You may apply for either part-time or full-time study. Normally you will be based at Ƶ. In certain circumstances applications may be considered for non-resident students. Such applications will only be considered where appropriate support can be provided locally and on the understanding that the student will visit Edinburgh at least twice per year to meet with their supervisory team, attend doctoral development weeks, undertake assessment points, including the final viva and connect with the Ƶ research community. To apply you must complete the online application form and provide the following documents:

  • a research proposal
  • a copy of certificates and transcripts for your highest level academic qualifications (normally master’s/undergraduate degree) including official translations into English and if required evidence of English language ability
  • two references, one of which must be academic if you have studied within three years of the start date

Those applying for PhD by Publication should also include a publication plan and, where appropriate, a list of prior publications, indicating their contribution to each. We strongly recommend that you make contact with potential supervisors before submitting your application.

Research proposal

All applicants must provide a proposal. This allows us to check how well you understand the research process and to make sure the topic is in an area we can supervise.

The research topic must be within the expertise of our staff. The topic must have academic merit and it must be capable of generating new knowledge. Research that is linked to the applicant’s creative work may be considered.

It is essential that you check whether Ƶ has any expertise in your chosen field. See our The proposal should be approximately 1000 words long. The proposal should:

  • summarise what the research is about and say why it is important, making reference to current literature;
  • identify provisional research questions; and
  • suggest how the questions can be investigated.

Visa information

Since 1 July 2021, international students who have successfully completed a PhD are able to benefit from three years’ work experience in the UK upon graduation, through the new Graduate Route. For more information and everything you need to know about the application process, visit the .

More information

Our strategic research centres work at the intersection of conventional disciplinary groupings to create innovative approaches to contemporary societal challenges and public discourse. All centres welcome applications for research degrees.

We are offering a 10% discount in postgraduate tuition fees for alumni who have graduated with an undergraduate degree from the University’s Edinburgh campus. This discount is available for students who register for a full or part-time postgraduate degree.

This discount applies to home and international students, and applies to the self-funded element of the postgraduate tuition fee only. Self-funded fees include those supported by a tuition fee loan. This discount does not apply to any part of the tuition fee which is covered by a scholarship, funding body, your employer, a company, or any other source of funding.

Graduate School

For further information or enquiries please get in touch.

Show Contacts

Graduate School

Graduate School Professional Doctorate and Ph.D Enquiries 0131 474 0000
Master Research Degree - Application Enquiries Admissions Team 0131 474 0000

Fees and Funding