Types of programme

There are different types of postgraduate research you can undertake at Manchester. We’ll look at each in more detail here.

Regardless of the path you choose, you’ll be able to take advantage of our strong research culture and our commitment to supporting you through every stage of your research programme.

As part of our researcher development strategy, we provide you with opportunities to acquire skills that complement your degree and help you to achieve your personal and career development goals. By creating a personal development plan and doing a skills audit, we deliver this training on demand, to meet your individual needs.

Types of research degree

Research master's – a 12-month programme including subject-specific taught course units, research skills training and a substantial research project, or series of research projects. Research master's degrees include the MSc by Research and the Master of Enterprise (MEnt).

Master of Philosophy (MPhil) – usually lasting 12 months and assessed by the submission and examination of a shorter thesis than that required for a PhD, setting out the results of an original, individual programme of investigational research. Where appropriate, successful completion of the MPhil (including the preparation of a detailed plan for a doctoral research project) may be followed by registration for a PhD.

Doctor of Medicine (MD) – a two-year research programme leading to an award in recognition of the successful completion of a programme of supervised research in any area of medicine.

Master of Surgery (ChM) – a two-year research programme leading to an award in recognition of the successful completion of a period of supervised research in the theory and/or practice of surgery.

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) – lasting between three and four years and awarded in recognition of the successful completion of a programme of supervised research within the allocated time, the results of which show evidence of originality and independent, critical judgement and constitute an addition to knowledge. Although instructional courses may be included in the training, you spend most time undertaking independent research, with progress closely monitored throughout the period of study. Assessment is based upon an oral examination of your final thesis.

Collaborative PhD – provides you with the opportunity to undertake a research project with an external partner, either from another higher education institution, or from industry or commerce. Collaborative PhDs can be undertaken on a split-site basis or as a joint award. Please contact the relevant School or Faculty for further information.

Professional, Engineering and Enterprise Doctorate programmes – these relate to specific professional areas and incorporate a taught component. They are available in:

  • Clinical Psychology (ClinPsyD)
  • Educational Psychology (DEdPsy)
  • Educational and Child Psychology (DEdChPsychol)
  • Engineering (EngD)
  • Enterprise (EntD)
  • Counselling Psychology (DCounsPsych)

Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) – a five-year, part-time blended learning programme designed to meet the needs of senior professionals who seek to improve their critical thinking and research skills while pursuing their profession. The DBA is awarded by the University in recognition of the successful completion of research training and supervised research, the results of which are embodied in a thesis comprising evidence of the candidate’s capacity to conduct a comprehensive and critical analysis of the relevant literature, and to carry out substantial fieldwork designed to extend current knowledge. The thesis should make an original and substantial addition to knowledge that will also be relevant to a business, government or not-for-profit organisation, and have the potential to make significant improvement to practices.

Centres for Doctoral Training (CDT) PhD – a four-year integrated research degree combining taught courses with a programme of supervised research leading to the production of the doctoral research project. We offer a strong focus on interdisciplinary research to foster cutting-edge international competitive research.

Full-time or part-time?

While most of our students study for a postgraduate qualification on a full-time basis, you may study many of our research programmes on a more flexible part-time basis. You can see the different modes of study available for each qualification in our research programme listings.

If you are an international applicant from a non-EU country, you should note that the terms of entry into the UK normally prevent you from registering for a programme on a part-time basis. 

Skills training

Studying for a postgraduate degree at The University of Manchester means more than deepening your knowledge in an academic discipline. We are dedicated to enhancing the research skills and career development of our postgraduates.

Each of our Faculties offers comprehensive skills training and development programmes that contribute not only to the quality of our research output, but also to the employability of our postgraduate students. 

For more details please contact the School or Faculty you are interested in. Our careers service also runs a range of activities dedicated to postgraduates to help you boost your career prospects while studying.

Start dates

Research programmes (MPhil and PhD) usually start in late September, although many offer enrolment in January, April and July.