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Postgraduate Research Degrees

We offer a variety of Doctorate and Research Masters degrees supported by expert supervision within a vibrant and multidisciplinary Graduate School and research environment.

Next Start Date: February, October

Degree type: PhD, MPhil, MbR

UCAS Code: Apply directly

Duration: Normally 3 years FT for PhD; 2 years FT for MPhil; 1 year FT for MbR


Why choose a Postgraduate Research Degree:

  • Undertake an independent research project supported by expert research supervisors and follow a programme of researcher training and professional development which is tailored to your needs and aspirations.
  • A Postgraduate Research Degree is a platform for further research study, an academic, research or professional career, and allows you to develop and demonstrate high-level skills and advanced subject expertise.

Abertay is a compact and focused University, with a reputation for working effectively across traditional research boundaries. We are committed to research that delivers real impact for society. From environmental research into sustainable businesses, using technology to improve cancer drug discovery and to secure our identities online, to understanding the psychology behind the witness testimony of crime victims, and using computer games as investigative tools, our researchers are solving complex real-world problems.

Postgraduate research students work alongside experts from a range of discipline areas to pose new questions and find creative solutions to the problems facing society. Our research students are a highly valued part of our research community. The University prides itself on its excellent research environment and researcher training opportunities, its close links with industry, the public and third sectors, its welcoming student support, and its pan-University Graduate School which encourages interdisciplinary working in our next generation of researchers. Abertay offers a unique postgraduate experience within an environment of discovery and innovation.

Join our Graduate School

Our Graduate School is a dedicated facility providing support, training and professional development opportunities to our vibrant postgraduate community. Specially designed to promote integration and inculcation of interdisciplinary working in our next generation of researchers, postgraduates study and learn together at Abertay - from Environmental Management to Law, Psychology, Bioscience, Economics and Business, Cybersecurity and Computer Games Development.

When you join us as a postgraduate student or researcher, you’ll be joining a community of creative like-minded scholars and will automatically be provided with access to our dedicated study and social spaces – a forum in which you can meet, work and learn with other researchers and postgraduates from across the University. You’ll benefit from training and professional development opportunities as well as support with funding applications, placement opportunities, teaching support, public engagement and outreach activity.

Find out more about our Graduate School.

Postgraduate Research Degrees - new

Research degree study

Abertay University offers Doctorates (PhD or DBA) or Research Masters Degrees (MPhil or MbR*) in a range of subject areas.

As a Postgraduate Research Degree student you will undertake an independent research project supported by a team of expert research supervisors and follow a programme of researcher training and professional development which is tailored to your needs and aspirations.

*Masters by Research (MbR) graduates will be awarded a Masters degree with one of the following titles depending on the subject area of research:

  • Master of Science by Research (main subject name) (MSc)
  • Master of Arts by Research (main subject name) (MA)
  • Master of Technology by Research (main subject name) (MTECH)
  • Master of Laws by Research (main subject name) LLM
An expected period of study in months for each award is:
Award Minimum Expected Maximum
PhD full-time 24 36 48
MPhil full-time 12 24 36
MbR full-time 10 12 14
PhD part-time 48 72 96
MPhil part-time 24 48 72
MbR part-time 20 24 28

Entry requirements

The minimum entry requirement is an Upper Second Class Honours degree (or equivalent) at undergraduate level in an appropriate discipline and/or a Master’s degree.  In some cases appropriate professional or experiential learning may be considered in combination with a lower classification of Honours degree.

English Language Requirements

Applicants whose first language is not English or where the First or Masters Degree was not taught in English, are required to hold a suitable English language certificate.

Applicants requiring a Tier 4 visa are required to provide one of the following English language certificates:

  • West African at B(4)
  • NECO at B(4)
  • IELTS 6.5 with no band less than 6.0*

In addition, applicants who do not need a Tier 4 visa or are EEA Nationals are permitted to use one of the following:

  • TOEFL 80 with no band less than 18*
  • Pearson’s PTE 61 with no band less than 56*

*The University can only accept these qualifications if they were completed 2 years prior to the start of the programme.

How to apply

There are three routes to finance postgraduate research study (MbyR, MPhil, PhD) at Abertay University. Funded, sponsored and self-funded Research Degrees are available in a wide range of topics across each of the four Schools (Faculties) of the University. Please select the appropriate link within Research Degree Studentships for further information and details on how to apply through that route.

On-line applications must include the following:

  • The completed on-line Application Form
  • Your Project Proposal (guidance below)
  • Copies of your Degree Certificate(s)
  • English Language Qualifications (if required)
  • A copy of the photographic page of your passport

What to include in your project proposal

This is your opportunity to state your research objectives, to grab the reader’s attention and highlight your suitability for research degree study.  You have a short time to convince a potential supervisor that you have a suitable project topic, that it is feasible and it is worth doing.

Contact the Head of the Graduate School or potential supervisors through the Research Staff pages to ask for their feedback and be prepared to take their comments into consideration for future revisions; please also clearly indicate how you will fund your studies.  You should avoid vague, blanket emails to several potential supervisors (these are obvious and will be ignored).

You are advised to use a structured approach for your project proposal:

  • Title
  • Abstract (Summary)
  • Introduction/Background
  • Hypotheses and objectives
  • Methodology
  • How to disseminate your findings
  • Ethical considerations
  • Summary and conclusions
  • References

Some good practice tips: 

  • Be clear and concise
  • Structure your proposal by breaking up blocks of text into smaller paragraphs (with headings)
  • Reference you work
  • Justify your objectives
  • Briefly write about your previous relevant experience which will help you achieve your objectives and identify your additional professional development and training needs.

Fees, scholarships and funding

Advice and information on Postgraduate Research Degrees tuition fees, scholarships and budgeting.

There are three routes to finance postgraduate research study (MbR, MPhil, PhD) at Abertay University:


Entry dates and deadlines

Abertay offers a choice of two entry dates for research study – October and February of each year. Unless otherwise stated, deadlines for submitting a full application are:

Applications for October entry by 30 July (if you need a Tier 4 visa then the deadline is 3 June)

Applications for February entry by 30 November (if you need a Tier 4 visa then the deadline is 30 October) 

An applicant can apply to defer from one entry point to another on one occasion, however, subsequent requests must be supported by an additional full application.

Further information

For more information, see our Graduate School and Research at Abertay pages.

For more information about how to apply, phone University Admissions on +44 (0) 1382 308476 or email