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Your research degree

The Loughborough doctoral experience offers a vibrant and supportive research community.

Every day, someone is awarded their doctoral degree at Loughborough University.

Apply now to join an inspiring community of approximately 1000 research students, all undertaking pioneering research in 100+ research centres, groups and institutes. The University encourages the diversity of the research students undertake, which seek distinctive solutions to regional, national and international problems.

In the latest Research Excellence Framework (REF), undertaken in 2014, Loughborough was ranked 14th in the UK and 9th among universities in England for research intensity, and with seven Queen’s Anniversary Prizes awarded for the quality of our research, PhD students at Loughborough enjoy an outstanding doctoral experience.

PhD degrees

A PhD is one of the highest academic qualifications you can attain.

PhD degrees normally take three years full-time or five years part-time to complete. A PhD thesis must make a significant original contribution to, and show a critical appreciation of, existing knowledge in the subject. A typical PhD might involve: developing a research question, reviewing existing research, conducting research, and finally, writing up a thesis (around 80,000 words.)

MPhil degrees

MPhil degrees usually take two years full-time or three years part-time. Students investigate and evaluate an area which contributes to, and demonstrates appreciation of, existing knowledge in the subject. They must also demonstrate an understanding of research methods appropriate to that area. 

Following satisfactory completion of their first year of supervised research, students’ registration is confirmed for PhD or MPhil. All PhD and MPhil candidates must present and defend a substantial thesis to the satisfaction of examiners. 

EngD degrees

EngD degrees take four years to complete and are open to UK research engineers, in any area of engineering or applied science. They involve collaboration with industry, and combine formally assessed taught modules with innovative research related to real industrial problems.

MRes degrees

MRes degrees take one year full-time to complete, and may also be studied part-time. The MRes contains some taught elements, akin to a master’s degree, but mainly focuses on research skills. Student may choose an MRes as a pathway to a PhD.

Centres for Doctoral Training (CDTs)

Loughborough University is proud to be involved in a number of Centres for Doctoral Training (CDTs), funded by Research Councils (EPSRC, NERC and AHRC).

These Centres bring together diverse areas of expertise to train researchers with the skills, knowledge and confidence to tackle today’s evolving issues, and future challenges.

They also provide a supportive and exciting environment for students, create new working cultures, provide developmental and skills training opportunities, build relationships between teams in universities and forge lasting links with industry where possible.

Find out more


This year the University is delighted to announce over 75 studentships available, across all areas of our research, with more being added. Starting in 2016, these funding packages include the full tuition fees and a tax-free stipend of approximately £14,000 per annum to cover living costs.