Types of research degrees

Our doctoral experience offers a vibrant and supportive research community. If you’re interested in joining our research community, but you would like some clarification on what a doctoral degree is and the different types of doctorate degrees available you’ll find the answer to your question here.

What is a research degree?

Once you’ve obtained a master’s degree, the next step for most is to obtain a research degree, otherwise known as a doctorate. A research degree is the highest degree awarded by UK universities. Each research degree differs from one another, to help you get a better understanding of the different types of research degrees available and what they entail we’ve outlined them below.

If you still have a question, please don’t hesitate to get in touch

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

What is a PhD?

A PhD is a doctoral degree and is a globally recognised postgraduate academic qualification.

You will be involved heavily in research and in the creation and pursuit of new knowledge in your specific field. It is based on extensive and original research in your chosen field. It is usually assessed by a thesis at the end of the study period. Although the title 'PhD' means 'Doctor of Philosophy', the study areas can range from management theory to scientific issues.

Is a PhD for me? How long will it take?

A PhD is suitable for students who want to explore theory, push back the frontiers of knowledge, and pursue a career in academia. It is one of the highest academic qualifications you can attain.

Our PhD degrees normally take three years full-time or six years part-time to complete. You will be required to write a PhD thesis, which 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).

Once complete you will hold the title of 'Doctor'.

Engineering Doctorate (EngD)

What is an EngD?

An EngD is an Engineering Doctorate and is an alternative to the traditional PhD for students who want a career in industry.

Our 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.

Centres for Doctoral Training (CDTs)

We are proud to be involved in a number of Centres for Doctoral Training (CDTs), funded by Research Councils (EPSRC, ESRC, 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.


What is a studentship?

studentship is another term for PhD scholarship - a studentship provides funding for postgraduate research students who are working on specific projects. The funding is usually provided by an organisation, the university or a combination of both.

Apply for a studentship at Loughborough

Apply for one of our studentships for the chance to work with leading experts on solving a range of real-world issues.

Successful applicants will receive funding, which normally includes a tax-free living allowance, tuition fees, and in some cases additional funding for costs of running the project and/or additional training.

There are a huge variety of projects available throughout the year, with new opportunities posted nearly every week.

MPhil (Master of Philosophy)

As well as PhD and EngD programmes, we also offer MPhil degrees. The MPhil is very similar to a PhD, although it is a less advanced qualification. It is often used as a training course in advanced research work, and can be a stepping stone towards a PhD.

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