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Postgraduate Research

As a postgraduate research student in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences you have the best of both worlds. Like at other universities, you conduct your research with the support of a team of supervisors, and can participate in a full range of on-campus research activities, including reading groups, seminars and conferences. You can use the on-campus library and take part in the Graduate School’s face-to-face training programme geared specifically towards postgraduate research students. You can, however, also study at a distance. The Open University’s expertise in distance learning means that you can benefit from a tailored and expertly designed online postgraduate training programme, and work with supervisory teams skilled at mentoring students virtually and at a distance. You will also have access to an extensive collection of digital journals, books and archives available through the Open University’s library, as well access to research libraries close to where you are studying through the SCONUL scheme.

The Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences offers the following research degrees:

Master of Philosophy (MPhil)

An MPhil is a shorter research degree, completed to the same academic standard as a PhD, but suitable for students who are not able to commit to a lengthy period of study. Students studying for an MPhil undertake a tailored training programme that ensures proficiency in relevant research methods and techniques. The research conducted as part of the MPhil is expected to make a distinct contribution to scholarship in a chosen field. A thesis for the MPhil degree is no more than 60,000 words in length.

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

A PhD is a Doctorate of Philosophy, a prestigious qualification that demonstrates talent, academic excellence and a thirst for knowledge. Like all research degrees, a PhD can give you an advantage in the job market, and opens doors in the academic community.

Students studying for a PhD undertake a tailored training programme that ensures proficiency in relevant research methods and techniques. A thesis for the Doctor of Philosophy must make a significant contribution to knowledge, be worthy of publication and give evidence of ability to undertake further research without supervision. A PhD thesis should be no more than 100,000 words in length.

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