History, Philosophy and Religion research degrees

Step 2 – Research degree programmes in the Faculty

The following subsections outline the research degree courses we offer, what you can expect from the research degree programmes, the various research areas that can potentially be supervised, financial regulations, entrance requirements, and the different modes of study and programme lengths.

Research degree courses we offer

The degree for which you register as a research student will depend on your academic qualifications and research experience, as well as your own personal preferences. Please browse the following course titles for further information on the specific courses we offer.

MA/MSc/LLM by Research

  • The MA/MSc/LLM by Research is awarded to a candidate who, having critically investigated and evaluated an approved topic and demonstrated an understanding of research methods appropriate to the chosen field, has presented and defended a thesis by oral examination to the satisfaction of the examiners.
  • The minimum programme length is one year full-time or two years part-time.
  • The maximum thesis length is 30,000 words.

MPhil

  • The MPhil is awarded to a candidate who, having critically investigated and evaluated an approved topic and demonstrated an understanding of the research methods appropriate to the chosen field, has presented and defended a thesis by oral examination to the satisfaction of the examiners.
  • The minimum programme length is two years full-time or three years part-time.
  • The maximum thesis length is 50,000 words.

MPhil with the possibility of transfer to a PhD

  • A candidate registered initially for an MPhil with the possibility of transfer to a PhD who wishes to transfer to PhD has to complete a transfer process within the Faculty. Transfer comprises three main elements: a transfer report; an oral presentation and/or interview, and an additional piece of work. This should be done when sufficient progress has been made on the work to provide evidence of the development to PhD.
  • The PhD is awarded to a candidate who, having critically investigated and evaluated an approved topic resulting in an independent and original contribution to the field and demonstrated an understanding of the research methods appropriate to the chosen field, has presented and defended a thesis by oral examination to the satisfaction of the examiners.
  • The minimum programme length is three years full-time or four years part-time.
  • The maximum thesis length is 100,000 words.

PhD Direct

  • In exceptional circumstances direct registration for the degree of PhD may be permitted to an applicant who holds a Master’s degree awarded by a UK Higher Education Institution or an overseas Master’s degree of equivalent standard, provided that the Master's degree is recent and is in a closely related discipline which is appropriate to the proposed research and that the Master’s degree included training in research and the execution of a research project. The Faculty reserves the right to decide whether a candidate can register for a PhD direct.
  • The PhD is awarded to a candidate who, having critically investigated and evaluated an approved topic resulting in an independent and original contribution to the field and demonstrated an understanding of the research methods appropriate to the chosen field, has presented and defended a thesis by oral examination to the satisfaction of the examiners.
  • The minimum programme length is two years full-time or three years part-time.
  • The maximum thesis length is 100,000 words.

PhD by Published Work

  • The University shall award the degree of PhD on the basis of published work to registered candidates whose submitted work forms a coherent programme of research, demonstrates the use of appropriate research methodology, and makes an original and sufficient contribution to the present state of knowledge in a particular field to the satisfaction of the examiners. The work submitted should reflect the same academic standards as those which operate for a traditional PhD based upon an approved programme of supervised research.
  • Applicants shall normally have had some prior association with Oxford Brookes University.
  • The minimum programme length is one year with a maximum of two years.
  • The submission for examination shall comprise the published work on which the application is based together with a supporting critical appraisal of this work. The critical appraisal should be between 7,500 and 15,000 words in length.

Research areas

The Department of History, Philosophy and Religion is home to some of the UK’s leading research in its fields and boasts outstanding results. In the most recent Research Assessment Exercise, with 65% of our History research ranked either world-leading or internationally recognised.

Our research students enjoy supervision from top class academics in their fields including joint supervision for interdisciplinary projects. For details of individual research specialisms and expertise, please follow the links to staff profiles.

History of Societies, Governance and Culture

Joanne Bailey, Virginia Crossman, William Gibson, Anne-Marie Kilday, Erik Landis, Alysa Levene, Donal Lowry, David Nash, Glen O’Hara, Andrew Spicer

History of Medicine and Welfare

Joanne Bailey, Tom Crook, Waltraud Ernst, Tudor Georgescu, Anne-Marie Kilday, Alysa Levene, Viviane Quirke, Marius Turda, Cassie Watson, Paul Weindling

History of Art: Material and Political Cultures

Matthew Craske, Elizabeth Darling, Peter Forsaith, Roger Griffin, Marika Leino, Harry Mount, Christiana Payne, Charles Robertson, Andrew Spicer

Philosophy, Cognition and Behaviour

Stephen Boulter, Mark Cain, Dan O’Brien, Constantine Sandis, Tom Tyler

Religion, Belief and Humanism

Robert Bates, Bev Clack, Dominic Corrywright, Peter Forsaith, William Gibson, Roger Griffin, Martin Groves, David Nash, Andrew Spicer, Tom Tyler

For further information on staff research interests please browse the staff profiles.

For further information on how to apply please click here

Current research student profiles

Browse our current and former students.

Research degree fees

The research degree fees for 2013/14 can be found here. Please note the research degree fees increase by approximately 4% each year.

Any offer is subject to payment of the appropriate research student fees, each year, for the duration of the programme of research. In accepting this offer, you are accepting this financial agreement. The University Research Degree Regulations state in Section 2.5 that, “Before being accepted, self-funded students should provide evidence that they are able to adequately fund the whole of their research degree programme”, for example in the form of a letter from your bank confirming that you are of good financial standing and will be able to cover the cost of the fees for the duration of the programme. If your fees are to be paid by a Sponsor, Research Council Scholarship, or stated other method you should provide a letter from the sponsoring body confirming the award and its duration. Please be aware that all financial issues should be addressed before embarking on the programme.

Please note that the research degree fees contribute to the costs of supervision, the central costs associated with the programme and the use of University facilities, as specified in the offer letter. Any additional costs associated with the research project must be borne by the student.

Funding your studies

Please see Research Degree Fees for information on the financial requirements of undertaking a research degree at Oxford Brookes University.

Please be aware that funding opportunities are limited and competition for sources of funding for research degrees is strong. We recommend that you set aside plenty of time in advance of your proposed start date to research possible funding opportunities.

Additional information can be found at the following links:

Entrance requirements

Entry requirements can be found under Section 2 of the Research Degree Regulations

Academic requirements

  • To register for an MA/MSc/LLM by Research, MPhil or MPhil/PhD applicants should normally hold a first or upper second class honours degree or equivalent. An application from a candidate holding qualifications other than those listed above shall be considered on the applicant's merits and in relation to the nature and scope of the programmes of work proposed.
  • For registration to a PhD direct, applicants should hold a recent Research-based Master’s degree in a closely related discipline which is appropriate to the proposed research and that the Master's degree included training in research and the execution of a research project.
  • For registration to a PhD by Published Work, applicants should have some prior association with Oxford Brookes University, hold a first or upper second class honours degree or equivalent, and have at least five years relevant experience at postgraduate level.

English language requirements

Applicants whose main language is not English must meet the Faculty’s English language requirements. The minimum IELTS score required for entry to the research degree programme is 6.5–7 overall. In addition, we require a minimum of 6.5 in each component of the test. We do not accept IELTS certificates that are over two years old. We are not required to test the English language ability of applicants who have completed a qualification equivalent to a UK degree which was taught in English in a majority-speaking country. Evidence of this must be provided (eg. Masters Certificate).

It is very important that you are able to understand and use English well, so that you can benefit fully from your time at Oxford Brookes University. If you have any queries regarding acceptable English language qualifications, please contact Oxford Brookes International:

Tel: +44 (0) 1865 483874
Fax: +44 (0) 1865 484377
pathways@brookes.ac.uk

Residence requirements

In exceptional circumstance you may register as a part-time research degree student at Oxford Brookes University and conduct part of your work outside of the UK. If you choose to register on this non-resident basis for a period of time:

  • You must be able to visit Oxford Brookes University for at least six weeks per year. This must be agreed by both the Postgraduate Research Tutor and your appointed Director of Studies at Oxford Brookes University.
  • An external supervisor or advisor of appropriate academic standing and with the necessary experience must be appointed in your local area. The University Research Degrees Committee must also be satisfied that there are adequate research facilities available outside of the UK.
  • As you would be registered at Oxford Brookes University, you would be awarded one research degree from Oxford Brookes.

The Faculty reserves the right to decline an application from a candidate who wishes to conduct part of their work outside of the UK if there are concerns over supervision, attendance or the separation of the student from the research environment.

Mode of study

You may register for most of our research degree programmes on either a full-time or part-time basis (however see Residence requirements).

A full-time student must be able to devote a minimum of 35 hours per week over a 44-week year to their research. In addition, they should not undertake more than 20 hours per week paid employment or other commitments (including a maximum of six hours per week teaching, demonstrating, or other paid work directly related to their research training). A part-time student must be able to devote a minimum of 15 hours per week over a 44-week year to the programme of research.

MPhil, MPhil/PhD and PhD students may take up to eight weeks holiday in each year, inclusive of normal public holidays. MA/MSc/LLM by Research students may take up to four weeks holiday in each year (pro rata for parts of a year), inclusive of normal public holidays. In each case the timing of the holidays must be agreed with by the supervisory team.

Programme length

The minimum length is listed by programme in the table below:

Programme Full-time Part-time
MA/MSc/LLM by Research one year two years
MPhil two years three years
MPhil/PhD three years four years
PhD (direct entry) two years three years
PhD by Published Work n/a one year

CONTACT US

Tel: +44 1865 484998
hss-researchdegrees@brookes.ac.uk

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