Research Degrees

Edge Hill is home to a thriving, dynamic research culture and offers a wide range of full-time and part-time research degrees.

The University performed strongly in the national Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014, with all subject areas featuring ‘internationally excellent’ or ‘world-leading’ research and research funding subsequently increasing.

Staff in all subject areas across the University are engaged in research and there are a number of research institutes which bring together staff from different departments, alongside visiting professors and professionals from external organisations. This range of expertise ensures that research degrees can be pursued in the majority of subjects offered by Edge Hill University.

Course Options Available

Research DegreesMasters by Research (MRes) programmes are highly flexible courses  that provide the opportunity to specialise in a subject area of interest.

MRes awards are innovative qualifications that have been designed for those seeking a short and intensive research experience. They are underpinned by the development of research knowledge and skills relevant to the discipline studied.

Alternatively, or perhaps on completion of an MRes course or taught Masters degree, you may wish to study for a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) award and position yourself at the cutting edge of knowledge.

PhD qualifications are awarded to students who have completed individual programmes of research and written a thesis reporting the results. Topics for study may result from personal interest, an area of study related to an earlier qualification or an issue an employer would like you to investigate.

To ensure prospective students are well-prepared for study at doctoral level, Edge Hill University has developed a Postgraduate Certificate in Research which precedes registration for a PhD. This free-standing qualification involves the development of the proposed research project, methodology and the ethics of research. It also contains a module which ensures students have considered the professional development and employment potential of their research programme.

Research DegreesIf you are looking to undertake a Masters programme with a substantial element of research, perhaps as preparation for joining a PhD, then an MRes course is for you.

MRes students are essentially required to complete a subject-based research project underpinned by the development of research knowledge and skills relevant to the discipline studied.

The MRes is awarded to candidates who, following the programme of research training, demonstrate an understanding of research methodology appropriate to the field of study, design appropriate research, investigate a focused topic, and present and defend a thesis, by oral examination, to the satisfaction of the appointed examiners.

The following MRes programmes are available at Edge Hill University:

As an MRes candidate you will typically join a small group of like-minded students, who will study together on a programme of research training (typically taking four months for full-time students), with the balance of the course spent developing an individual piece of research in your chosen discipline area.

The award of the MRes will be made after successful completion of both the research training and your individual research.

Research DegreesStudying for a PhD provides you with the opportunity to make a major and original contribution to knowledge. A PhD is the highest degree awarded by Edge Hill University and an internationally recognised measure of excellence. Through a substantial programme of research, you will critically investigate and evaluate a specific topic and demonstrate an understanding of research methodology appropriate to the field of study.

A PhD is awarded almost entirely on the quality of your thesis and your performance in an oral examination (viva voce) to present and successfully defend your chosen research topic to a group of senior academics. You will also need to demonstrate how your research findings have contributed to new knowledge or extended existing theory or understanding.

Research DegreesA doctoral programme of research will typically last a minimum of three years full-time or up to six years part-time. Full-time students normally base their research at the University, although part-time students may conduct significant aspects of their work elsewhere, such as at home or in the workplace.

On successful completion of a PhD you will have an internationally recognised and respected qualification. The skills and knowledge acquired while planning, conducting, analysing and writing up your research will significantly enhance your CV and help you stand out in a highly competitive graduate employment market.

Contact Us

For further information about any of our research opportunities, you should contact the Graduate School, who coordinate the training, supervision and support of research students at Edge Hill University.

You can get in touch with the Graduate School by calling 01695 650925 or emailing

Student Profiles

Emily Williams

PhD Research Student

Right from the start of my PhD I have found everyone within the Sport and Physical Activity Department to be incredibly accommodating and I could not have been made to feel more at home.