Research Degrees


Two students sit on a bench in a courtyard outside the Main Building, with one reading and the other making notes.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

  • A student sits on a window sill in Sages restaurant and looks out over the Quad while reading a geography book.Masters by Research (MRes) programmes are highly flexible courses  that provide a short and intensive research experience in a subject area of interest. 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) or Professional Doctorate and position yourself at the cutting edge of knowledge. PhD and Professional Doctorate qualifications are awarded to students who have completed individual programmes of research and written and successfully presented a thesis reporting the results.

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


A student works at a computer in the University library in the Catalyst building.If you are looking to undertake a Masters programme with a substantial element of research, perhaps as preparation for joining a PhD, then our MRes Research 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.

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.

View course information for MRes Masters by Research 


A student flicks through a book while stood near shelves of books in the University library in the Catalyst building.Studying for a PhD provides you with the opportunity to make a major and original contribution to knowledge. A PhD is 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. 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.

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.

A 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.

View course information for PhD Doctor of Philosophy 

Professional Doctorate

A student descends stairs in the Catalyst building, passing two students sat working by a window overlooking the lake to the eastern side of the campus.Professional doctorate degrees are equivalent in status and challenge to a PhD and intended to create knowledge that advances professional practice. They are designed for professionals, in both private and public sectors, who have an active interest in work-based research and professional practice issues.

A professional doctorate enhances continuing professional development and encourages an advanced ability to question, analyse, critique and theorise, equipping you with knowledge of a range of different research techniques. Your studies will be supported by core and methodological training to help you to formulate a research proposal, alongside a tailored programme of related studies to enhance your skills as a researcher, as well as subject-specific researcher training to enhance your subject knowledge.

Professional doctorates are typically assessed at different stages of your studies through viva examinations, culminating in an extended thesis of original research that demonstrates the creation and interpretation of new knowledge to satisfy peer review and merit publication.

A Professional Doctorate at Edge Hill University is available in Emergency Services Management.

View course information for the Professional Doctorate