Research / PhD

Your study choices

Postgraduate research develops your specialist knowledge in a specific field of study. Working closely with a senior academic, you conduct an original research project that could have a far-reaching impact on the global community.

Kent offers various types of research degrees at Master’s level, PhD (doctorate) and professional doctorate. You can study a Master's independently or you can aim to upgrade to a PhD after a year of study. Standard attendance times for postgraduate research can be found in the sections below.

Master's by research (MA/MSc/LLM)

A Master's by research degree focuses on research expertise and prepares you for professional work or PhD study. A typical Master's programme at Kent takes one year full-time or two years part-time to complete. That's half the time it takes to complete a Master's in the US and Europe.

Research Master's programmes require the submission of an extensive thesis or practice-led research project. A thesis at this level must show the ability to conduct an independent study and to understand its relationship to a wider field of knowledge.

Doctorate (PhD)

A PhD is a doctorate of philosophy based on mostly independent study. It typically takes a minimum of three years to a maximum of four years to complete full-time, or a minimum of five years to a maximum of six years when studied part-time. We also offer external PhDs for candidates who wish to study from their home country.

Under the guidance of your academic supervisor, you conduct unique research in your chosen field before submitting an extensive thesis of a publishable standard. A PhD thesis should demonstrate your understanding of a substantial body of knowledge. More importantly, it highlights thew important contribution that your research is making to scholarship.  

As your PhD progresses, you move through a series of progression points and review stages. This ensures that you are engaged in a process of research that will lead to the production of a high-quality thesis and that you are on track to complete this in the time available. Following submission of your PhD thesis, you have a viva voce (oral) examination assessed by experts in your field.

Considering a PhD?

How should you approach a supervisor? What do they look for in a candidate and an application? How should you apply? 

University of Kent academics Dr Heejung Chung, Dr Dan Lloyd and Professor Paul Allain offer their tips and advice.

Professional doctorate

A professional doctorate is equivalent to a PhD but focuses on a specific professional context. The professional doctorate in Sport, Exercise and Health Science at Kent has been designed for experienced sport, exercise and health science practitioners.

Through a combination of individually tutored modules and your own research, you develop your academic and professional knowledge and acquire a range of advanced research skills. The programme culminates with the submission of your doctoral thesis or portfolio.