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.

Search our range of research degrees and PhDs

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, 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.

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Master of Philosophy (MPhil)

The MPhil or Master of Philosophy is a research degree similar to a PhD, although the the MPhil dissertation is normally shorter than the PhD thesis. Many students register on to an MPhil with the ambition to progress on to a PhD.

Studying an MPhil at Kent takes about two years full-time or three years part-time to complete.

Your MPhil thesis must show the ability to conduct an original investigation, to test ideas, to understand the relationship of the theme to the wider field of knowledge, and to organise material appropriately.

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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.

Kent academic gives advice for undergraduates considering a PhD

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 cover all the requirements of an MPhil thesis, and make an original contribution to knowledge or understanding in the field you are investigating.

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.

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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.

  • View our Sport, Exercise and Health Science professional doctorate