PhD Enquiries and Applications

Postgraduate research degrees at Newman University

Newman University offers the degrees of PhD and MPhil in partnership with Liverpool Hope University. Postgraduate research students at Newman register at both institutions and work towards a Liverpool Hope University research degree.

Applications are welcomed from students interested in pursuing a full-time or part-time Master of Philosophy (MPhil) or Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree and who satisfy the University’s entry criteria.

This page provides key information about applying for postgraduate research degrees. Please take the time to read this information.

Research Degrees

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

A PhD is an independent piece of research and writing that presents an original contribution to existing knowledge, usually within a given discipline. The maximum length for a PhD thesis is 100,000 words. Students who gain the degree of PhD will have demonstrated:

  • The creation and interpretation of new knowledge, through original research or other advanced scholarship, of a quality to satisfy peer review, extend the forefront of the discipline, and merit publication;
  • A systematic acquisition and understanding of a substantial body of knowledge which is at the forefront of an academic discipline or area of professional practice;
  • The general ability to conceptualise, design and implement a project for the generation of new knowledge, applications or understanding at the forefront of the discipline, and to adjust the project design in the light of unforeseen problems;
  • A detailed understanding of applicable techniques for research and advanced academic enquiry.

The period of study for a PhD is:

Full-time candidates: typically 3 years; final deadline 4 years
Part-time candidates: typically 5 years; final deadline 6 years

Master of Philosophy (MPhil)

The MPhil is a degree of considerable distinction in its own right, and is awarded for the successful completion of a substantial element of research or equivalent enquiry. The MPhil differs from the PhD only in terms of the scope of study required, demonstrated by the shorter word limit of 60,000, and the extent of the original personal contribution to knowledge. Students who gain the degree of MPhil will have demonstrated:

  • A systematic understanding of knowledge, and a critical awareness of current problems and/or new insights, much of which is at, or informed by, the forefront of their academic discipline, field of study or area of professional practice;
  • A comprehensive understanding of techniques applicable to their own research or advanced scholarship; originality in the application of knowledge, together with a practical understanding of how established techniques of research and enquiry are used to create and interpret knowledge in the discipline;
  • Conceptual understanding that enables the student to evaluate critically current research and advanced scholarship in the discipline to evaluate methodologies and develop critiques of them and, where appropriate, to propose new hypotheses.

The period of study for an MPhil is:

Full-time: typically two years; final deadline three years
Part-time: typically three years; final deadline four years

Guide for Applicants

To apply for postgraduate research you must satisfy the University’s general entry requirements as well as any specific requirements for your chosen programme. Applications are assessed based upon academic excellence and other relevant experience, and how closely your research proposal aligns with Newman University’s key research areas. We will also look for evidence of your interest in the programme and an understanding of the rigorous demands of postgraduate study.

Entry Criteria

Applicants for PhD should normally possess:

EITHER a Master’s Degree with Distinction from a UK university;
OR a Master’s Degree with Merit from a UK university, INCLUDING a Distinction grade for the Dissertation [or equivalent];
OR a Master’s Degree from a UK university that does not offer awards with Merit, the Registrar having confirmed that the profile of marks awarded by that University satisfies or exceeds Liverpool Hope University’s requirements for the award of a Master’s Degree with Merit, AND that the Dissertation [or equivalent] was awarded a Distinction grade;
OR an equivalent qualification from outside the UK.

Applicants for MPhil should normally possess:

EITHER a Master’s Degree from a UK university;
OR an equivalent qualification from outside the UK.

Please note that equivalency of qualifications is judged by Liverpool Hope University, and all decisions are final.

In addition applicants for PhD and MPhil must be able to demonstrate a high level of competence in written and spoken English.

Advanced Standing

MPhil and PhD applicants who have successfully completed one or more years of full-time study (or two or more years of part-time study) for a research degree at a UK university may be considered for admission with advanced standing. In such cases, the admissions procedure shall be identical to other applicants; however, the duration of the programme may vary and shall be as specified at the time of entry.

Application Deadlines

The University admits students to its MPhil and PhD programmes at two points during the academic year: October and February.

For an October start date, you must submit your full application before 1 May. For a February start date, you must submit your full application before 1 October in the preceding calendar year.


As a postgraduate research student you will pay annual tuition fees to Newman University for the course you are studying. For 2017-18 fees for PhD and MPhil are:

Home and EU: £3,980 full time; £1,990 part time
International: £9,980 full time; £4,990 part time

Funding your Degree

Before applying, you will need to think carefully about how you will fund your studies. You will need to cover your fees, living expenses and other costs associated with your research.

Maintenance Loans

The Government has confirmed that maintenance loans for part-time undergraduate students will be introduced from 2018.  Maintenance loans are loans which help pay for students' living costs, eg, food, books, accommodation and travel.

Immigration and Visas

Please note that International Applicants will need to ensure that they obtain the correct visas to study in the UK. The requirements will vary depending on your circumstances.

Application Process

Step 1

You will need to fill in a short Expression of Interest. This asks for a little more information about you and a 500 word summary of your proposed area of research.

Please send your completed Expression of Interest to:
John Howard
Research Office Administrator
Graduate School
Newman University
Genners Lane
Bartley Green
Birmingham B32 3NT
T: (0121) 476 1181 Ext. 2246 

Step 2

Your Expression of Interest will be considered and you will be informed of any decisions by email, which may include an invitation to interview. If your expression of interest is supported, you will be invited to submit your full application.

Step 3

Fill in the application form using the guidance given on the form. Please make sure that you complete your full application before the closing date for applications for your chosen entry date. A key element of your full application will be a detailed outline of your proposed research.

 Advice on Writing a Research Proposal

Particular attention will be paid to clarity of expression and also the structure, coherence and flow of argument. You should always include a short bibliography with your research proposal that lists books and articles to which you have made reference in your proposal. You will not be obliged to adhere to the specifics of your proposal if you are offered a place as a research degree candidate, but as the proposal is the foundation of your working relationship with your prospective supervisors it cannot be altered substantially without discussion and consultation with them. If you do not submit a research proposal we will be unable to consider your application.

Click here for further advice.

Step 4

Please submit your application and all supporting documents to the Research Office Administrator (contact details above). You must include copies of your: degree certificates; transcripts; English language qualifications and passport details (required for International applicants); references.

Step 5

Your application will be considered and you may be invited to attend an interview at Newman University.

If you wish to discuss studying for a research degree at any stage of the application process or require any further information on research at Newman, please contact the Director of Graduate School:
Professor Máirtín Mac an Ghaill
T: (0121) 476 1181 Ext. 2601


docx  Expression of Interest
Last updated: 10 March 2015

docx  Application Form
Last updated: 30 September 2016

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