Choosing books in the library

Birmingham 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.


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

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 Birmingham Newman University for the course you are studying. For 2023/24 the fees for PhD and MPhil are:

Home and EU: £4,500 full time; £2,250 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.

You can get funding for postgraduate study through loans, studentships, bursaries and grants – you might also get help from your employer. For further information visit the GOV.UK website.

Immigration and Visas

Unfortunately at this moment in time Newman University is unable to accept international students as we do not hold the correct licence to support international students.

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
Birmingham Newman University
Genners Lane
Bartley Green
Birmingham B32 3NT
T: (0121) 387 4546


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.


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.


Related Documents

Application for Admission PhD and MPhil

Newman Research Degree EoI Form