Liverpool Hope Logo
Find Your Course
Section Menu

Research Degrees Explained

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Professional Doctorate (EdD)
Master of Philosophy (MPhil)
QAA Guidance

What is a PhD?

A PhD is an independent piece of research and writing that presents an original contribution to existing knowledge within a given discipline. Liverpool Hope University will award the degree of PhD to students who 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.

Typically, holders of a PhD degree from Liverpool Hope University will:

  • be able to make informed judgements on complex issues in specialist fields, often in the absence of complete data, and be able to communicate their ideas and conclusions clearly and effectively to specialist and non-specialist audiences;
  • continue to undertake pure and/or applied research and development at an advanced level, contributing substantially to the development of new techniques, ideas or approaches.
  • have the qualities and transferable skills necessary for employment requiring the exercise of personal responsibility;
  • demonstrate largely autonomous initiative in complex and unpredictable situations.

The maximum length of a PhD thesis at Liverpool Hope University is 100,000 words.

How long will it take?

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

What is an EdD?

The Doctor of Education (EdD) has been specifically designed to meet the needs of educational professionals in teaching, management or administration in a range of sectors.

Students recruited to the programme come from occupations such as teaching, advisory roles, police work, social work and in the health sector, and often but not always hold senior positions. Common to them all is a desire to pursue an area of research related to and drawing on their professional work, and with the aim of creating new knowledge, applications and understanding that will bring both personal benefits and for the wider professional community.

There is a strong emphasis on individualised learning and personal critical reflection related to professional identities, values and contexts. The programme provides a structured environment in which you engage at an advanced level with a range of academic and professional issues relevant to your own practice. The learning and teaching strategy seeks to develop the three key skills of independent learning, independent research, and sustained critical and self-reflexive analysis integrating academic and professional considerations.

How is the degree structured?

The programme is divided into two parts. In the first part, you undertake three ‘strands’ of taught study (equalling 40 credits each). This is followed by the writing of a substantial research proposal (60 credits), which forms a good foundation for the supervised thesis in part 2. This will be based on a research question broadly related to professional practice. 

A thesis submitted for the Professional Doctorate should not exceed 60,000 words.

How long will it take?

Typically the EdD is studied part time and takes four years to complete.

What is an MPhil?

The MPhil is an award 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.

Liverpool Hope University will award the degree of MPhil to students who 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.

Typically, holders of an MPhil degree from Liverpool Hope University will:

  • be able to deal with complex issues both systematically and creatively, make sound judgements in the absence of complete data, and communicate their conclusions clearly to specialist and non-specialist audiences;
  • demonstrate self-direction and originality in tackling and solving problems, and act autonomously in planning and implementing tasks at a professional or equivalent level;
  • continue to advance their knowledge and understanding, and to develop new skills to a high level.
  • have the qualities and transferable skills necessary for employment requiring: the exercise of initiative and personal responsibility; decision-making in complex and unpredictable situations; the independent learning ability required for continuing professional development.

How long will it take?

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

The UK doctorate: A guide for current and prospective doctoral candidates

The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) and the National Union of Students (NUS) have created a guide for PGR students which recognises the diversity of awards and the student population to help guide doctoral students and applicants through what a UK doctorate is. We would encourage you to refer to this guide during the application process.