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Types of doctoral degree – University of Reading

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  • PhD by Distance

    Study for a PhD at a location appropriate for you

  • PhD Plus

    Meeting the specific needs of overseas lecturers

Types of doctoral degree

There is more than one way to achieve a doctorate. Our programmes allow you to gain a PhD or professional doctorate in a way that suits you.

We offer a number of postgraduate research programmes leading to doctoral qualifications, all of which allow you to make an in-depth study of a topic that interests you. In order to be awarded a doctorate, you need to carry out independent and original research, which you write up in the form of a thesis.

You can choose to follow a full- or part-time programme; in general:

  • a full-time programme takes three to four years
  • a part-time programme takes five to six years.

PhD programmes

Most of our postgraduate researchers are working towards a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD). There are various ways of achieving a PhD, depending on the subject and your experience to date.

PhD by Thesis

This is the traditional route to a PhD and you can take this type of programme in any of our research areas. During your PhD, you carry out independent, original research, which you present as a thesis of up to 90,000 words.

For overseas lecturers, we also offer an enhanced programme of studies, the PhD Plus, which allows you to study for a PhD while also learning about higher education in the UK and improving your teaching skills.

PhD by Published Works

If you have developed your research skills through a body of publications produced during the course of your career, either within or outside academia, you can opt for a PhD by Published Works. This programme takes a minimum of six months full time or one year part time.

Practice-based PhD

This route to a PhD is relevant for some arts subjects, where your independent, original PhD research is presented through both practice and a thesis.

Our PhD by Distance programme is designed to support students who need to study for most of their registration period at another (usually overseas) site.

These programmes involve advanced study and research, combining professional and academic knowledge. During your doctorate, you take taught courses and complete an original piece of research, presented as a thesis.

We offer Professional Doctorates in:

Masters by Research

To gain a Masters by Research (MbyRes), you are required to study a number of taught modules and carry out independent, original research, which you present as a thesis. An MbyRes programme takes one year full time or two years part time, and is only available in specific subjects.

Discover the next steps

If you are thinking of applying for a doctoral research programme, find out what you need to do next.

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