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Our PhD by Distance programme allows you to benefit from our world-class support and the expertise of a Reading-based supervisor, while conducting your research in a location that suits your circumstances.

The programme is available to candidates who need to study for most of their registration period at another site, whether in the UK, or worldwide. Acceptance for PhD by Distance is subject to the approval of the supervisors and the Dean of Postgraduate Research Studies and Researcher Development.

There are several reasons why you may wish to base yourself away from the University of Reading while undertaking your PhD:

  • the nature of your research project requires substantial access to resources and facilities located away from Reading
  • you have employment commitments relevant to your research that prevent you from being based in Reading
  • your PhD project has been agreed as part of a specific partnership/sponsorship arrangement.

You can choose to complete a PhD by Distance programme on either a part-time or full-time basis.

Please email for details.

What the programme offers

On the PhD by Distance programme, you will benefit from:

  • supervision from one or more leading University of Reading academics, working at the forefront of their field
  • access to a range of high-quality training, delivered on campus or online 
  • access to extensive online Library resources
  • a reduced tuition fee set at half the standard full- or part-time rate for periods when studying off-campus for students starting in 2023/24. For students starting in 2024/25 onwards, the tuition fee will increase in line with on-campus fees
  • a PhD qualification which is examined at the same level as a campus-based PhD and a standard PhD degree certificate which does not state the mode of study on it.


“During my PhD by Distance, I undertook my research in the field in South Africa. This experience enabled me to develop a much deeper and intricate understanding of my research topic, which would not have been possible if I had been based in Reading for most of the time.”

Tara Pirie

Third-year doctoral student



In addition to meeting the standard academic and language eligibility requirements, you must be able to demonstrate that you:

  • can successfully conduct your research with the resources available to you at your off-campus study site
  • have access to appropriate IT facilities, so that you can engage in supervision and training from your off-campus study site
  • have the necessary time, commitment and appropriate attitude toward studying off-campus.


If you are intending to study in the Henley Business School, then please check with the relevant Department within the Business School about whether PhD by Distance is available before you apply.


How to apply

Before starting your application, you are strongly advised to navigate to the PhD webpages of your chosen school or department to read the specific guidance on how to apply, as the requirements can vary. Once you have read the guidance, you will need to make a formal application through the University's online application system, highlighting that you wish to study for a PhD by Distance (full or part-time). If you have questions about PhD by Distance in a specific school or department, then please contact the relevant School/Department PGR Administrator in the School PGR Support Team