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Research degrees we offer

For information on the research degree offered please see Degrees we offer

Can I do a research degree by distance learning?

Open University research degrees are not delivered by distance learning in the way our undergraduate courses are. All PhD students are expected to be resident in the UK for the duration of their studies, and full-time students need to live within an easily commutable distance of Milton Keynes. For more information about residency requirements, see Being an OU student FAQs.

What are the entry requirements for a research degree?

Students applying to study a research degree are expected to already hold a bachelors degree with a minimum of upper-second class honours or an equivalent qualification. Specific entry requirements for each type of research degree are outlined in Degrees we offer. Also, some disciplines require an additional qualification at masters level and these subject-specific requirements are included, where they apply, on the Research topic pages of this website.

If you apply for a full-time research PhD studentship funded by an external body, you will, in addition, be subject to their entry requirements.

What if I don't have a degree/masters?

If you can show that your professional qualifications and experience or previous research activities are suitable preparation for your proposed research degree studies your application may be considered. Please give as much information as possible on your application form to help the academic staff assess your suitability for study.

English language proficiency

In order to study with us, you will need to have a good command of English. If your first language is not English, you will need to verify that your competence in the English Language in all four elements (reading, writing, listening and speaking). The University requires a minimum IELTS score of 6.5 with no less than 6.0 in any of the four categories (or approved equivalent). You should have your level of proficiency certified through a provider approved by UK Visas and Immigration and provide your certificate and grade with your application.