Depending on the field of study you are interested in, you may be able to apply for a pre-defined PhD project, or you may need to develop your own research idea.
Research in the fields of medicine, science and engineering tend to require you to:
- apply for a project that already has specific, pre-defined aims
- compete for a place on a partially or fully funded programme (often with competitive application processes).
Research in the fields of arts, humanities and social sciences tend to require you to:
- develop your own research idea (be prepared to adapt your original idea)
- source your own funding, although some funded projects may be available.
PhD research projects
PhD projects and studentships are defined pieces of research that an organisation wishes to explore. A research council may have provided funding for the project to ensure its successful outcome, although not all defined PhD projects have funding associated with them.
Doctoral training centres and partnerships
Doctoral training centres and partnerships are four-year programmes that are sponsored by one of the UK’s research councils. They focus on your development into an independent researcher, under the guidance of an expert supervision team.
Developing your own research idea
How do you know if your own research idea is suitable for doctoral study? There are many factors you should consider, including time, topic, size and supervisor availability.
Professional doctorates are aimed at working professionals who have advanced research interests, and would like to use applied research to solve problems in their field.