Why Postgraduate Research at Keele?

Keele has always been forward thinking. It was founded on the ethos that we should look at things differently; challenge the status quo, to make a positive change and impact on our futures. This is true now, if not more so, than ever before.

Our students join us for a variety of reasons, either to personally progress themselves academically, or to further their professional career, to improve and enhance their opportunities for promotion, or to enable them to diversify and change their career path.

Whatever your needs or reasons are for deciding upon postgraduate study, Keele offers a variety of study options to suit your lifestyle needs and area of expertise.

Keele has been ranked among the UK Top 10 universities for the research opportunities offered to postgraduate students (PRES, 2019) .As a research-led University, we offer a wide range of opportunities to undertake your postgraduate research and Keele is a popular choice for both UK and international students.


The principal research degree available at Keele is the PhD, which includes designing and implementing an original research project, leading to the creation and interpretation of new knowledge.

You will need to write and document your work into a thesis that describes your research project, its definition, purpose, methods, results and conclusions. These are degrees by research alone, with a high level of research training to develop generic skills as a professional researcher.

You will produce a thesis, which at PhD level is a work of original scholarship worthy of publication in a learned journal. You work closely with a supervisor who provides guidance and support. The majority of our research degrees can be undertaken by full-time or part-time study. Standard PhDs are three years in duration (six years part-time).

International students can only register for a full-time PhD. However, we have a range of opportunities to study part of your PhD in other countries where we have arrangements with other universities.


We offer an alternative shorter programme through a MPhil degree. This involves a smaller scale project than a PhD and consist of a thesis based on a specified research topic. They offer broad training in the skills and techniques of contemporary research and can be taken as stand-alone degrees or as a step towards a higher research qualification. MPhil programmes are usually only one year in duration or two years part-time.

Professional doctorates

Professional doctorate programmes are increasingly the choice of professionals in a number of fields, particularly health and education. They are a more structured programme, divided into two stages:

  • A two-year programme of research training and interaction with peers. Modules are assessed, the number of credits and modules varies with the programme. At the end of stage 1 there is a progression process
  • This is a research project based on your professional practice and lasts a minimum of two years. Your research findings should be broadly transferable to the workplace. Your final degree is awarded based upon a thesis, which sets out the definition, purpose, methods, results and conclusions of your research project in the same way as for a PhD.