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Postgrad. Research Degrees@SEE.Edinburgh

Ph.D., M.Phil. and M.Sc. by Research

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Master of Philosophy (M.Phil.)

Master of Science (M.Sc.) by research

Engineering Doctorate

Formal discussion of Research Degrees in the University prospectus

This is an informal view of the nature of different postgraduate research degrees as they operate within this graduate school. The full guidelines for these degrees can be found in the University Prospectus and the regulations, for those who like to see the full formal details before getting involved, are in the University "Calendar"!

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

As in most Universities, a Ph.D. student is linked to two supervisors within the School and to one industrial supervisor if the project is industrially sponsored. With the supervisors' help, a candidate must select and complete a research project that meets the requirements of the degree of Ph.D. and can be resourced in terms of funding for equipment, travel and consumables. The School has monitoring procedures that aim to maximise Ph.D. students' likelihood of timely completion and all postgraduate students are expected to complete a small number of tasks at regularvintervals (short reports. etc) . Study for a Ph.D. degree normally takes 3 years, although longer periods are not unusual for part-time Ph.D. study. Part-time study is feasible if the candidate works within easy travelling distance of Edinburgh and can identify a suitable project that has the support of his or her employers. Otherwise, part-time postgraduate study is either difficult or impossible and we do not encourage part-time Ph.D. programs unless the project has the employer's full support. It is possible to start an M.Sc. or M.Phil. degree as the first year or two of a Ph.D. and transfer to Ph.D. It is not, however, necessary for suitably-qualified and experienced applicants to undertake an M.Sc. before starting a Ph.D.

Master of Philosophy (M.Phil.)

The M.Phil. degree resembles the Ph.D., except that it generally takes two years and does not carry the same requirement for novelty/contribution to knowledge that is central to Ph.D. study. Transfer between M.Phil. and Ph.D. is not unusual as projects and personal circumstances evolve.

Master of Science (M.Sc.)

The M.Sc. by research is based around a 1-year research project and can be:-

  • A condensed 1-year research project for a candidate who cannot justify or fund a 3-year period of study
  • A precursor to study for the degree of M.Phil. or Ph.D. for a student who is not in a position to commit to the longer degree immediately. In this case, the option exists after 6 months to either complete the M.Sc. or apply for transfer to a Ph.D. programme - whereupon the time spent on the M.Sc. work can be seen to count towards the Ph.D.
  • A useful mechanism for industry to collaborate with the School. If a project within the candidate's industrial working environment meets, or can be made to meet, the requirements for the degree, this can form a useful mechanism for building what may be new research links, while the candidate gains the degree of M.Sc.

Engineering Doctorate (Eng.D)

The Engineering Doctorate (EngD) in Offshore Renewable Energy is offered jointly by the University of Edinburgh, the University of Strathclyde and the University of Exeter. The EngD is a four-year doctoral level research and training programme equivalent in academic standing to a conventional PhD but is achieved through research which is much more industrially focused and which is designed to produce graduates who have a sound understanding of the business implications of industrial research activity. Research Engineers spend the first two terms attending an intensive programme of 12 taught courses delivered at the University of Edinburgh. Following the initial period in Edinburgh, they join a sponsoring company to work as a researcher for the rest of the programme. For more information please visit

To Apply ...

To get an application under way, consult the School's Research Programme to identify areas that are of interest to you. There are also some suggested Projects on the Research Institutes' Web Pages although these are provided as a guide - we are happy to receive any sensible project proposal that fits with the School's Research plans and supervisory capabilities.

Cross-section of a human brain

Mahakali simulation model - water balance

Wind turbine


The full regulations are available on-line, for those who wish to see the whole package in all its gruesome detail!

Originally designed by The Learning Technology Section    © 2002 Copyright The University of Edinburgh. All rights reserved.

Last modified Wednesday, 21-Nov-2012 12:14:08 GMT