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UWS's Research Activities

UWS offers a wide range of applied research opportunities across all of its active subject areas. Below you will find a brief overview of the different types of research degrees that we offer. You can use the link below to find out about our current areas of research activity, as well as a list of research institutes, groups and centres. 

You can also use the link to our research portal (at the foot of the page) to look for specific research output or staff activity.

Research @ UWS

Find the research degree that’s right for you 

UWS offers the following postgraduate research degrees: 

  • Master of Research (MRes)
  • Master of Philosophy (MPhil)
  • Master of Philosophy (MPhil) / Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) 
  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) by Publication
  • Doctor of Business Adminstration (DBA)
  • Doctor of Professional Studies (DProf)

Entry onto a postgraduate research degree normally requires you to have obtained a good Honours degree (First or Upper Second Class) in a relevant area of study. More information about academic entry requirements is listed on the individual course pages.

Postgraduate research degrees vary in terms of structure, duration, purpose and academic rigour.

Explore the sections below to find the research degree that’s right for you.

For information on current postgraduate research tuition fees, visit our Postgraduate Research (PGR) Tuition Fees & Funding section. Note, some research degrees (MRes/MPhil/PhD) are classed as standard tuition fees (PGR). However, both the DBA and DProf are classified as non-standard tuition fees.

Master of Research (MRes)

The Master of Research (MRes) degree is an advanced postgraduate research degree which is especially focused on preparing students for doctoral research. 

The MRes usually takes 12 months of full-time study. The main difference between a taught MSc and an MRes is that the course structure is more flexible than a taught Masters degree and requires candidates to complete a research dissertation (typically 15-20,000 words) informed by independent research, or a practice-led research project. 

The MRes provides structured research study and is a great place to begin your research career. If you’re thinking about studying at PhD level the MRes will give you a taste of what it’s like to complete a doctorate.

UWS normally requires MRes candidates to defend their dissertation thesis (viva voce examination) for successful completion of an MRes degree. 

For more information please email:

Master of Philosophy (MPhil)

The Master of Philosophy (MPhil) degree is a more advanced postgraduate research degree. In most cases, it is a thesis-only research degree – meaning that your studies will be exclusively focused on researching and writing your thesis – and is regarded as a senior or second Masters degree. 

In most cases the MPhil usually requires 18-24 months of full-time, or 24-36 months of part-time study and requires the submission and oral defence (viva voce examination) of a thesis comprising original research undertaken by the candidate. The MPhil degree is different from the MRes degree in the scale and scope of the research undertaken and an extended time period; the MPhil thesis is typically 20-40,000 words, or the equivalent for practice-led research projects. 

In addition, MPhil research students may be required to undertake a few taught/supporting modules where this is considered necessary for the attainment of competence in research methods and/or background knowledge. In an MPhil, evidence is required of the ability to test ideas, understand appropriate techniques, make use of published work and source material and show familiarity with different theories and empirical studies. 

As such, the MPhil may be awarded to graduate students who satisfactorily complete a programme of supervised research training and have investigated and evaluated or critically studied an appropriate topic over the equivalent of not less than eighteen months of full-time study and who have presented a satisfactory thesis.

For more information please email:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) 

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree is the highest rated research degree awarded by UWS.

As the highest academic level of study, a PhD is rigourous and demanding. Most students are passionate about their area of interest and pursue a PhD as a result of their scientific and academic curiosity. 

Candidates awarded a PhD are entitled to use the academic title Doctor before their name.  

PhD candidates typically emerge from MRes or MPhil studies, although some candidates apply directly having gained appropriate research experience. 

In most cases the PhD usually requires at least 33 months of full-time study, and requires the submission and oral defence (viva voce examination) of a thesis (typically 60-100,000 words, depending on your field of study) comprising original research undertaken by the candidate. 

PhDs are normally awarded to students who have completed a programme of supervised research training and critically evaluated an appropriate topic over not less than the equivalent of 33 months of full-time study that results in a significant contribution to knowledge.

A PhD is generally a pre-requisite for a successful career in academia, and can help you to secure senior research and management roles in government agencies and companies.

For more information please email:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree by Publication

Submissions for this award will consist of coherent body of work (normally four to six research publications) along with an extended narrative which is of the same quality, rigour and volume as required of a standard PhD and which constitutes an original contribution to knowledge.

For more information please email:

Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)

This course will appeal to those wishing to gain the highest level of professional qualification available in business and management, by undertaking world-class doctoral study.

It will be of interest to leader and managers working in the private sector, health, local authorities and higher education, enhancing your professional and executive practice through the application of rigorous research to real and complex issues in business and management.

UWS DBA graduates are equipped to hold several high-level positions including executive and leadership positions in business and commerce and the public sector.

A doctorate provides great personal satisfaction by enabling you to take your learning to the highest recognised level.

For more information please email:

The Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) programme is unavailable for 2021/22 entry.

Doctor of Professional Studies (DProf)

The Professional Doctorate programme is currently recruiting for September.

Apply to DProf programme

UWS is delighted to present its innovative, blended learning, part-time Professional Doctorate (DProf). This course combines the art and science of professional practice and the concept of reflective practice with relevant academic theory helping you to apply this to the investigation/exploration of problems. Many professionals come to the programme as they are preparing to move into senior leadership roles in the profession and find the programme an extremely useful way to enliven change design with cutting edge theory, deepen their understanding of transformative change and support change with reflective practice.

Because the programme is offered on a blended part-time basis and has a focus on professional practice there is no interruption to your earning power. The DProf is interdisciplinary, and recognises that real world professional practice problems are dynamic and complex. The course will facilitate an investigation into the contemporary issues facing your profession and to make a contribution to professional knowledge that is applied and practical in nature.

The DProf allows you to develop transferable skills in advanced applied research as well as in-depth expertise specifically related to your profession through a two year taught phase before moving on to research phase with supervision in which you will complete a piece of applied research and defend the resulting thesis. Through the programme we aim to help you develop confidence, increase your awareness as a reflective practitioner, and improve your career prospects and job satisfaction which will also be of benefit to your workplace in terms of organisational and succession planning.

Tuition Fees - Academic Session 2021/22

  • Paisley, Lanarkshire, Ayr & Dumfries campuses - £3,250 per year of study (all Scottish students) / £3,250 per year of study (all Rest of UK (RUK) and Republic of Ireland (RoI) students) / £6660 (all other International (including EU) students)

How to Apply

The application begins by registering with the UWS application system and filling the application form out on line following the link below.

Apply to DProf programme

Normally candidates are interviewed about their professional experience and aspirations, their interests in the programme and the contribution they feel they can make to the UWS research community as well as their expectations of the programme. We offer flexible arrangements for interviews via WebEx WhatsApp or Skype as well as interviews on UWS Paisley Campus. Candidates usually hold a Masters level degree or equivalent research experience, have professional experience and are in a position to facilitate applied research within their organisation. 

Find out more about the DProf

Research Tuition Fees 2021/22

Tuition fees below are for academic session 2021/22 and relate to MRes, MPhil and PhD research degrees (unless otherwise indicated):

Business & Creative Industries / Education & Social Sciences

  • £4,410 full-time per year of study (all UK and Republic of Ireland students)
  • £13,325 full-time per year of study (all International (including EU) students)
  • £2,205 part-time per year of study (all UK and Republic of Ireland students)

Health & Life Sciences / Computing, Engineering & Physical Sciences

  • £4,410 full-time per year of study (all UK and Republic of Ireland students)
  • £16,400 full-time per year of study (all International (including EU) students)
  • £2,205 part-time per year of study (all UK and Republic of Ireland students)

Professional Doctorate (DProf)

  • £3250 part-time per year of study (all UK and Republic of Ireland students)
  • £6660 part-time per year of study (all International (including EU) students)

Postgraduate Research Extension

  • £550 (all students)

Postgraduate Research Completion

  • £550 (all students)
Last updated: 16/04/2021

Search Research System

PURE is the University's research information management system and provides a single source of research information for UWS. It is used to record and manage research activity with details of research outputs, funding applications, conference contributions, external impact and staff profiles.