Research course

Doctor of Philosophy

University of Cumbria · School of Humanities

Entry requirements


A 1st or 2:1 Honours degree, or Merit or Distinction Masters degree or its equivalent in a relevant discipline from a recognised university in the UK or comparable university overseas. A Master's degree may be desirable in some subject areas.

If you have non-standard entry qualifications or wish for previous study to be considered, please contact Research Student Admissions.

To apply for the PhD Programme, you must submit an application form and a research proposal.

Months of entry

March, October

Course content

A PhD at Cumbria allows you to develop your ambitions in a supportive, challenging and innovative research environment.

With supervisory expertise at the intersections between theory and practice, the University offers a range of doctoral programmes to suit your research needs. These include full-time and part-time options for PhDs, PhDs by Art Practice, PhDs by Alternative Format and Professional Doctorates (DProf).

The University of Cumbria delivers a range of postgraduate research degrees, so you can ensure your programme of work matches your interest and ambitions:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD): A doctoral-level award assessed through a research thesis and oral defence.

Alternative Format PhD: A doctoral programme where the body of work to be assessed is in a format other than the traditional single volume thesis.

PhD by Art Practice: A doctoral programme where the body of work to be assessed comprises a negotiated set of research outcomes mediated by individual creative and art practice.

PhD by Publication: A doctoral-level award comprising an assessment of a student’s published works within a related field of study. In order to be eligible for consideration, applicants must be a University of Cumbria alumni and graduate of at least five years' standing and have already obtained a master’s degree or show evidence of having received research training or equivalent.


  • Benefit from excellent supervision by a supervisory team.
  • Become a part of a dedicated Graduate School.
  • Have access to our research repository, networks, and facilities.
  • Have the opportunity for supervised involvement in teaching.
  • Have the option to study at our Ambleside, Carlisle or Lancaster campuses.

A Doctor in Philosophy (PhD) is awarded to students who undertake a substantial research project that impacts the future of their field of study, contributing new knowledge, techniques, and understanding.

For a traditional PhD, you will research a subject independently, supported by two supervisors and occasionally three if external specialist subject expertise is required. All supervisors provide advice and oversee students’ progress, usually through regular supervision meetings. If you are full-time you will be allocated 30 hours of contact time per year and if you are part-time 20 hours per year.

PhDs can potentially be undertaken in any subject the university has expertise in at doctorate level. PhDs can be undertaken full-time over a timeframe of 3-4 years, or part-time over 4-7 years.

Information for international students

At the University of Cumbria, we offer affordable tuition fees for international and EU students looking to study at one of our main four campuses. No matter your choice of course or career path, our International Team is here to support you.

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Fees and funding

UK students
International students

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • PhD
    part time
    84 months
    • Distance learningis available for this qualification
    full time
    48 months
    • Distance learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details

Course Enquiry Centre