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Research Degrees at Coventry

All research degrees at the University are mapped to the UK QAA Frameworks for Higher Education Qualifications in England and Wales.

All candidates applying for a research degree must:

  • Meet the Academic entry requirements as defined by Section 4 of the Academic Regulations or those defined within the programme specification;
  • Have sufficient command of the English language to be able to complete satisfactorily the programme of study and to prepare and defend the thesis in English. All applicants where English is not their first language must meet the English Language requirements as defined in Section 4 of the University's Academic Regulations.
  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

    FHEQ Level 8

    Registration Period Expected Maximum
    Full-time 36 months 48 months
    Part-time 72 months 84 Months

    Coventry University offers a suite of programmes for research students. We run a broad portfolio of doctoral training centres which are located within our research centres and provide a high-quality research culture and environment to support a vibrant community of Postgraduate Researchers. 

    We offer a number of doctorate opportunities to study for a PhD within one of our Research Centres.  All Postgraduate Researchers will have access to a Supervisory team and be part of the University’s ever growing research community, both within the Research Centres and across the University.

  • FHEQ Level 8

    Registration Period Expected Maximum
    Full-time 36 months 48 months
    Part-time 60 months 84 Months


    We also offer a range of business and industry-focused and located research degrees. These are termed professional doctorates.

    We currently offer:

    Professional doctorates are designed for business and industry professionals and are mainly targeted at those with the experience and roles to facilitate impactful change within their organisations as a result of their research.

    Questions can arise about the differences between professional doctoral degrees and traditional degrees such as Doctor of Philosophy (PhD).

    To clarify: a doctorate is an umbrella term for the highest degree awarded by a university. All UK doctoral students have to carry out original research or the application of existing knowledge in a new context. All doctoral graduates are considered experts in their field and can use the title ‘doctor’. In professional and practice-based doctorates the research might also have a direct effect on organisational policy and change, as well as improving personal practice.

    The main difference between a PhD and a professional doctorate in a nutshell is that ;the research in a professional doctorate“directly relates to and is rooted in the researcher’s professional practice” (Mellors-Bourne et al: 2016)

    You can find out more specific information of types of doctoral degree in the Doctoral degree characteristics (QAA, 2015)

    Coventry University professional doctorates combine taught elements which are designed to enhance research skills and capabilities, with original research which forms the basis of a doctoral portfolio. This is presented in a thesis at the end of the degree and is examined through an interview by subject experts (who can be from a university and from a relevant business/industry/third sector organisation).

  • Coventry University’s PhD by Publication programme is designed for active researchers who have already produced a number of publications but have not been awarded a PhD. This route differs from a ‘traditional’ PhD as it allows you to use existing publications to form a research portfolio.

    The PhD by Publication route offers two pathways:

    1. Candidates who have a complete set of existing outputs from previous research will be enrolled on a two-year pathway. You will receive supervision to identify the outputs for your portfolio and complete the PhD submission process.
    2. Candidates who have a small amount of existing outputs from previous research will be enrolled on a three-year pathway, where you will work with a supervisor to undertake further scholarly or practice-based work and/or produce further outputs before submission.
    Pathway 1
    Registration Period Expected Maximum
    Part-time 24 months 36 Months
    Pathway 2
    Registration Period Expected Maximum
    Part-time 36 months 48 Months
  • FHEQ Level 7

    Registration Period Expected Maximum
    Full-time 12 months 24 months
    Part-time 24 months 48 Months

    Coventry University offers a suite of programmes for research students. We run a broad portfolio of doctoral training centres which are located within our research centres and provide a high-quality research culture and environment to support a vibrant community of Postgraduate Researchers. 

    As a Masters by Research Postgraduate Researcher you will be engaged with research with academic support from your supervisory team. You are required to engage with researcher development activities to support your growth as a researcher. This is an ideal stepping stone from Undergraduate study before transferring to or applying for a doctoral programme.

  • Structured PhD Framework 

    Coventry University offers Structured PhDs which are developed as standalone programmes within the Structured PhD Framework. Programmes are delivered entirely remotely and include a suite of research skills development workshops and subject specific elements. 

    Structured PhDs are designed to be delivered to both cohorts of candidates and individual applicants to develop a supportive research culture.  Structured PhDs offer a scaffolded and supportive delivery approach to support distance learners on their journey to gaining a Doctorate.

    IMPORTANT - The Structured PhD is delivered remotely and there is no requirement for postgraduate researchers to attend Coventry University campus. As such the University are unable to sponsor International applicants for a study visa under UKVI rules. A CAS will therefore not be issued for International applicants on these programmes.

    Structured PhD in Finance and Governance - Apply

    The structured PhD in Finance and Governance is an on-line, part-time, programme aimed at professionals and academics who want to attain the highest academic degree in the fields of finance, sustainable finance, financial technology, corporate governance/finance, financial fraud and financial markets. This programme responds to the increasing demand for remote PhD studies from the regional hubs and partner institutions of Coventry University as well as individuals.   

    Postgraduate Researchers (PGRs) will be guided by a team of subject experts – the director of studies and supervisors through the entire course of the PhD study. During this programme, PGRs will carry out research on a chapter-by-chapter basis, starting with a pilot chapter, but under one umbrella theme, reinforcing their research capabilities through the steps of academic study until they become subject experts themselves in one specific field.   

    PGRs will learn essential analytical skills and topical knowledge through mandatory taught units such as econometrics and contemporary topics in finance. The PGRs will also have opportunities to attend online methodology training, workshops and other PGR events. 

    PGRs in this programme will have an access to world-class online databases and analytical software to complete their research fully remotely. 

    On achieving their PhD, PGRs will be prepared for career development in academia, business, government, public/private research institutes or other sectors requiring PhD-level knowledge and skills in finance and governance. 

    Structured PhD in Global Education - Apply

    The PhD in Global Education has been developed for professionals working as educators in various settings around the world, with a key focus on the global nature of education. It’s a programme for those who want to gain and use research skills in order to improve practice in their settings, from a background of understanding global educational issues.

    The online PhD is a structured doctorate, which means it has key milestones en route. Throughout the programme you will learn more about yourself as a professional and how research can enhance your day to day work. The purpose, as with any doctorate, is to develop a substantial piece of original research, with a specific focus on research that has clear relevance to policy and/or practice. The main aim of the programme is to enable you to acquire advanced knowledge and a critically reflective understanding of a range of research skills. This knowledge will be related to a specialist field of study and applied within a professional context, in order to contribute to developing professional understanding and practice.

    The programme aims to develop reflective, well-informed and competent researchers able to support professional colleagues and others undertaking research. Its key features are:

    • An approach which allows participants who may be working full-time in education to take advantage of a structured submission process, according to an agreed timetable, thus supporting timely submission;
    • A pathway with Masters modules to enable participants without a Masters to gain skills and confidence in research and clarity of focus;
    • An approach which allows for innovative assessment with the consent of the supervisory team;
    • Structured support workshops online as part of the Coventry Doctoral College research community.

    Structured PhD in Data Science and Artificial Intelligence - Apply

    Data science refers to understanding, processing, and extracting value from large amounts of data. It requires multidisciplinary skills including traditional computer science, mathematics, and statistics, and often intersects with business aptitude and entrepreneurship. Artificial Intelligence is a branch of computer science for enabling computers to perform tasks traditionally thought to require human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, and decision-making. Many recent advances in Artificial Intelligence have come through the leveraging of data science through biologically inspired processes, such as neural networks and evolutionary algorithms. AI topics keep finding diverse applications: they are being applied in a very wide range of real-life sectors, such as manufacturing, marketing, pharmaceutics, finance, transportation, medicine, and management; and are influencing other academic fields including natural sciences, social sciences, and even mathematics and the computational sciences themselves.

    This programme allows a postgraduate researcher (PGR) to develop subject-specific research expertise, knowledge, and skills; building on the PGRs’ undergraduate and/or masters-level studies in the area. It offers a challenging, critical, and advanced level education, which includes researcher development activities and training. The researcher will make a significant and original contribution to their field, culminating with the submission of a thesis. This Structured PhD programme is specifically designed for to be taken remotely, with all interaction online. It has been developed for use by both international postgraduate researchers who are registered at a partner institution, as well as individual applicants. In either case, PGRs will be supported through online supervision by specialist supervisors at Coventry University, possibly supplemented with local supervisors at a partner institution, if appropriate. The PGR candidates on the Structured PhD programme will be supported by online researcher development activities. These include technical discipline specific training units and researcher development workshops to support research skills, professional development and employability. These activities are delivered online by subject experts and active researchers who can share best practice, knowledge and experience.

    Structured PhD in Physical Education and Youth Sport - Apply

    The online PhD in Physical Education and Youth Sport is a structured PhD designed to offer suitably qualified graduates and experienced professionals the opportunity to develop their academic knowledge, skills and qualifications through evidence based critical debate and reflective professional practice related to Physical Education and Youth Sport.

    Using research to change yourself and society, this programme is ideal for those looking to undertake a PhD whilst working within Education, School or community Sport settings, professional sports academies, or for those working in grassroots sports coaching as volunteers but wanting to progress their career, wherever you are in the world.

    The PhD aims to develop the capability of individuals to work within a professional context whilst researching and theorising their own practice in schools, sport and exercise settings, or other contexts related to physical education and youth sport. Students will be colleagues who construct their identities as practitioners, researchers, leaders, coaches and/or policy makers, and your prime motivation will be to generate professional knowledge, applying this to practice, and ultimately advancing your career.

    You will have the opportunity to build up, through the degree, a substantial piece of original research, focused on Physical Education and Youth Sport as a pathway for positive change during childhood, and across the life-course that has real relevance to policy and/or practice

    The study of sport and exercise remains a rapidly expanding field with both academic and professional relevance. Over the past 5 years there has been a diversification of the employment opportunities and roles undertaken by Sport and Exercise Science Graduates leading to a need for postgraduate qualifications in the discipline. This has arisen because of an increased awareness of the benefits of physical activity for health, the creation and ongoing support for the UK School Sport Premium by successive governments and ring-fenced UK funding via the sugar tax. In a time of increasing interest in health and well-being, this programme is designed to enable practitioners and professionals to understand how they can contribute to this important agenda.

    Structured PhD in Business and Management - Apply

    The Structured PhD in Business Management (e.g. including sustainable supply chains, circular economy, data and strategy, digital economy, data and society, macroeconomics and international finance, etc.) is a new mode of completing a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Master of Philosophy (MPhil) or Masters by Research at Distance. This framework responds to increased demand for a distance learning PhD provision from both Coventry University’s Transnational Education (TNE) partners and individual applicants, both in the UK and overseas, who would prefer to study their doctorate remotely. The Structured PhD develops postgraduate researchers’ (PGR) subject-specific research expertise, knowledge and skills. The programme builds on the PGRs’ undergraduate and/or masters-level studies by offering a challenging, critical and advanced level education, focused around researcher development activity, taught elements and a large independent research project leading to the submission of a thesis. The programme is specifically designed for both international postgraduate researchers who are registered at a partner institution, or individual applicants and is delivered completely online. PGRs will be supported remotely through supervision by a supervisory team which will include, if appropriate, a local supervisor at a partner institution. The Programme Team will contain a specialist in on-line supervision to advise and support the supervisory team. PGR candidates will be supported by a suite of subject specific online researcher development activity. Each online workshop is delivered by subject experts and active researchers to share best practice, knowledge and experience. This programme also includes online taught units to support research skills, professional development and employability. The taught units covered are in the areas of business models and processes, decision making and risk, international business and global strategy, and global business environment, evolutions and dynamics. The University has also developed a set of central online workshops available to all PGR, which have been developed around the Vitae Researcher Development framework. During a Structured PhD, PGRs can undertake advanced online training in a range of transferable skills, valued by employers, such as problems solving, teamwork, presentation, communication and analytical skills. Achievement of this award helps to prepare the PGR for a career in academia, research or work in sectors requiring postgraduate level skills.

    Structured PhD in Healthcare Sciences - Apply

    The structured PhD in Healthcare Sciences is a remote-learning programme delivered by the Research Centre for Healthcare and Communities. The CHC is an applied healthcare and service-user focused research centre, recognised for its contemporary focus, relevance to national and global priorities and mission to improve patient and service user experience and outcomes through the generation of new knowledge and information. Through excellence in research, innovation, enterprise, education, capacity building and leadership the centre supports the delivery of skilled, compassionate and effective healthcare and optimum patient outcomes.

    The CHC seeks to enable academics and clinical healthcare leaders, educators and researchers to develop and lead research across the NHS, international health systems, universities and private and public organisations, creating the key links between research, practice and education to make a difference to patient care at a local, national and global level. The CHR research priorities are built upon the World Health Organisation (WHO), UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and Professional Bodies, and are driven by health services policy and practice.

    Throughout their candidacy, Postgraduate Researchers (PGRs) will have the opportunity to hone a range of academic, practical, and transferable skills valued by employers, including problem-solving, reflective practice, written and oral communication skills, and analytical capabilities. These skills will be developed through workshops and career events, presenting at conferences and seminars and collaborating with academic staff, post-doctoral researchers, and other PGRs on projects.

    The structured PhD uses a cohort approach that enhances the PGR experience, through peer support, and professional networking with other health and social care professionals, leaders, managers and clinical scientists to promote a supportive research community and sense of belonging throughout the programme.

  • Note: This Framework is not open to general applications and has restricted admission.

    The International Integrated Doctorate Framework is a combined offer of a four year Doctorate (PhD). The Framework provides a robust support for international doctoral candidates wishing to undertake research leading to a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) Award. The Framework has restricted admission and is not open to general applicants. The Framework has specific entry requirements to those for the standard PhD and integrates:

    1. Academic English for research;
    2. Advanced critical thinking research skills training;
    3. Doctoral research project.
  • Coventry University is a global research university and has developed significant collaborations with highly-regarded research partners around the world. Many of our strategic partnerships are underpinned by a jointly developed cotutelle PhD programme which enables candidates to benefit from enrolment, supervisory support and awards from Coventry University, and one of our international partner institutions. Find out more about the Cotutelle PhD Programmes.

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