Research degrees

Research degrees at Kingston University

The Faculty offers three research degrees: MSc by Research, MPhil and PhD. These are potentially available in every School and subject area. Research students are a key and valued part of the activities of the Faculty: they help to build a strong research reputation, are vital members of the Research Centres of Excellence, assist in some of the labs, and occasionally help with teaching undergraduate students.

As a research student, you will be part of an ambitious Faculty that offers fantastic opportunities for inter-disciplinary research and experience, a great research student community, world-class facilities, and the opportunity to develop contacts with external organisations in close collaboration with the Faculty. You will also be able to take part in a broad programme of research training, present your work at conferences and poster days, and attend workshops, seminar series, lectures from external speakers, and other activities organised by the Faculty and the Research Centres.

All research degrees are programmes of independent study at the end of which you are expected to produce a dissertation or thesis and to defend this at a viva voce (oral) examination. The exact nature of this research will vary with the subject studied. Some may involve extensive fieldwork or laboratory testing, whilst others may be more theory-based.

The research areas covered by the Faculty include environmental change, geological and crustal processes, fire and explosion studies, computer vision and machine learning, molecular electronics and photonics, construction materials and sustainable technology, and mobile information and network technologies.

Currently there are around 100 research students across the Faculty, many of whom have successfully secured studentships, industry sponsorship or University and Faculty funding. Any opportunities for funding for research degrees are advertised on these pages when they become available.

Duration of research degrees

The length of time it takes to complete a research degree varies depending on the mode of attendance:

  • MSc by Research Full-time - 1 year
  • MSc by Research Part-time - 2 years
  • MPhil Full-time - 2 years (with optional additional 1 year writing up)
  • MPhil Part-time - 4 years (with optional additional 2 years writing up)
  • PhD Full-time - 3 years (with optional additional 1 year writing up)
  • PhD Part-time - 6 years (with optional additional 2 years writing up)
  • PhD by Publication/Portfolio - view special conditions >

Entry requirements

To apply for all of our research degrees you should have a first or upper second class honours degree in a relevant area. For consideration for a PhD, a masters degree and some research experience would be beneficial.

If you are not from a recognised majority English-speaking country, or have not studied at a UK university before, you will need to show proof of English language ability (IELTS minimum 6.5 overall (or equivalent)). Please visit the language requirements page for further information.

For further information on all the documentation needed to consider your application, please see our how to apply page. Please ensure that you have contacted a potential supervisor before applying, and that they have confirmed their support, as you are required to state their name on the application form.


We take great care to ensure that you're well supported with appropriately experienced, specialist supervisors. Your supervisory team will consist of:

  • First Supervisor (FS) - who has subject expertise relevant to your research project, and who will be your principal tutor over the course of your studies. You will be expected to meet with your First Supervisor at regular intervals.
  • Second Supervisor - who will support your First Supervisor by providing additional advice and expertise, perhaps from a different perspective or methodology.
  • Third Supervisor - if your project is inter-disciplinary, or needs further specialist support, you may have a third supervisor who may be external to Kingston University.

You can investigate potential supervisors in our research interests directory.


A tuition fee is charged each year. For more information about tuition fees, please see the research fees page. The amount shown is for one year of registration only. Note that the tuition fee is subject to annual review and may increase each year.

An additional bench fee will be charged each year: this is a contribution towards the resources for the project and other related costs. The amount charged varies, depending on the project; it will be stated in the offer letter sent to successful applicants.

Application deadline

Applications are accepted at any time of year, but there are three entry points: October, January and May.

We aim to process applications as quickly as possible, but it can sometimes take 4 to 6 weeks for all the paperwork to be in order. Only when all the required paperwork (including two references) has been received can it be submitted for Faculty approval. Once an application has been approved, the applicant is invited to interview; an offer can only be made after an applicant has had a successful interview.

Living costs

View an estimate of the living costs of studying in Kingston.

For more information about fees please view the research fees page. An additional bench fee will be charged and this will be discussed at interview.