Research Degrees

Considering applying to Bath Spa University for a research degree? Please contact an academic representative first – you'll be able to discuss your proposed project and potential supervision arrangements.

Before you apply

We require you to contact an appropriate academic to discuss your situation and research proposal before submitting a full application. The academic contacted must be named in the application form.

For help in finding an academic, please see the Choosing a Research Degree webpage.

It is also asked that those wishing to apply should complete a research proposal form. If you are applying for a Professional Doctorate in Education, please complete the relevant research proposal form.

This will help to focus your proposed research in a specific direction, forcing answers to questions such as:

  • What is your research question?
  • What has been written/not written on the subject and why? How does your research fit into this?
  • What is your proposed methodology? What will your research methods be? What resources may be required?

The more closely considered the proposal, the higher the chances of success, and this is increased further still by having initial conversations with potential supervisors.

Please note: Applications for any one enrolment date will only be accepted up until the month prior. Applications for a March 2020 start should be received by 20 January 2020. Applications received past this point for a March start will not be considered.

If you have difficulties obtaining any documentation prior to your application, or if you have any queries, please email pgradmissions@bathspa.ac.uk.


One date is currently available for a 2019/20 start:

  • 1 March 2020

We are also accepting applications for a 2020/21 start, with October 2020 currently available.

We recommend that you submit your application at least six to eight weeks before your intended start date. 

Along with the application, you must provide: 

  • A research proposal form - or if you are applying for the Professional Doctorate in Education, the following research proposal form.
  • Copies of your degree certificates (i.e. BA, MA, MSc - not GCSE, A-level, Higher, Advanced Higher).
  • Transcripts of your results.
  • A sample of your work (for example, a dissertation produced for a Master's level course).
  • International students should provide a copy of their passport and any visa already held.
  • Applicants from a country not defined as 'Majority English-speaking' should provide a valid IELTS certificate. Please note that the minimum required for acceptance is an overall score of 6.5 with no lower than 5.5 in any one area. Required scores will vary by course, and will often be higher. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure compliance with these criteria before mounting an application. In Creative Writing the expectation is that candidates will achieve no lower than 7.0 overall and 6.0 in any one area. For creative practice degrees, this is lowered to no lower than 6.0 overall, and 5.5 in any one area. IELTS certificates will only be accepted if they were obtained in a test taken no more than two years prior to the point of application.

International applicants who have previously studied in the UK will be asked to produce any prior CAS letters upon applying.

  • You'll also need to arrange for two academic references to be provided. They must include the following:

    • Referees must be able to comment on your academic ability and suitability for your proposed research project (i.e. Directors of Study, Module Tutors, Course Tutors, Personal Tutors, Manuscript Tutors, Programme Directors).
    • The following reference request form must be filled out by each referee. The form is to be used as a guideline to show areas we would expect to be included within a reference.
    • Referees should ideally send their references directly to you, for you to upload later with your application documents. Referees can, however, send their references directly to pgradmissions@bathspa.ac.uk should they so wish.
    • References should be provided on institutional headered paper, or come directly from an academic email address, i.e. those ending with '.ac.uk'. 

Please remember to "Save" your progress as you proceed through the application portal.

Please note that interviews will not be granted, except in exceptional circumstances, to those applicants with outstanding documentation yet to be sent.


To begin your application, please select an option from below:


The degree of Doctor of Philosophy is awarded to candidates who have critically investigated and evaluated an approved topic and by doing so have made an independent and original contribution to knowledge.

It will contain a major research, constructive or reflective component, which in sum, or part, is worthy of publication. They also need to demonstrate an understanding of research methods appropriate to the chosen field.

The thesis produced will normally be between 40,000 and 80,000 words, depending on subject area and research topic. This falls within the description for degrees awarded at Level 8 and is drawn directly from the 2008 QAA framework document.

Apply now


The degree of Master of Philosophy is awarded to those candidates who have engaged in critical investigation and evaluation of an approved topic and have demonstrated an understanding of research methods appropriate to the chosen field through the submission of a thesis.

The thesis will be no more than 40,000 words (though final length can vary depending on the subject - i.e. 20,000 words for creative practice research). This falls within the description for degrees awarded at Level 7 and is drawn directly from the 2008 QAA framework document.

Apply now

PhD (Low Residency)

The Low-Residency PhD courses are structured programmes limited to specific subjects and open only to international students.

We are currently accepting applications in:

Further information on our low-residency course in Creative Writing can be found on the course page.

Please note that this has specific deadlines for application, and it is the responsibility of the applicant to be aware of and adhere to these.

Apply now

PhD by Publication

The PhD by Publication is no less rigorous than the traditional route. No prior connection with the University is required, but the candidate must be an active researcher who has developed their skills to doctoral level.

They must demonstrate, through a critical commentary and either an extensive portfolio of creative work or publications, an independent and original contribution to knowledge. Research outputs may have been produced inside or outside academia, but must be available in the public domain.

Apply now

Professional Doctorate in Education

The EdD is designed for those who are already working in education in a range of contexts. The course is aimed at both professionals and practitioners who would like to advance their own professional development in the areas of research, policy, curriculum development, and professional practice. The course will benefit those looking to improve and develop their own practice, as well as institutional practice or policy.

For more information, and a list of specific course requirements please visit the course page.

Please note that this has specific deadlines and entry requirements for application, and it is the responsibility of the applicant to be aware of and adhere to these.

Apply now

If you have any questions regarding the application process, please email pgradmissions@bathspa.ac.uk.

Entry requirements

You’ll normally hold, as a minimum, a first or upper second class honours degree from a UK Higher Education Institution, or its equivalent. If you don’t have a relevant Master's degree, you’ll normally be required to undertake formal research training as part of your studies.

Registration period

Degree  Maximum time Minimum time
MPhil – Full-Time 36 months 18 months
MPhil - Part-Time 48 months 30 months
PhD - Full-Time 60 months 24 months
PhD - Part-Time 84 months 36 months

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