Choosing a postgraduate degree

There's more than one way to undertake your postgraduate degree with us. Let us help you choose your path.

Postgraduate degrees are one of the most demanding and rewarding experiences in higher education. They offer you an area in which to further develop and specialise your skills in a chosen field or area of interest, allowing you to explore and solve problems while also contributing new scholarship or thought to your field. 

Types of degrees

Postgraduate degrees are typically divided into two different pathways - Postgraduate Taught and Postgraduate Research.

We offer the following types of postgraduate degrees, which will vary in their requirements regarding duration or the production, and length of, a dissertation. All will have a research component, but will vary in the balance between lecture and coursework and independent research.

The dissertation

The dissertation or final year project is a central part of any MA/MSc degree, and will be the full focus of a PhD degree.

While a Masters dissertation will require you to contribute your own analysis on a historical or currently exisiting issue relevant to your area, it will not necessarily require the depth and innovation of scholarship required of a PhD or MPhil dissertation. In this respect, MA/MSc research can often be seen as a building point for later doctoral research, or as a final degree within itself. 

Our postgraduate taught degrees

MA

Our MA (Master of Arts) degrees are awarded primarily in the humanities and creative arts fields, and range from Fine Art to Creative Writing and History.

They are typically one year full-time, and two years part-time, and balance intensive research with a lecture or module component. Most of these degrees will culminate in an end of year project or dissertation.

MSc

Our MSc (Master of Science) degrees are awarded primarily in the health, social and life sciences - such as biology, geography or psychology. 

They are typically one year full-time, and two years part-time, and balance intensive research with a lecture or module component. Most of these degrees will culminate in an end of year project or dissertation.

Our postgraduate research degrees

MPhil

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 20,000 words (though final length can vary depending on the subject). This falls within the description for degrees awarded at Level 7 and is drawn directly from the 2008 QAA framework document.

PhD

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.

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.

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.

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.

Choose your specialist area

Once you have decided which level of pathway you'd like to pursue, you need to choose a specialist area in which to focus. We have a large number of research areas and specialisms at Bath Spa to suite a number of interests. 

Find our more on our Research Areas page, or explore our schools of study to find out more about individual departments.

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