Apply for a Research Degree

The Graduate School

Apply for a Research Degree

Make sure you apply for our exciting research degrees on a wide variety of topics before the deadlines.
On this page

Before you apply it is important to consider carefully the area and type of research you wish to undertake as this will form the basis of your application.

Doctorate Routes and Duration

Master's degree (MRes)
Full-time – 12 months
Part-time – 24 months
Full-time – 12 months
Part-time – 24 months
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Professional Doctorate (PD)

Full-time – 3 years
Part-time – 5 years

Entry Requirements

Normal entry requirements are a Master's degree or first or upper second class honours degree from a UK or overseas University.

Applicants holding qualifications other than those above shall be considered on their merits and in relation to the nature and scope of the proposed research programme.

You will apply for either an MSc/PhD or MRes/PhD with transfer to PhD dependent on satisfactory progress at around 12 months.

English Language Requirements

An IELTS (or equivalent) at 6.5 overall and 6.5 in each component/element is required for Research based degrees.

In order to study successfully for a research degree, it is essential that you can speak and write English fluently and that you are able to apply this in an academic setting (e.g. writing academic essays).

Our Pre-Sessional English Programme (PSP) is available for students who have not yet reached the required English level and those who would like to improve their language competency.

Your application

What to include

  • Two appropriate academic references to ensure that we can independently assess your academic strengths and weaknesses in relation to your proposed topic. They should not be references which you have used for a previous application and should be from people who have actually taught you or supervised your work at Master's/Honours level.  For Professional Doctorate applications, it is acceptable for one of your academic references to come from the workplace
  • Copy of degree certificate(s) together with a transcript or mark sheet for each degree qualification
  • Certificate of English Language competency score of IELTS 6.5 in all aspects of the test or equivalent for applicants whose first language is not English
  • Completion of Academic Progression Form as well as provision of previous Tier 4 study visas, if you are applying as an International applicant and have previously studied in the UK.

Applications should also include a draft proposal, or a short summary to indicate the potential area of research.  Each Academic School reserves the right to process any draft proposal through Turnitin (the leading academic plagiarism checker), as part of the process in considering your application. 

When to Apply

The admission points for research degree applicants are October and February of each academic session

The application deadline for October 2018 entry has now passed, although some Schools may allow a later application, if it has been negotiated with the School by the applicant. If you select the February option on either application or submission, the system will automatically default your application to 1 February 2019 entry.

The next entry points are:

  • If you wish to be considered for October 2019 entry, you must submit a complete application by 1 May 2019.
  • If you wish to be considered for February 2020 entry, you must submit a complete application by 30 September 2019

If you are applying for the Doctorate of Physiotherapy (DPT), both Home/EU and International applications must be submitted by 1 July 2019, if you wish to be considered for the January 2020 cohort.

If you are applying as an International Applicant, please ensure that you meet the University's minimum English language requirements prior to applying. 

If you receive a conditional offer, please allow sufficient time for meeting those conditions, prior to enrolment. If you have any questions about this, please contact University Admissions on

Apply Online - Research Degrees

What happens next?

After submitting your application to the University, it may take up to 4 weeks before you will be contacted. This is to allow the Academic School time to look through your application and identify a potential supervisory team.

It may be helpful to contact an academic member of staff to discuss your research proposal as they will be able to advise you on its merits and whether or not the University could possibly support you.

Contact the Graduate School

If you would like more information or have any further questions, please email or phone +44 (0) 1224 262209.

Additional Information

Academic Technology Approval Scheme

Do I Need an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) Certificate?

An ATAS clearance certificate is a mandatory requirement for some Postgraduate Research, Postgraduate master's and some Undergraduate students in science, engineering or technology disciplines.

You do not need an ATAS Certificate if you are a UK/EU/EEA national.

Should the course you choose to study at Robert Gordon University require an ATAS certificate, we will notify you.

Compulsory PgCert Research Methods Course

You must undertake the Postgraduate Certificate (PgCert) Research Methods course at the same time as your research degree studies, this is a compulsory requirement. The module is delivered by a combination of seminars and private study, and provides you with an excellent opportunity to network with fellow peers. It will help to underpin your research degree by assisting with the registration process, transfer application to PhD (if appropriate), as well as strengthening key research skills.
PgCert Research Methods

Part-time Study

Part-time study is available and will take on average 5 years to complete. It is recommended a part-time student should dedicated a minimum of 18 hours a week of study.  The minimum period of part-time registration is 21 months for MSc or MRes and 42 months for PhD.

How am I supported?

You are supported through your supervisory team, which is led by a Principal Supervisor who has responsibility for supervising and supporting your research on a regular and frequent basis.
In addition the supervisory team will normally include 1 or 2 other individuals, both internal or external, who will provide you with a range of expertise and knowledge to support your studies.

What training opportunities are available?

Both the Graduate School and your host School will offer a number of relevant training events during the course of your studies. If you are based at a distance, this may be offered via Wimba Classroom.
Additional training opportunities are available through the Department for the Enhancement of Learning, Teaching and Assessment (DELTA).  Courses are offered on teaching and demonstrating as well as viva preparation and are available to enrolled/registered research degree students of the University. 

Staff Applications for MSc/MRes/PhD

Staff applications are currently closed and more information on a revised application process will be provided shortly.

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