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.

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.

Research Degree Routes and Duration

Master's degree
(MRes or MSc by Research)

Full time

  • Minimum - 12 months
  • Recommended - 12 months
  • Maximum - 24 months

Part time

  • Minimum - 21 months
  • Recommended - 24 months
  • Maximum - 30 months


Full time

  • Minimum - 18 months
  • Recommended - 24 months
  • Maximum - 36 months

Part time

  • Minimum - 30 months
  • Recommended - 36 months
  • Maximum - 48 months

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) / Professional Doctorate (PD)

Full time

  • Minimum - 30 months
  • Recommended - 36 months
  • Maximum - 48 months

Part time

  • Minimum - 42 months
  • Recommended - 60 months
  • Maximum - 72 months

Entry Requirements

Normal entry requirements are a Master's degree or first or upper second class honours degree in the relevant subject discipline 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 undertake a research degree, it is essential that you can read and interpret academic journal articles, communicate effectively and write at a doctorate level.

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 Student Route study visas, if you are applying as an International applicant and have previously studied in the UK.

Applications should also include a research proposal 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. Any application which misses the appropriate deadline will automatically be considered for the next relevant entry point.

If you are applying for the Doctorate of Physiotherapy (DPT), Scottish applications must be submitted by mid-October, if you wish to be considered for the January 2022 cohort. Applications for both EU and International applicants are now closed.

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

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.


If you have a question about applying for a Research Degree, eligibility or entry requirements, please contact University Admissions:

If you would like more information or have any other questions about Research Degrees, please email

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 Development Course

You must undertake the Postgraduate Certificate (PgCert) Researcher Development course at the same time as your research degree, as this is a compulsory requirement. There are two modules, delivered individually at an appropriate time in your study journey and attendance on campus for each module delivery is essential, regardless of study mode. Each 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 from MRes/PhD to PhD (if appropriate), as well as strengthen your core and professional research skills.

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. 

Cookie Consent