Course details

Study options

Full-time: 2/3 years, Part-time: 6 years †

Course level




Start date

See below †


Markeaton Street, Derby Campus

Course description

Challenge your thinking, develop original ideas and realise your potential by completing your research degree at Derby.

Employable Graduates – we’re ranked 15th highest amongst all UK universities and 12th for English institutions with 96% of graduates in work or further study within six months of completing their degree: HESA 2016.

Research is an important component of academic life. It plays a major role in supporting what we teach to our students and directly helps organisations to solve real-world problems.

Research at Derby is underpinned by our strong industry connections within the region and active international links with organisations such as CERN, Roche Pharmaceuticals and Rolls-Royce among others. As a result, we ensure that our research contributes directly to the development and wellbeing of the region as well as the body of knowledge in the scientific community at large.

Our Department of Electronics, Computing and Mathematics has a research-active, focused, dedicated and committed team of staff who are very keen to work with you as you pursue your own research interests.

One of the Department’s core aims is to provide research-related opportunities for widening participation in higher education. Through its collaborations and scholarly activities, it also seeks to make an impact and raise its reputation for excellent research regionally, nationally and internationally.

Choose your specialism

Available research areas for study include:

Electrical and Electronics project areas

Entertainment Engineering project areas

Computing project areas

Routes to your MPhil or PhD

You can undertake a negotiated programme of research leading to the award of either a Master of Philosophy degree or a Doctor of Philosophy degree.  These higher degrees are awarded in recognition of a successful period of research training normally culminating in the production of a thesis.

There are three routes to a higher degree:


This is designed for graduates who want to gain a strong knowledge and understanding of the subject and then take the discipline forward through an approved programme of original research.

New Route PhD

This route is for recently qualified graduates with good honours degrees who are keen to progress immediately to a research experience in their preparations for a career in which the ability to undertake research will play a key role.

Traditional Route PhD

This route entails a programme of research which normally takes three years of full-time study. You can choose to take it part-time over a period of up to six years. The traditional route enables capable and qualified individuals to pursue an original research investigation into a chosen topic within a field of enquiry.

Read more about our research degrees.

How you will learn

You will be allocated a Director of Studies and one or two second supervisors who will form your 'supervisory team'. As a research student supported by your supervisory team, you will encounter many different experiences of working in the ‘real-world’. These experiences are unique to the research you are conducting and the people and organisations with whom you and your team are collaborating.

All research students find themselves involved in a variety of project roles. These could be instigated by your supervisor or you might create a project yourself to contribute towards your research. If you are sponsored by an industrial partner, this also presents many work-related opportunities for you to explore.

The processes of research equip students with important transferable skills such as being critical, evaluating and synthesising results, writing technical reports, reporting complex data, communicating outcomes to different audiences, project management and negotiation. All of these skills will make you a valued employee and will ensure that you are work-ready at the end of your research.

As a research student, you will become part of our Department of Electronics, Computing and Mathematics. Office accommodation is provided on campus, as is the necessary computing equipment.

Entry requirements

You will normally hold a first or second class honours degree, an equivalent qualification or relevant experience.

If your first language is not English we must be satisfied that you have the necessary command of the language to undertake the research investigation. We will require IELTS 7.0, unless you can demonstrate an adequate command of English through the recent successful completion of an award bearing programme from a UK university. If you are an overseas applicant you may be required to complete a course in English as a Foreign Language before being enrolled as a research student.

Fees and funding

Find out more about fee information for our research degrees.

How to apply

Postgraduate research students can enrol at the University of Derby any time between August and May.

All enrolments are arranged by appointment once your application is successful. Please be aware that it can take between six and twelve weeks to consider a complete application.

Information for applicants


With the prestige of a PhD on your CV, you can progress in your present job or seek new career opportunities in a range of areas such as research and teaching in universities, industrial research centres or publicly funded bodies.  You can also enter management at a senior level within industrial companies.

Contact us

Research Office +44 (0)1332 591060

If you need any more information from us, eg on courses, accommodation, applying, car parking, fees or funding, please contact us and we will do everything we can to help you.

Contact us Contact us

† Additional information about your studies

The MPhil is studied over 2 years. You can study the PhD for 3 years full-time, or 6 years part-time. The new route PhD is studied over 4 years.

You can enrol between August and May.

Teaching hours

Like most universities, we operate extended teaching hours at the University of Derby, so contact time with your lecturers and tutors could be anytime between 9am and 9pm. Your timetable will usually be available on the website 24 hours after enrolment on to your course.

Please note: Our courses are refreshed and updated on a regular basis. If you are thinking about transferring onto this course (into the second year for example), you should contact the programme leader for the relevant course information as modules may vary from those shown on this page.