Your path to independent research

Gaining a higher degree by research involves much more than undertaking a piece of original research. The University aims to provide you with sufficient training in research that you build the skills and knowledge needed to be able to undertake research on a totally independent basis in the future.



Registration is the formal process, following enrolment, by which the University satisfies itself that the title and aims of your research, plan of research, research training support, risk assessment and any ethical considerations are all satisfactory. You can register either for the Master of Philosophy or the Doctor of Philosophy. PGR students are strongly recommended to proceed to registration as soon as possible. You are expected to complete registration within twelve weeks of enrolment. Integrated PhD Students are expected to complete registration within six months of enrolment.

It is important to discuss all aspects of your Application for Registration with your supervisors before you complete it. Ask your supervisors to comment on your draft plan of work before you commit yourself to a final version.

Confirmation of Registration

Registration for either the Master of Philosophy or the Doctor of Philosophy is subject to formal confirmation. Confirmation is a process by which the College makes a formal assessment of your progress. Integrated PhD students following the successful completion of the Master of Research will be seeking confirmation for Doctor of Philosophy or Master of Philosophy.

Normally, it involves you preparing a Confirmation Report and taking part in a viva voce in which the work that you have undertaken so far is presented and subjected to constructive criticism. The Confirmation Report is not a long document but it is a critically important one. The assessor will have a good knowledge of the field and may be internal or external to the University. S/he is asked to assess the quality of the research undertaken so far and comment on the standard of the written submission.

The Director of Studies and the Second/Third supervisor(s) are expected to guide your approach to the preparation of the Confirmation Report and the viva voce. They will also need to advise you as to which degree you request as your confirmed registered award.  If you wish to change your registration from one award to another or from one mode to another, it is essential to secure the agreement of your supervisors.

The Viva Voce Examination

Candidates for the final examination for the higher degree by research must have satisfied the requirements for the confirmation of registration. The final examination for the Master of Philosophy and the Doctor of Philosophy has two stages.

The candidate is expected to be able to defend the validity of any contribution which is judged to be original. This constitutes a viva-voce examination.

Normally the viva-voce examination for all PGR students, including distance learners, takes place in Derby or Buxton. The task of the examiners is to establish that the candidate is able to demonstrate powers of critical thinking in discussion, showing a command of the discipline and articulating her/his views with clarity.

The Student Guide and Student Code of Practice set out what you can expect from us and what we will expect from you in return. It provides a framework within which we may progressively realise our corporate commitment to provide quality academic programmes and related support services, and secure their continuous improvement.

PGR regulations

Our PGR Regulations relate to postgraduate research (PGR) students working towards the awards of Master of Philosophy (MPhil) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) and independent research by thesis forming a part of professional or practice-based doctoral awards.

PhD Manager

The University of Derby has introduced PhD Manager to enhance both our PGR students and staff experience. This system is designed to be intuitive, with information in logical places and traffic light systems showing when alerts or deadlines are near.
The system can be accessed via: 

Alternatively, the system can be accessed via

The Roaches in Derbyshire

How to apply

Here's everything you need to know about how to join us for your postgraduate research degree.

How to apply for your research degreeHow to apply for your research degree