Research Degrees at Coventry

All research degrees at the University are mapped to the UK QAA Frameworks for Higher Education Qualifications in England and Wales.

All candidates applying for a research degree must:

  • Meet the Academic entry requirements as defined by Section 4 of the Academic Regulations or those defined within the programme specification;
  • Have sufficient command of the English language to be able to complete satisfactorily the programme of study and to prepare and defend the thesis in English. All applicants where English is not their first Language must meet the English Language requirements as defined in Section 4 of the University's Academic Regulations.


Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

FHEQ Level 8

Registration Period Expected Maximum
Full-time 36 months 48 months
Part-time 60 months 72 Months


Coventry University offers a suite of programmes for research students. We run a broad portfolio of doctoral training centres which are located within our research centres and provide a high-quality research culture and environment to support a vibrant community of Postgraduate Researchers. 

We offer a number of doctorate opportunities to study for a PhD within one of our Research Centres.  All Postgraduate Researchers will have access to a Supervisory team and be part of the University’s ever growing research community, both within the Research Centres and across the University.


FHEQ Level 8

Registration Period Expected Maximum
Full-time 36 months 48 months
Part-time 60 months 72 Months


We also offer a range of business and industry-focused and located research degrees. These are termed professional doctorates. 

We currently offer:

  • Professional Engineering Doctorate (EngD), with pathways in defined subject areas:
    • Mechanical Engineering;
    • Automotive Engineering;
    • Oil and Gas Engineering.
  • Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)
  • Professional Doctor of Health Studies (DHS)

Please note - Coventry University’s Professional Doctorate in Engineering (EngD) is currently under redevelopment and will not be available to enrol on until January 2022. If you are interested in joining the programme or want to make any enquiries regarding application to our EngD programme starting in January 2021 please contact the Recruitment and Admissions team on

Professional doctorates are designed for business and industry professionals and are mainly targeted at those with the experience and roles to facilitate impactful change within their organisations as a result of their research. 

Questions can arise about the differences between professional doctoral degrees and traditional degrees such as Doctor of Philosophy (PhD).

To clarify: a doctorate is an umbrella term for the highest degree awarded by a university. All UK doctoral students have to carry out original research or the application of existing knowledge in a new context. All doctoral graduates are considered experts in their field and can use the title ‘doctor’. In professional and practice-based doctorates the research might also have a direct effect on organisational policy and change, as well as improving personal practice.  

The main difference between a PhD and a professional doctorate in a nutshell is that the research in a professional doctorate “directly relates to and is rooted in the researcher’s professional practice” (Mellors-Bourne et al: 2016)   

You can find out more specific information of types of doctoral degree in the Doctoral degree characteristics (QAA, 2015)

Coventry University professional doctorates combine taught elements which are designed to enhance research skills and capabilities, with original research which forms the basis of a doctoral portfolio.  This is presented in a thesis at the end of the degree and is examined through an interview by subject experts (who can be from a university and from a relevant business/industry/third sector organisation).

PhD by Publication

Coventry University’s new PhD by Publication programme is designed for active researchers who have already produced a number of publications but have not been awarded a PhD. This route differs from a ‘traditional’ PhD as it allows you to use existing publications to form a research portfolio.

The PhD by Publication route offers two pathways:

  1. Candidates who have a complete set of existing outputs from previous research will be enrolled on a two-year pathway. You will receive supervision to identify the outputs for your portfolio and complete the PhD submission process.
  2. Candidates who have a small amount of existing outputs from previous research will be enrolled on a three-year pathway, where you will work with a supervisor to undertake further scholarly or practice-based work and/or produce further outputs before submission.
Pathway 1
Registration Period Expected Maximum
Part-time 24 months 36 Months
Pathway 2
Registration Period Expected Maximum
Part-time 36 months 48 Months



FHEQ Level 7

Registration Period Expected Maximum
Full-time 12 months 24 months
Part-time 24 months 36 Months


Coventry University offers a suite of programmes for research students. We run a broad portfolio of doctoral training centres which are located within our research centres and provide a high-quality research culture and environment to support a vibrant community of Postgraduate Researchers. 

As a Masters by Research Postgraduate Researcher you will be engaged with research with academic support form Supervisory Team.  Enabled required to engage with Doctoral Training opportunities to support your development as a researcher.  This is an ideal stepping stone from Undergraduate study before transferring to or applying for a Doctoral programme.

Doctoral Programmes using Distance Learning model

Transnational Research Degree Framework

The University’s Transnational Research Degree Framework allows the development of subject specific doctorate (PhD) programmes to be developed. Programmes are structured doctorates which incorporate taught modules, doctoral training and development workshops and cumulative submission of research submissions.

Programmes may be developed with a host institution or run independently allowing for Postgraduate Researchers (PGRs) to study remotely from the University. Programmes operated with host institutions may be limited recruitment, all applicants will be required to meet normal Doctorate Entry requirements as defined in Section 4 of the Academic Regulations.

They are often developed with one of our existing international academic partnerships. These programmes are designed specifically for academic staff, working in overseas universities who wish to develop their research skills part-time and at distance by undertaking a rigorous but well-supported programme of research and training and development within a virtual global community of practice.

Transnational Research Degree Programmes

Hosted Programmes

Hosted Transnational Research Degrees may have limited recruitment and will only be advertised in agreement with the Host Institution.

Emirates Aviation University
  • Applied Mathematics – Hosted by Emirates Aviation University, limited recruitment
  • Management - Hosted by Emirates Aviation University, limited recruitment

Standalone Distance Learning Programmes

PhD in Global Education

The PhD in Global Education has been developed for professionals working as educators in various settings around the world, with a key focus on the global nature of education. It’s a programme for those who want to gain and use research skills in order to improve practice in their settings, from a background of understanding global educational issues.

The online PhD is a structured doctorate, which means it has key milestones en route. Throughout the programme you will learn more about yourself as a professional and how research can enhance your day to day work. The purpose, as with any doctorate, is to develop a substantial piece of original research, with a specific focus on research that has clear relevance to policy and/or practice. The main aim of the programme is to enable you to acquire advanced knowledge and a critically reflective understanding of a range of research skills. This knowledge will be related to a specialist field of study and applied within a professional context, in order to contribute to developing professional understanding and practice.

The programme aims to develop reflective, well-informed and competent researchers able to support professional colleagues and others undertaking research. Its key features are:

  • An approach which allows participants who may be working full-time in education to take advantage of a structured submission process, according to an agreed timetable, thus supporting timely submission;
  • A pathway with Masters modules to enable participants without a Masters to gain skills and confidence in research and clarity of focus;
  • An approach which allows for innovative assessment with the consent of the supervisory team;
  • Structured support workshops online as part of the Coventry Doctoral College research community.

International Integrated Doctorate

Note: This Framework is not open to general applications and has restricted admission.

The International Integrated Doctorate Framework is a combined offer of a four year Doctorate (PhD). The Framework provides a robust support for international doctoral candidates wishing to undertake research leading to a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) Award. The Framework has restricted admission and is not open to general applicants. The Framework has specific entry requirements to those for the standard PhD and integrates:

  1. Academic English for research;
  2. Advanced critical thinking research skills training;
  3. Doctoral research project.
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