What is the difference between an MRes, MPhil, PhD and Professional Doctorate?
The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) requires your work to make an original contribution to knowledge in your field of study. You will be expected to show evidence of systematic study; and of independent, critical and original thinking; while your thesis should be worthy of publication in whole or part. A PhD thesis is up to 80,000 words in length and is the culmination of 3 years full-time or 6 years part-time study.
The Master of Philosophy (MPhil) requires a shorter period of study than the PhD, approximately 2 years full-time or 4 years part-time and conclude with a thesis of up to 40,000 words. The thesis should demonstrate your ability to undertake an appropriate research programme and to produce a critical analysis of existing knowledge in your field of study. The need for originality in the MPhil is less than what is required for the PhD.
Whilst the Professional Doctorate is equivalent to the PhD, it varies in two ways: 1) There is a considerable weighting given to a taught component which comprises an integral and key part of the programme, and the assessment of the taught component contributes directly towards the final award. 2) The thesis produced by Professional Doctorate students will make an original contribution to knowledge within the relevant area or areas of professional practice.
The Masters by Research (MRes) is an advanced postgraduate degree which can either be taken as a stand-alone qualification or as progression route into doctoral research. Unlike the MPhil, it has a taught component (60 credits of research methods modules), followed by a 120 credit thesis. The MRes also differs from a taught MA or MSc course by placing particular emphasis on the large research thesis and fewer taught modules.