Postgraduate Factfile: Postgraduate Research Opportunities - Faculty of Science MPhil or PhD

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Course at a glance

Mode of study: Minimum study of 1 year Full Time & maximum 6 years Part Time
Start date: Options throughout year

Postgraduate open days

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Course overview

Supervision Arrangements and Progression Monitoring
All registered research students are allocated an appropriately experienced supervision team of either 2 or 3 supervisors who work as a team with the student.  One of these supervisors is appointed as Director of Studies with responsibility to supervise the student on a regular and frequent basis.
Progression monitoring is undertaken both formally and informally by the supervision team on an ongoing basis.  Each Faculty has procedures in place to monitor the progress of their research students. On an annual basis the University Research Degrees Committee will ask Faculties to monitor progress of all eligible postgraduate research students and provide a summative report to the Research Degrees Committee.
Registration Periods and Programme Routes
MPhil and PhD awards are offered on either a full-time or part-time basis.  The minimum and maximum registration periods for each programme route are as follows:
MPhil               Minimum   Maximum  
Full Time           12 months  24 months 
Part Time          24 months  48 months 
PhD (via progression from MPhil registration and including the period of MPhil registration) 
                        Minimum   Maximum
Full Time           33 months  48 months 
Part Time          45 months  84 months 
PhD (direct route not via MPhil) 
                        Minimum   Maximum
Full Time           24 months  36 months 
Part Time          36 months  72 months 
The programme route you are enrolled upon will depend upon your qualifications and experience. The majority of LJMU students initially register for MPhil/PhD and go on to complete their PhD via successful progression from MPhil. 

Training Opportunities
The University offers a comprehensive Research Student Induction programme, together with a varied programme of generic skills training opportunities. Attendance at Research Student Induction is a compulsory condition of research degree registration. Examples of other current generic skills training opportunities are as follows:

  • Advanced Presentation Skills
  • Applying for Ethical Approval
  • How to be an Effective Researcher
  • Poster Presentation/Design
  • Postgraduate Employability Skills
  • Project Management
  • Writing Skills in Creative Planning for Writing your Thesis 
  • Surviving the Viva
  • Speed Reading

In addition to this individual Faculties offer subject-specific research training depending on individual students’ needs.

Information for postgraduate research students can also be found on the Graduate School web site

How will I be assessed?

If you are studying for MPhil there is the possibility of progression to PhD, via a written and oral assessment in year 2 for full-time students and in year 3 for part-time students (the transfer stage).
The MPhil differs from the PhD in terms of the depth of study required and the extent of the personal contribution to knowledge. It requires competence in conducting an independent enquiry as well as in the use of appropriate research methods and techniques, and examiners will expect you to display satisfactory background knowledge of the subject.
To gain a PhD you are expected to show mastery of a special field and to have made an original personal contribution to the understanding of a problem, or to the advancement of knowledge, or to the generation of new ideas. Examiners will expect you to be at the forefront of understanding in your chosen topic.
Final examination for the awards of MPhil and PhD is by thesis and oral examination, following research on an approved topic.

Staff research interests

Supervision for the degrees of Master of Philosophy (MPhil) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) is available in the following subject areas:

Astrophysics Research Institute

Astrophysics including studies in Star Formation; Stellar Evolution and Stellar Populations; Time-Domain Astrophysics (particularly novae, supernovae and gamma-ray bursts); Galaxy Formation, Dynamics and Evolution (including AGN) and Galaxy Clusters.  A list of specific projects currently on offer can be found here.

Research Institute for Sport and Exercise Sciences

Sport and Exercise Sciences including Biomechanics; Brain and Behaviour; Cardiovascular Science; Chronobiology; Muscle Metabolism and Nutrition; Physical Activity Exercise and Health; Psychology and Development; Science of Football.

Research in Sport and Exercise Science covers broad and multi-disciplinary topics that range from the cell to the whole body, from the athlete to the patient and from the very young to the very old. Researchers seek to understand and generate new information related to both the impact of exercise on health and well-being as well as the way scientific knowledge can help optimise sports performance.

School of Natural Sciences and Psychology

Evolutionary Anthropology and Paleoecology including Fossil Mammal Research; Palaeoanthropology; Bioarchaeology; Forensic Anthropology; Primate Behaviour and Conservation; Ecology, Evolution and the Environment.

Psychology and Applied Psychology; including Cognition, Developmental and Educational Psychology, Health Psychology, Substance Abuse and Consciousness and Transpersonal Psychology

The School specialises in a variety of research areas and information regarding research currently being conducted within the School is available from here . The research interests of academic staff are also detailed on the school website. For research programmes in Psychology applicants must hold a qualification approved by the BPS for Graduate Basis for Registration.

School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences

The School conducts research in a diverse range of areas, from social science in Pharmacy Practice; through laboratory work in Drug Delivery and Materials Science; Biochemistry; Cell Biology; Genetics and Forensic Science; Microbiology; Toxicology; Medicinal Chemistry (for which the School houses specialised equipment) to QSAR and Modelling, using sophisticated computer programmes.

Much of the research conducted in the School is multi-disciplinary and there are strong links with industry and the NHS. Further information about current research can be found here

Map of UK

International applicants are required to demonstrate equivalent qualifications to the standard requirements for entry when applying for courses at LJMU.

Students must also demonstrate a proficiency in communicating through English, for example via an IELTS tests or equivalent.

Please note: UK visa restrictions mean that international students are only permitted to study on a full-time basis.

Please contact LJMU’s International Team by visiting for more information and advice.


LJMU has launched a range of generous international scholarships for students enrolling at the University.

These prestigious scholarships take the form of tuition fee waivers and are available for outstanding international students applying for taught postgraduate programmes and research degrees.

You will need to complete an additional application form in order to be considered for these scholarships. Full eligibility criteria and the online application form are available here:

Applications for these scholarships are welcomed from:

  • new international applicants
  • current LJMU international students hoping to progress onto postgraduate study at the University
  • LJMU international alumni

English for Postgraduate courses bursary

A bursary will be available for students who must complete the six week English for Postgraduate Studies course to improve their IELTS score by 0.5 prior to enrolling on their postgraduate taught or research degree at LJMU.

This bursary take the form of a tuition fee waiver, which will be deducted from your tuition fee when you enrol on your degree programme. You do not need to complete the online scholarship form in order to receive this bursary. Please note: If you are awarded this bursary you are not eligible to apply for an international scholarship.

English language requirements


6.5 (minimum of 5.5 in each component)

Entry requirements

Applicants for MPhil or MPhil/PhD should normally hold, or be expecting to obtain, a first or upper second-class Bachelor’s honours degree in a relevant subject; those applying for PhD direct must hold a Master’s degree with a research dissertation in a relevant subject, and have had research training directly related to the PhD project.  
Applicants holding qualifications other than those above will be considered on their merits. Appropriate research and previous experience will be taken into account.
International students must also hold an IELTS qualification of at least 6.5 or equivalent.  Please note that some Faculties may require higher scores in individual parts of the test.  Applicants are advised to check this with the relevant Faculty before applying.
Please note that because of UK visa restrictions, ‘International’ students wishing to come to the UK to study may only do so on a full-time basis.  However, if you are interested in doing a part-time research degree programme under some circumstances you may be able to do this from your own country and come to LJMU for short periods of approximately 6 weeks each year.

International students wishing to apply for research degree programmes in the following subjects will require ATAS (Academic Technology Approval Scheme) clearance:

  • Astrophysics
  • Biology
  • Molecular Biology, Biophysics and Biochemistry
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmacy

Please click here for guidance on how to apply.

All research degree registrations are subject to approval by the Faculty and University’s Research Degrees Committee.

Fees information

Fees for the 2014/15 academic year are as follows:

Full-time Home/EU Students:  £3732
Part-time Home/EU Students:  £1886
Full-time International Students:  £12000 (Band 2)
Part-time International Students:  £6000 (Band 2)

Note 1: students from the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands will pay the same fees as International students.

Note 2:  in exceptional circumstances some Faculties may charge bench fees and applicants are advised to check this with the relevant Faculty when applying.

Financial support

Securing funding is one of the main hurdles you may have to face when considering postgraduate research.  However, there is help available and information about sources of funding is available from the Graduate School website.  Please click here for details.  In addition to this the Faculty you are applying to may have information about locally available funding opportunities.

Advice and Support at LJMU

LJMU employs a team of staff that are experts in fees and funding who can offer advice based upon your personal circumstances.  You can contact them on 0151 904 6056/6057 or via for guidance and support.

Click here for information relating to Funding and Support.

How to apply

Application and Selection

What happens next?
Your application will be sent automatically to the Faculty Admissions Hub for processing. You will receive an acknowledgement of receipt of your application and it will be considered by the relevant Postgraduate Research Admissions Tutor. We will ask your academic referees for a reference and you may be asked to provide further information or be invited to interview. If you are successful a formal offer letter will be sent to you that will explain any conditions of acceptance.  If your application is unsuccessful you will be notified of this. 
Initial enquiries should be addressed to the Faculty Admissions Hub where they will be logged and forwarded to the relevant research contact for further information at the academic department where you wish to undertake the research.

Contact Information

Sarah Lightfoot - Information Officer

0151 231 2153 or


Faculty Admissions Hub

Tel:  +44(0) 151 231 2888

Please Note: The University reserves the right to cancel, suspend or modify in any way the information contained in this leaflet.

Page last modified by Marketing and Corporate Communications on 19 September 2014.
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