Postgraduate Research Opportunities - Faculty of Arts, Professional and Social Studies

Faculty of Arts, Professional and Social Studies MPhil / PhD opportunities

Course fees

Option / fee Value
Home full time annual tuition fee: £3845
International full time annual tuition fee: £11,000

More about course fees »

Course type


Doctor of Philosophy


Master of Philosophy


Arts Professional and Social Studies

Study mode

Full Time & Part Time

About your course

The Faculty of Arts, Professional and Social Studies will provide you with a research environment at the forefront of contemporary academia. Discover new ideas that push modern thought, and its disciplinary functions, into new realms of practice. 

  • Minimum period of study 1 year full time, with a maximum of 6 years if completed part time
  • Faculty conducting internationally-acclaimed and nationally important research
  • Research scholarships available - eligibility criteria apply
  • Expert supervision and researcher training
  • Excellent facilities plus industry connections

We offer research students expert supervision, excellent facilities plus a comprehensive induction and generic skills training programme.

Generous scholarships available for both home/EU and international research students.

Introduction to the School

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

School of Humanities and Social Science

  • English Literature and Cultural History including 17th, 19th and 20th Century British Literature and Cultural History; Women’s Writing; Critical and Feminist Theory; National Literatures (Irish & Scottish); Postcolonial Literatures; Prison Writing and Working-Class Writing; 19th and 20th Century American Studies; 21st Century Literature and Culture.
  • History including history of the British Empire in the 19th Century (especially India and Southeast Asia); Business history; 18th and 19th century Irish history; history of Co-operation; 19th and 20th century history of the British Economy; US Politics and post-1945 history, Presidential policymaking and American foreigh policy; the history of sexuality, gender and LGBT communities in 19th and 20th century Britain.
  • Criminology including policy responses to young people in trouble; child welfare; penal systems; illegal and problematic drug use; corporate crime; night-time economies in the city; social policy and social exclusion; masculinity; criminological theory; environmental geography; medical criminology; qualitative and quantitative research methods
  • Sociology including race, higher education and employment; work-life balance and women’s health; childbirth - caesarean birth in particular; informed choice in health services; sustainable development; gender; participatory and visual research methods; racism and the state; biopolitics and the contested politics of space in the neoliberal city; disability and illness; identities, audiences and fandom; ageing and the life course; sport and social movements
  • Crime, Criminalisation and Social Harm including issues of crime and criminalisation; the production and organisational responses to social harm; the social production and effects of social exclusion; injustice and social justice; critical considerations of ‘rights’; critical interrogations of criminal justice and broader state responses to crime and social harm on local, national and international levels; gender/sexual violence and Human Rights
  • Media, Culture Communication including popular culture; print culture; identity and representation; youth culture; cultures of consumption; media policy; digitial cultures, ethnography
  • Policing Studies including police governance and accountability; police diversity; police education and training; police cultures; police reform; multi-agency working; police privatisation and private securities; technology and policing; community engagement; mental health and policing

Liverpool Business School

  • Human Resource Management; Human Resources Development & Leadership; Performance Management
  • Social Enteprise; Corporate Social Responsibility
  • Operations Management including Project Management; Quality Management
  • E-Business; Information Management; Knowledge Management
  • Marketing; Digital Marketing
  • Strategic Management
  • Public Sector Management
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Supply Chain Management
  • Sustainability
  • Educational Research
  • Intercultural Communications

Liverpool School of Art and Design

  • History of Art
  • Exhibition Studies
  • Curatorial Practice and Theory
  • Architecture (especially Urbanism and Place Making)
  • Fine Art Practice and Theory (especially Sonic Arts, Installation, Socially Engaged Practices, Printmaking and New Technologies)
  • Art and Design Pedagogy
  • Graphic Design and Illustration (especially Digital Typography and Graphic Authorship)

Liverpool Screen School

  • Drama including Popular Theatre; Multicultural Theatre; Television Drama; Performance, Applications of Drama and Playwriting
  • Media production; covering TV production and TV video documentary
  • Creative writing
  • Film studies covering theory of film, film production technique, and cinema
  • Popular Music Studies and Ethnomusicology
  • Journalism: practice based research in print, broadcast or online journalism; journalism studies including history, future developments, journalism technology, journalism ethics, freedom of expression, journalism training and education and various forms of specialist journalism

School of Law

Research is conducted in two different fields: Law and Criminal Justice.

  • Research in Law includes the following areas: criminal law; legal history; corporate governance; banking and finance; global finance law; obligations; media law; comparative private/public law; EU law; international law; commercial law; sports law; German public law; Italian public law; medical ethics; bioethics; legal theory; human rights; terrorism; police powers; transnational crime; gender studies; family law; law and religion.
  • Criminal Justice research activity covers two core themes; firstly, work concerned with the organisation and delivery of criminal justice institutions and secondly, research that examines the broader social context of the social and cultural impact of criminal justice.
  • The first theme includes the history, organisation and governance of the National Probation Service; the impact and delivery of community penalties/sentences; innovation and creativity in developing models of criminal justice; the use and effectiveness of community justice approaches; drug interventions in criminal justice and the subsequent management of drug misusing populations; multi-agency and partnership work within youth justice; reviewing and informing sentencing policy; the political dimensions to criminal justice policy creation.
  • The second theme includes the nature, complexities and challenges of criminal justice engagement with its publics; the symbolic and cultural significance of real and imagined exchanges with the criminal justice system in negotiations of belonging and identity; critically examining fictional and factual media representations of criminal justice; the application of criminological theory in practice; the connections between research and the criminal justice policy making process.

Programme outline and structure

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: 

  • Full Time: minimum 12 months, maximum 24 months
  • Part Time: minimum 24 months, maximum 48 months  

PhD (via progression from MPhil registration and including the period of MPhil registration)  

  • Full Time: minimum 33 months, maximum 48 months  
  • Part Time: minimum 45 months, maximum 84 months  

PhD (direct route not via MPhil) 

  • Full Time: minimum 24 months, maximum 36 months
  • Part Time: minimum 36 months, maximum 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 inc 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.

The general aims of MPhil or PhD study are: 

  • to provide you with an opportunity to acquire expert knowledge in a special field or a specific academic discipline;
  • to train you in research methods, including the use of technical literature and published materials, and the techniques of empirical research (e.g. experimental methods, and the use of records and documents);
  • to enable you to design, implement and report upon an independent research project;
  • to foster your capacity for constructive criticism, originality and independence of thought;
  • to provide experience of participation in the activities of an academic department (e.g. through seminar work, poster presentations etc).

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.

Entry requirements (Home)

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.

Some Faculties may require applicants who do not hold a relevant Master’s degree to complete an MRes programme before going on to register for PhD direct. Applicants are advised to check this with the relevant Faculty before applying.

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. For research programmes in the Screen School, Humanities and Social Sciences and in Law the requirement is for a minimum score of 7.0 in the written component.

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 this Faculty do not require ATAS (Academic Technology Approval Scheme) clearance.

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

Entry requirements (International)

LJMU welcomes applications from international students. In addition to normal entry requirements, you will be expected to demonstrate a very good level of English language competence, for example an IELTS score of 6.0-6.5 or equivalent. Please note: specific courses may require higher levels of English language competence.

If you have applied to study a full-time taught Masters, Masters by Research, MPhil/PhD at LJMU, you should check if you require an Academic Technology Approval Scheme or ATAS certificate. It can take four to six weeks to receive an ATAS certificate, so please make sure you apply as early as possible. You can find out more on the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) website. Alternatively, contact LJMU’s International Admissions Team for guidance.

Please note: international students entering on a Tier 4 visa cannot study part time. Students entering the UK on alternate types of visa may be in a position to study part time. Please contact LJMU’s International Admissions Team for further details before making your application. 

In order to obtain a visa you will also need to show evidence that the money required to cover your tuition fees and living expenses has been in your bank account for at least 28 days prior to submitting your visa application. So please make sure that your finances are in place before applying. For more details, go to our international website

For advice on any aspect of the application process, please contact LJMU’s International Admissions Team.

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

Faculty Admissions Hub
Tel: +44(0) 151 231 5175

Will I be interviewed?



6.5 (Minimum of 5.5 in each component)


58-64 (Min. 51 in each component for UKVI Purposes)

Is RPL accepted on this programme?


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. In addition to this the Faculty you are applying to may have information about locally available funding opportunities.

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.

International Study

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.

The University may make changes to a programme of study or module where such changes are deemed to be beneficial to students, are minor in nature and unlikely to impact negatively upon students or become necessary due to circumstances beyond the control of the University.
Further guidance on programme changes

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