Research degrees


We offer a number of research degree awards: Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Master of Philosophy (MPhil), Masters by Research (MRes), Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA) and PhD by Published Works. 

Typically, a research degree focuses on an in-depth investigation or project, with an emphasis on independent study of a topic chosen by the student. 

Find out how to apply for a research degree.

Our three faculties and their associated Institutes for Research & Innovation will be happy to discuss your research proposals.

We offer a range of development opportunities, including training in qualitative and quantitative research methods, literature reviewing, professional communication and presentation skills and career development.   

PhD, MPhil & MRes


For these awards, you will initially register for an unspecified research degree; the target award is normally decided within the first year of study, based on your progress. 

Applicants should normally hold a first or second class honours degree from a UK institution, or equivalent. Sometimes we accept students who do not meet these requirements if they have extensive relevant experience. Each case is considered individually by the relevant school - please email the Postgraduate Admissions Team for details. 

We occasionally advertise graduate training assistantships. At the same time as studying for a PhD, you will complete a Postgraduate Certificate in Teaching & Learning in Higher Education and undertake teaching in your subject area.



The DBA is a professional doctorate, equivalent to a PhD in its requirements, but with an emphasis on a focused business or management problem.  

Applicants for DBA must hold an MBA or equivalent, and have at least 5 years' managerial experience.


PhD by Published Works


This degree is based on a substantial body of previously published work, normally academic publications. The award is intended for those with extensive research experience and publication, and is only available to current or former members of Edinburgh Napier staff, and Edinburgh Napier graduates.  


Length of study


The time it takes to complete a research degree depends on the target award and the mode of study (full-time or part-time).

You must submit your final thesis for examination within the minimum and maximum periods of study given in the table below.


 Award Mode of Attendance Minimum Period Maximum Period
MRes (MSc / MA by research) Full-time 12 months 30 months
  Part-time  20 months  38 months 
Mphil Full-time  24 months  42 months
  Part-time  40 months 58 months
PhD (except Graduate Training Assistants) Full-time  36 months  54 months 
  Part-time  60 months  78 months
PhD (Graduate Training Assistants) Full-time 48 months 66 months
PhD by Published Works  Part-time  Not applicable 12 months 
DBA   36 months  48 months