PhD by Distance Learning
Start Dates: January, April, July and October.
Duration and mode of study: minimum four and maximum six years by distance learning.
What is the distance learning PhD?
The distance learning route to a PhD is designed for those who wish to continue in full-time employment or would for other reasons find it difficult to study for a PhD either full-time or part-time on campus. There is no difference in examination procedures or standards expected for PhDs gained by distance learning or on campus.
The award of a doctorate requires the presentation of an 80,000-word thesis based on a piece of individually-supervised research. The programme leading to this is designed to meet the particular needs of distance learners by combining online research training with individual research supervision. The research training is delivered over two years through readings and online learning activities using the University’s Blackboard virtual learning environment.
If you are accepted as a candidate, you will be registered as an 'Advanced Postgraduate (APG) Student'. Progression to PhD candidature is subject to successful completion of the online training modules and the approval of a detailed research proposal and thesis plan.
Following the completion of your research training, you will focus solely on the research leading to your PhD thesis. Throughout your research you will have regular contact with your supervisor via whatever means - email, telephone or postal communication - is mutually convenient.
You must visit Leicester for your APG-transfer interview, as well as for your final examination. You will not be required to visit the University campus at any other time during your registration, although you will be welcome to do so in order to meet your supervisor and fellow students and to attend additional training events if these are relevant to your research.
Period of registration
The minimum period of registration for the Distance Learning PhD is four years and the maximum is six.
Typically, as a distance learning doctoral student, you will have considerable professional experience in media, communication or a related field. You will usually also have some knowledge of the topic which is to form the basis of your research, and will be looking for a way to formalise and extend this within the framework of a research degree. To be considered for registration for a research degree in the Department of Media and Communication, applicants must have a good first degree (i.e. at least at Upper Second Class Honours level or equivalent) and, normally, a Master's level qualification or equivalent.
If English is not your first language or the main language of your formal education, you are required to provide evidence of your proficiency in both written and spoken English (a score of 6.5 or above in the British Council IELTS test; a score of 600 in TOEFL (or 250 in the TOEFL computer based test), to include the Test of Written English (TWE) with a score of 4 or above). The University's English Language Teaching Unit (ELTU) offers full-time preparatory courses in English Language and Study Skills. Our International Office can provide further information.
You must complete the University of Leicester postgraduate application form and provide a detailed outline of your proposed research. This should take the form of a brief paper (1500 to 2000 words) which should state:
Your reasons for choosing the proposed topic
The main aims and objectives of the research you plan to conduct
An indication that you are familiar with related research and relevant literature
Details of the research methods you propose to use
We take great care to ensure that the right students, supervisors, and research topics come together. At doctoral level we can only undertake to supervise students pursuing research topics for which we have staff with appropriate expertise. If we think you and the outline of your research topic look suitable, but we feel that we need more information before we can make a decision, we may ask you to write a much more detailed research proposal. This process can take some time. When an appropriate research topic, suitable research design and supervisor have been agreed, a formal application can be made to enable you to register with the University and begin the programme.