Media and Communication Distance Learning PhD

The distance learning PhD is ideal for those who are based away from Leicester or who want to combine working for a research degree with their professional and personal commitments.

Distance Learning Research Student

Our distance learning PhDs offer a more flexible way to study for a research degree - allowing you to undertake a University of Leicester PhD wherever you are based in the world.

As with the campus based PhD, you will undertake a substantial research project that is written up as a thesis of 80,000 words and defended in an oral exam (the viva voce).

Distance Learning PhD Description

Entry Requirements

Standard academic entry requirements and English language entry requirements apply.

Total Course Fee 2017/8 entry

  • UK/EU £18,250
  • International £21,845

Total Course Fee 2018/9 entry

  • UK/EU £19,070
  • International £22,830

If you are living outside of the UK/EU during your studies you will pay the International fee.  For clarification please contact

The fees quoted are the total fee for the PhD by Distance Learning programme and are paid over the first 4 years of study as follows:

• The total course fee is normally split into 4 annual payments with each annual payment divided into 3 instalments. The first instalment must be paid before first registration. The remainder of the fees are paid according to a fee schedule which is sent with the offer letter.
Alternatively payments can be made as:
• The total course fee can be split into 4 annual payments with each annual payment made before registration each year.
• The total course fee can be paid in full before the first registration.

Registration Period

  • Normal - Four Years
  • Maximum - Seven Years


There is no difference between the distance learning PhD qualification and the campus based equivalent and both degrees are recognised internationally.

Supervisory Support

All distance learning PhD research students are allocated a personal supervisor who will help you plan and manage your research and develop your understanding of relevant research methodology.

You'll keep in touch with your supervisor through regular supervisory meetings provided online or by telephone.

Research Skills Training

We have nearly twenty years' experience in supporting distance learning postgraduates.

Distance learning PhD research students undertake a structured programme of research training, delivered entirely through a combination of module books and interactive tasks, readings, and discussion through the University's online virtual learning environment.

The training covers core skills including:

  • Requirements of the PhD degree and expectations for the thesis
  • Finding and reviewing academic literature
  • Formulating and refining research questions
  • Research ethics
  • Academic writing
  • Quantitative research and analysis
  • Qualitative research and analysis

University Resources

Alongside this core training, distance learners have access to a range of online resources and materials to help you:

  • develop an effective working relationship with your supervisor
  • develop your broader academic writing skills including related concepts such as referencing and avoiding plagiarism
  • plan and manage the writing of your thesis and prepare for the viva exam

You'll also have access to the University Library's online resources for distance learning researchers including remote access to some 18,000 electronic journals, books, and databases.

Visiting Leicester

Distance learning PhD research students are registered on probation for the first twenty-four months of their degree. Over this period you will complete your research skills training and your overall suitability for a PhD programme will be monitored.

At the end of this period your progress will be assessed and, subject to this being satisfactory, you can then continue with your degree.

You will be required to visit Leicester both for your probation review and for your viva exam at the end of your degree. You are not required to visit Leicester at any other time, but distance learners are welcome to do so should they wish to:

  • meet their supervisor or fellow researchers
  • use facilities such as the University Library
  • attend training sessions or other University events for researchers
Applications and Further Details

Applications for the distance learning PhD can be submitted online and should include a full research proposal:

  1. Search our staff research interests to make sure we offer PhD supervision in the area you want to work in
  2. Draft a research proposal that tells us what you want to research, how you intend to do it, and why it is worth doing
  3. Prepare your supporting documents
  4. Submit your online application

If you have any questions about the distance learning PhD or about PhD supervision in the Department of Media and Communication, please contact us.

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