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Before you apply

You might find it helpful to consider the following issues when considering undertaking a research degree and developing your research proposal:

  • What is your particular research question, hypothesis or area?
  • How do you propose to address this question or to develop the field? What research methods do you intend to use?
  • How do you see your work in the wider context of the discipline? How does it relate to existing work in the area?

The School offers research degrees through traditional thesis-only study or practice-based research degrees where students undertake a combination of studio-based and thesis study. If you are proposing to undertake a practice-based research degree, how will the practical and written work relate to each other? If you are proposing to undertake a PhD, what is the original contribution to knowledge and understanding? How do you propose to reflect upon or critically analyse your approach to the project?

We support PhD and MPhil research students working in a wide range of textile, fashion and design-related disciplines.

Once you've finalised your proposal, find out how to apply.

Research project types


The MPhil is a research degree awarded in recognition of a body of work that shows initiative and demonstrates a critical assessment of existing knowledge in the field or area of research. An MPhil must show independence of thought, rigour and understanding of its methods and context. It must be communicable and indicate critical awareness of the appropriate means of presentation/documentation and evaluation of the research process.

It may also be seen as a valuable Introductory experience in the preparation of and working on a PhD.


The PhD degree is awarded in recognition of a body of work that represents a significant contribution to learning. A PhD is a rigorous enterprise and must show evidence of originality. This may consist in the discovery of new knowledge, the production of a new understanding or interpretation.

Whilst a PhD shares the same characteristics as an MPhil, it must demonstrate a greater degree of independent thought and research. A PhD must indicate how it appears to the candidate to advance study and understanding in the field or area of research.

The School of Textiles & Design expects a PhD thesis to:

  • be an original work making a significant contribution to knowledge in or understanding of the field of study and containing material worthy of publication
  • show adequate knowledge of the field of study and relevant literature
  • show the exercise of critical judgement with regard to both the candidate’s work and that of other scholars in the same general field
  • contain material which presents a unified body of work such as could reasonably be achieved on the basis of three years postgraduate study and research
  • be satisfactory in its literary presentation, give full and adequate references and have a coherent structure understandable to a scholar in the same general field with regard to intentions, background, methods and conclusions