MPhil / PhD Practice-Based Design

The course

Course type
Scottish Borders
Entry date



The School actively supports practice-based MPhil and PhDs as a route whereby working designers can develop their own creative visions, techniques and methods through rigorous research.

We welcome applications that fit into the School’s research themes:

  • Archive
  • Colour Science and Technology
  • Design Innovation
  • Drawing
  • Educational Innovation
  • Fashion
  • Knit Design and Manufacture
  • Textile Design and Clothing Manufacture
  • Textile Science And Technology

The research degree by practice is a common mode of research in the area of art and design and has grown enormously over the past decade. This involves the exploration of a subject of enquiry through practical work accompanied by a related text. The relative weight of these elements varies for each project. The word 'related' may be interpreted in various ways, but a clear structural and Intellectual link must be established between the two aspects of the project.


Additional information

The practice-based component of the MPhil / PhD is expected to conform to the stipulations attached to all forms of research. The Arts and Humanities Research Council, a major funder of postgraduate research students, defines a research project as meeting the following requirements:

  • It must define a series of research questions that will be addressed, or problems that will be explored in the course of the research. It must also define its objectives in terms of answering these questions or reporting on the results of the research project.
  • It must specify a research context for the questions to be addressed or problems to be explored, showing what particular contribution the research will make to the advancement of knowledge and understanding in the area concerned. It must specify why it is important that these particular questions should be answered or problems explored; what other research is being or has been conducted in this area; and what particular contribution this project will make to the advancement of creativity, insights, knowledge and understanding in this area.
  • It must specify the research methods for addressing and answering the research questions or problems. It should also explain the rationale for the chosen methods and why they provide the most appropriate means by which to answer the research questions.

These can obviously be met in a variety of ways, and the School recognises this fact. Nevertheless, these stipulations set out expectations that are commensurable with research undertaken across a wide range of media, whether text- or practice-based. Common to all is the expectation of conceptual and methodological rigour and, in the case of the PhD, originality and a substantial contribution to knowledge.

Entry requirements

Contact the School to discuss. You should also refer to our PhD pages for advice on undertaking a research degree and developing your research proposal.


Fees for this course can be found on the tuition fees page.

Scholarships and bursaries

We aim to encourage well-qualified, ambitious students to study with us and we offer a wide variety of scholarships and bursaries to achieve this. Over £6 million worth of opportunities are available in fee and stipend scholarships, and more than 400 students benefit from this support.

View our full range of research scholarships.