For more information about Research degrees in Architecture, Design and the Built Environment at Nottingham Trent University, please visit the webpage using the button above.
Our PhD and MPhil courses offer the opportunity to carry out a significant body of research, in a discipline related to the School of Architecture, Design and the Built Environment. As part of the application process, you'll submit a research proposal, and we'll work to match your themes, objectives and scope to a member of our broad academic team. You'll join a thriving community of postgraduate researchers, based at our City Campus.
Who is this course designed for?
Our PhD and MPhil routes are suitable for professionals working in a related industry; we offer a part-time as well as the full-time study route, enabling you to fit study around employment. The expected length of your studies will extend according to how much time you commit to your research.
The PhD and MPhil routes are also suitable for high-achieving honours (undergraduate) graduates, enabling those who complete an undergraduate qualification to pursue a route into postgraduate research. This opens up opportunities for significant career progression, and is a route into employment in academia.
Why study this course?
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For more information about how our research courses compare with one another, and how they compare with our postgraduate taught courses, take a look at our information on choosing the right postgraduate course for you.
How you're taught
There are three key stages to a PhD or MPhil degree course. Your progression through the course depends on your success at each stage, and how long you prepare to meet the assessment criteria for each milestone.
Stage one: Preparing your research proposal
You'll spend the first 6 months (full-time) - 1 year (part-time) of your PhD/MPhil preparing your research proposal. This is where you outline the scope of your research project and identify exactly how you propose to contribute new knowledge and ideas to the built environment. During this time, you'll read widely and become aware of existing research in your field of interest, enabling you to identify areas where you contribution and progress can be made.
Stage two: Preparing for your transfer stage
Once your research proposal is passed, you'll work towards the transfer stage. For the transfer report, you'll produce a substantial document identifying what it is about your research that will add new knowledge to the field of the built environment. Establishing a novel perspective and clearly articulating a new contribution will set you on a path to a PhD. It's at the transfer stage where you may opt - or be advised - to pursue an MPhil award. The MPhil is still a research-based degree, however there is less of a requirement to contribute new, novel research to the field.
Stage three: Viva voce examination
The time between stage two and stage three varies significantly between students. Between stage two and three, you'll be 'writing up' - this is where you produce your PhD or MPhil body of research, assisted by the advice of your supervisory team, working within the established and agreed parameters of your research proposal. You'll read widely, experiment in our facilities, travel to sites or other universities to pursue further study, and work with our academic team to push the boundaries of your research further. Once you've fully completed your body of research, you'll work towards your final milestone - the viva voce examination.
The exam takes the format of a panel meeting, whereby a team of assessors will choose areas of your research to ask further, more detailed questions about. You'll be expected to talk widely and with authority on the research you've undertaken, further evidencing your expertise in the field. The viva voce is the last step in your PhD/MPhil before graduation. There are several outcomes, which include a straight pass, or advised corrections - with varying degrees of amends to be made. If you are required to make corrections, you could be working on your research piece for up to another twelve months, before re-taking the viva voce exam. A pass at this stage will result in graduation and a PhD/MPhil award.
Careers and employability
Your career development
All our research degrees incorporate a programme of supporting studies designed to develop knowledge and skills of all aspects of the research process, including the funding and dissemination of research. This will ensure that you have the necessary expertise to successfully complete your doctoral programme.
Participation in academic conferences, seminars and external networks will cultivate contacts, skills and knowledge essential for successful research practice. These abilities are also transferable to a wide range of other careers. Researchers are also invited to take part in our own Research Conferences giving you the opportunity to present your work and discuss with other researchers at NTU.
Support with your career development
As a research student at NTU, you'll benefit from:
Pursuing a career in academia
There are opportunities for research students to prepare for an academic career by teaching undergraduate students or supervising laboratory work. Our Organisational Development team offer an Introduction to Learning and Teaching in Higher Education training programme, providing the knowledge and skills needed to pursue academic teaching.
Facilities for research students
As a research student at NTU, you'll benefit from:
To view our facilities in detail, follow the links below.
Dedicated resource centre
Students in the School of Architecture, Design and the Built Environment have access to a dedicated resource centre. This centre, based in the Maudslay building, enables students to undertake private study in a facility equipped with computers, large format plotters and desk space, together with the latest, and archived, journals and publications.
This resource centre is open from 8 am to 8 pm, Monday to Friday.
Alongside our resource centre, you will be allocated desk space alongside other research students studying related disciplines.
Our IT resource rooms and PC clusters are distributed across the City Campus, with PCs providing access to Microsoft Office, email, web browsing, networked file storage, and high-speed online printing services (with a free printing allowance for each student). Resource rooms are available 24 hours a day.
Books and library resources
In the library, you will have access to an extensive and diverse range of books and periodicals that focus on specialist areas within the Built Environment. The library's OneSearch system provides access to all our electronic resources, journals and books.
You'll also benefit from a liaison librarian, who has specialist subject knowledge. They can offer detailed help in finding and using print and electronic resources and also support on things such as Harvard referencing and research skills.
Contact Nottingham Trent University to find course entry requirements.
Claudia Agyemang-Yeboah, Human Rights and Justice – LLM, (Ghana)
“The city is ideal. I’ve been to London a couple of times and frankly it is too busy and too big for me. Nottingham has a city vibe but it’s smaller and as I am based on City Campus there are so many places that you can go without having to even use transportation which economically is very good as well!”
“There are so many opportunities when you are at NTU. Take advantage of every opportunity that you have. Sign up and do something, it builds up your experience and confidence. NTU is such a relaxing, comfortable environment with so many friendly people. I’ve met most of my friends from my classes and have met people from so many places. It was a goal of mine to make friends not only from Africa, but from all over the world. The Global Lounge is a great place to meet new people, have a cup of coffee and hang out.
“It’s a good decision coming here. I’d do it over and over again. I’ve learnt a lot in so many ways. If you have the opportunity, you should really consider here. The experience has been wonderful and I’m enjoying every second of it.”
Makayla Martinez, BA (Hons) Fashion Communication and Promotion, (United States of America)
"I am 21 and have changed my plans but I think it is the best decision I have made in my life. Fashion has always been my dream and since being here last year, I had never felt such a sense of belonging.
"I chose NTU because of the social side and the sense of community. This seemed so prevalent here; I have made so many friends from all over the world. There is so much to do in the city. It is so friendly and unified!"
“My main piece of advice would be to do research about the city before you arrive. Make sure you know where your accommodation is in relation to the rest of the city and where you will be studying, that is really important. I had no idea how big the city was so at the beginning it took time to find out what grocery stores there were and where was good to eat out. Research will help with this as well as not being afraid to explore and find new things. You can ask anyone for help too as it is a really friendly city."
Kamakshi Marwah, MSc Applied Child Psychology, (India)
“While applying I considered other university courses but NTU had better facilities to offer and the course offered a proper melange of theories and real world applications. I was very particular about module structure, programme-based ranking and university rankings. NTU has a prestigious reputation and the quality of learning they provide is something I considered while applying to this University.”
“Location was one of the key features of this University as you will find everything conveniently located. Another important aspect is that it is very student friendly. Nottingham has been like living a dream - it has given me a once in a life time opportunity to explore and live independently.”
“Every day has become a new learning chapter. I believe that my learning as a postgraduate student has significantly enhanced my capabilities and skills set which will help me for my future career. Postgraduate study has given me a new dimension to my career plans as I have discovered new career opportunities where I can work and give back to society. I plan to work as a counsellor or child psychologist in a school or charitable organisation and, after gaining few years of professional experience, I would also consider pursuing a PhD.”
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