Manchester Metropolitan University

Distance Learning PhD Programmes

Areas of study: History, Politics, Philosophy, Public Services, Information and Communications, Languages, Sociology, Criminology, English and Creative Writing.

Humanities, Languages & Social Science has designed a range of distance learning PhD programmes based around the needs of those who want to undertake a research degree alongside their personal and professional commitments. Due to their flexible nature they are available to study from anywhere in the world.

The programmes can be studied full-time (three years) or part-time (six years).

Areas of Study

You can study for a distance learning PhD in one of the following areas:

Use the links above to read more about the research topics available and to contact a potential supervisor in your research area.

Watch our video on Distance learning PhD programmes


Shandon L. Guthrie

PhD Philosophy Graduate, via Distance Learning

"As an international student, it made me feel comfortable knowing that they care greatly for their students in this way."

Read more about Shandon L. Guthrie

Watch our video interview with Dr Shandon L. Guthrie

How to Apply

To apply for a distance learning PhD, you must submit two application forms.

  1. Application form to study for a Postgraduate Research Degree
  2. Additional information form for a Distance Learning PhD

The completed application forms should be returned to: Graduate School, Manchester Metropolitan University, Room 202, Ormond Building, All Saints Campus, Oxford Road, Manchester, M15 6BX or emailed to

Entry Requirements

You should have a good honours degree and will have ideally completed a Master’s degree in a relevant subject.

For those whose first language is not English, an IELTS score of 6.5 (no component below 6.0) or equivalent English Language qualification. (For those who fall just below these scores, the university offers pre-sessional English For Study courses; details can be found on The Language Centre)


For the 2016/17 academic year, the annual fee for home/EU students is £4121 full-time, £2060 part-time. For overseas students, the annual fee is £12,200 full-time, and £6,100 part-time.

The Application Process

You should begin the application process by having an informal discussion with a potential supervisor at Manchester Metropolitan University, to discuss your planned research. This will help you when the time comes to make a formal application, which will require you to produce a proposal that outlines your intended topic of study. Before you apply, remember that the PhD lasts for three or six years (depending on whether you opt for full-time or part-time mode). You will therefore have to have sufficient motivation to keep you going for that length of time.

For more information on Distance Learning PhDs contact Dr Lloyd Strickland

Frequently Asked Questions

How will supervision take place?

Meetings with supervisors are a vital part of your studies and will be held on a regular basis. As a distance-learning student, your meetings will take place via Skype, or an equivalent platform. You will need to make sure you have access to the required equipment and infrastructure to make these meetings possible.

Will I receive research training?

Yes. Full-time research students follow an approved supporting programme of study equivalent to two weeks of study per year, and part-time students half that. These activities provide personal and professional skills and the skills necessary to attain competence in research methods and knowledge related to the subject of the thesis. The programme provides: 

  • the skills and knowledge necessary for the pursuit of the proposed research
  • a body of knowledge normally associated with a degree in the field of study of the proposed research
  • a breadth of knowledge in the related subjects
  • key transferable skills
  • employment related skills

For the benefit of those students unable to attend on campus, the research training sessions will also be provided by online platforms such as webinars.

Will I need to come to Manchester?

You will need to travel to Manchester for your viva (final oral examination), which will be held on campus. Depending on your circumstances, you may be required to attend induction in the first 12 months of starting your studies. We would encourage you to visit Manchester at other times during your period of study, to meet your supervisory team face-to-face, to present your research at conferences and to get a feel for the university, but there are no formal requirements for you to do this, and if you are unable to do so, your studies will not be affected. Visits to Manchester, including that required for the viva, will be at your own expense, or that of your sponsor (if you have one). Please note that travel to the UK for study purposes may require a Visa. For further information, see

When does the programme begin?

We accept new enrolments in January, April, July, and September each year. In order to give us sufficient time to process your application, we would recommend applying at least three months in advance of your preferred start date.