Research Degrees in

Information and Communications, including libraries and media

in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities


Do you want to advance or change your career, deepen your expertise in a topic, or expand your research and practical skills?

With a PhD or other postgraduate research degree in the areas of Information and Communications you will:

  • Work with renowned experts in the field. In the latest national evaluation of research, over two thirds of our research was rated as world-leading or internationally excellent (REF2014).
  • Choose from our flexible study pathways. We offer campus-based and distance learning research degrees, which can be pursued either full or part time.
  • Join a thriving intellectual community. You will be part of a growing network of scholars undertaking research on how information and media influences users and wider culture.
  • Benefit from specialist technical facilities. Our Multimedia Resource Laboratory features the latest professional hardware and software.
  • Network with leading industry professionals. Our location in the North West – home to one of the largest digital industry clusters in Europe – enables you to gain inspiration from a range of professionals.
  • Engage in innovative public engagement programmes. RAH! (Research in Arts and Humanities) is a curated programme of public lectures, performances, film screenings, fairs, interventions, discussions, artist happenings and augmented reality.
  • Undertake tailored personal and professional development training. The Postgraduate Arts and Humanities Centre provides a comprehensive development programme for research students.

Apply now

Areas of supervisory expertise

We can supervise topics that apply quantitative and/or qualitative methodologies to the study of Communications and Media, Information Management, and Information Access.

We can supervise projects on topics such as:

  • Information/knowledge management
  • New media and communications technologies
  • Interactions between humans and technology, including information design and user experience (UX)
  • Social media, web, and mobile technologies
  • Digital marketing
  • Digital ethnography, digital humanities, digital cultures, and digital heritage
  • Information search behaviour; interactive search and retrieval systems
  • Relationships between digital media/technology and social identities (including race, gender and sexuality)
  • Digital information environments (including e-books and virtual learning environments)
  • The changing role of libraries in a digital age (including societal contribution and innovation).

Find out more about our staff's expertise

Research culture

We undertake vital research on Information and Communications. Our research is committed to delivering real-world enhancements, whether through improving the design, usefulness and usability of technologies, or expanding understanding of how new technologies can transform social life.

More about our research culture

We are home to the Centre for Research in Libraries, Information and Media (CeRLIM), which undertakes research in information, its technology and communications. The centre aims to contribute to the development of information systems and media through understanding the human and social dimension. The centre collaborates with colleagues across other disciplines to analyse areas relating to Digital Humanities, Cultural Heritage, Corpus Linguistics, Web Development and User Experience.

We have also recently launched our new Research Centre for Applied Social Sciences. This centre is committed to undertaking interdisciplinary social sciences research that makes a real policy impact at a local, regional, national and global level. 

Our postgraduate researchers are a key part of our social and intellectual environment. You will be a member of our Postgraduate Arts and Humanities Centre (PAHC). PAHC is a dedicated forum for postgraduate students in the Arts and Humanities. It provides:

  • HARTS Online, an online community, news and events portal
  • A thorough research development programme
  • A space for cross-disciplinary discussion, support and experimentation
  • Hive, an academic e-journal, edited by current students
  • RAH!, an innovative programme of socially and culturally engaged public engagement events.

Courses offered, duration, and start dates

Programmes offered

  • PhD (3 years full time, 6 years part time)
  • PhD by Published Work or Professional Practice (course duration varies by route taken and candidate's background)
  • Master's by Research (1 year full time, 2 years part time)
  • MPhil (18 months full time, 36 months part time).

Find out more about the different research degrees we offer

Start dates

The majority of our students enrol in October. We offer further enrolment points in January and April.

Distance learning

Research degrees are available to study on-campus or through distance learning.

Career prospects

Studying information and communications puts you at the forefront of social, cultural and industrial change. As a postgraduate researcher, you will develop an expert understanding of the contemporary media and technology landscape, and you will be equipped with the necessary skills to evaluate and shape that landscape.

You will have the opportunity to develop working relationships with practitioners from the media industry and the library & information professions. Our location in the heart of Manchester – an ever-expanding digital technology hub – provides a wealth of networking opportunities and external expertise. 

Our rigorous training opportunities will also equip you with the necessary skills to pursue academic careers in a range of social science disciplines.

Course structure

This course is research based. You will independently conduct research into your own topic or a topic that we advertise. Your supervisory team will offer expert guidance throughout your studies and review work in progress.

Each year, you will follow a programme of training and development to enhance your research methods, subject-matter expertise and professional skills.

Fees and funding

Find out more

2018/19 entry


  • Full time: £4,260
  • Part time: £2,130

Tuition fees are likely to increase each academic year in line with UK Research and Innovation guidelines.

International Students

International fees are categorised into five bands. Your tuition fee band will depend on the resources required for your project. We will confirm your band in your offer letter.

Read more on our tuition fees

2019/20 entry


Tuition fees for the academic year 2019/2020 will be:

  • £4,327 for full-time students
  • £2,164 for part-time students.

International students

International fees are categorised into five bands. Your tuition fee band will depend on the resources required for your project. We will confirm your band in your offer letter.

Additional project costs

For some research projects, we may need to charge you additional costs to cover, for example, access to specialist equipment, resources or materials. We will discuss these costs with you during your interview, and they will be clearly outlined in your offer letter before you accept a place here. Where we advertise specific research projects, the complete project costs will be included in the advert.

Loans for research degrees

Many of our PhD and Professional Doctorate programmes are eligible for the government's Doctoral Loan Scheme. MPhil and MA/MSc by Research degrees are eligible for a Postgraduate Loan.

Find out more about tuition fees and financial support


Each year we offer a number of competitive scholarships to support high quality research projects. Current scholarship opportunities in Information and Communications are advertised on our site.

Sign up to be notified when relevant scholarships are advertised

North West Consortium Doctoral Training Partnership

We are a member of the North West Consortium Doctoral Training Partnership which allows us to offer fully funded scholarships in the Arts and Humanities. The deadline for applications is midnight on 14 January 2019.

Entry requirements

Find out more

You should, as a minimum, have a first or 2.1 honours degree or an equivalent qualification.

International students must demonstrate a sufficiently high standard of English language ability.

We welcome interest from applicants from non-standard backgrounds. We will take subject knowledge, professional experience, publications, or other appropriate evidence of accomplishment into consideration.

See more about our standard entry requirements.


Before applying for a research degree, you should have a preliminary discussion with a member of staff about your project and ideas. To arrange this, please email Dr Adi Kuntsman,, or Dr Frances Johnson,, the Research Degrees Co-ordinators for Information and Communications.

For further information on the application process, contact the Faculty’s research degrees administration team:, +44 (0)161 247 6673.

How to apply

Apply now

The quickest and most efficient way to apply for this course is to apply online using the link below. This way, you can also track your application at each stage of the process.

Before you apply, you should discuss your project with a member of academic staff. You should also complete the Postgraduate Research Degree Supplementary Information form which you will then upload to the ‘Student documents’ section of the application form. This collects key information about your research application and there may be delays if you do not submit this document.

Apply now
Postgraduate Study