Research Degrees in

Fashion and Clothing

in the Manchester Fashion Institute


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 Fashion and Clothing you will:

  • Work with renowned experts in the field. In the most recent national evaluation of research, two-thirds of our research was rated as world-leading or internationally excellent (REF2014).
  • Join a well-established and thriving research community. We have developed an outstanding academic team and built a network of professional connections that allow us to consult and collaborate with some of the industry’s biggest brands and leading innovators.
  • Choose from our flexible study pathways. We offer theory- and practice-based research programmes which can be pursued full- or part-time. We offer campus-based and distance-learning opportunities.
  • Use our outstanding facilities and equipment. We have dedicated fashion workshops which include cutting tables and a variety of specialist industrial sewing machines and finishing equipment.
  • Undertake tailored personal and professional development training. The Postgraduate Arts and Humanities Centre provides a comprehensive development programme for research students.
  • Benefit from our close links with the fashion and creative industries. We have a programme of inspiring guest lecturers who bring invaluable perspectives from every aspect of the fashion world.

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Areas of supervisory expertise

We can supervise projects across the full fashion supply chain, including business, product innovation, design, sustainability and marketing.

Our research focuses on the following areas:

  • Technical innovation
  • Social/ethical practice
  • Fashion image
  • Fashion narrative
  • Fashion pedagogy
  • Fashion business.

Find out more about our staff's expertise

Research culture

The Manchester Fashion Institute is a multi-disciplinary partnership bringing together fashion expertise and talent from across the University, the region and the world. We are an international hub that connects education, research and enterprise to inspire the next generation of industry leaders.

More about our research culture

We are committed in our research to taking on new challenges and setting standards on a global scale. You will join a creative team of researchers, many of whom continue to design, work or consult within the fashion industry. Our research is theoretical and practical; contemporary and historical; local and international; and aesthetic and functional.

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

Our research degrees enable you to enhance your existing practice, or to develop the skills and expertise to pursue new creative pathways.

Our research programmes also equip you with advanced research skills and a deep understanding of how society and culture work. These skills and expertise enable you to pursue senior roles in academia, the cultural industries, the creative sectors, or a range of areas.

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

Postgraduate Research Degrees fees

Please refer to our Fees page for more information on tuition fees.

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 Fashion and Clothing 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. Please contact us for more information.

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 Sian Bonnell,, the Research Degrees Co-ordinator for Manchester Fashion Institute.

For further information on the application process, contact the Faculty’s research degrees administration team:, +44 (0)161 247 5412.

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