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Course content

A research degree is a period of intensive, supervised, research work in your chosen area. It builds on your previous academic or professional experience and allows you to develop an original area of expertise.

You work closely with a director of studies and a supervisor who are specialists in your chosen field or methodological approach to produce an extended thesis of up to 80,000 words in the case of doctoral research.

Whilst completing your thesis you can take advantage of a range of training opportunities to improve your employability and personal skills. This includes developing your knowledge and understanding of research methods and methodology.

You can take modules from the MRes Social Sciences Programme and supplementary on-line courses to develop your research skills.

Our staff members take part in a range of research-related activities, including

  • writing books and articles for journals.
  • delivering papers at national and international conferences.
  • involvement in practical research projects, collaborative research and consultancy.

Reviewing journal papers, book proposals and research applications.

We conduct research projects in areas such as • law • social policy • sociology • politics • public health • education psychology. Our teaching and research is supported by leading facilities such as the Law Clinic and Community Justice Portal.

We also have the following research centres

  • Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research.
  • Centre for Education and Inclusion Research.

Faculty of Development and Society Graduate School

This course is hosted by the Faculty of Development and Society Graduate School. The Graduate School website provides a communication hub for students and staff engaged in research, information about our research work, and useful contact information.

Course structure

Full-time – at least 35 hours a week on average over three years

Part-time – at least 12 hours a week on average for up to seven years

EU and international students wishing to study in their own country can choose the split mode. You register with us and spend some time studying in Sheffield but are mainly based at home.

Various start dates

You critically investigate and evaluate an approved topic, to demonstrate an understanding of research methods appropriate to your chosen field. You must then present and defend your thesis by oral examination.


We allocate you a supervisory team of two or three research specialists.

You have regular scheduled meetings with your supervisors when you agree targets for written and oral presentation of your research progress. We expect you to present seminar papers on your work and to submit written papers for comment. We also expect you to attend relevant seminars from the appropriate research seminar series.

Research training

In addition to your subject-focused research activity, you must complete research training modules, unless you have previously studied these on an appropriate masters degree. Fees for these modules are covered in the full-time fee. Part-time students must pay for these additional modules. Please contact us for further details. During your research leading to your thesis, you work under the guidance of your supervising team.


You submit your research programme for approval by the University’s Research Degrees Committee. Your final assessment is via thesis and viva.


Our research is often applied, which prepares you to tackle issues of immediate relevance to voluntary or statutory agencies. You can go on to find an academic or other research career.

Many people take part-time degrees in collaboration with their current employer.

Visit the Social Sciences MPhil page on the Sheffield Hallam University website for more details!




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