Research degrees and studentships

There are a number of routes open to suitably motivated and qualified individuals who wish to undertake postgraduate research, leading to either an MSc by Research (normally after one year) or PhD (normally after three-four years) postgraduate degree. We also offer, if resources allow, part-time PhDs.

We welcome informal enquiries from potential candidates. In the first instance, you are strongly encouraged to contact members of academic staff to ask about possible research topics.

Some illustrative examples of possible PhD research projects are available in Mathematical/Theoretical Physics, or Pure Mathematics.

Funded PhD positions

We invite applications for one or more University of Hertfordshire PhD Research Studentships starting in October 2024. Preference will be given to applications received by 1 February 2024. These studentships are open to both UK and international candidates. They are normally awarded for three years and six months, and cover both the fees and an annual stipend of around £18,622 (tax-free). Instructions on how to apply can be found below.

Self-funded and Part-time PhD

Suitably qualified candidates may also register as self-funded full-time or part-time PhD students, contingent on sufficient resources being available and research staff commitments. Applications are considered on an individual basis and may be made at any time. Self-funded PhD students may be eligible to apply for a government loan. Find out more about the Doctoral Loan on the Government's website.

MSc by Research

We offer an MSc by Research degree which can be taken either full-time (one year) or part-time (two years). Students who enrol in this programme will gain a training in research methods and have the opportunity to work on a substantial research project under the supervision of a member of the research staff. As with the PhD, assessment is through submission of a thesis documenting the research project and a viva voce examination. Students are responsible for the payment of fees and living expenses. Applications are welcome up until June for entry in October. Potential applicants should contact us for advice on qualifications, fees and further information.

(Potential MSc applicants should consider whether a one-year or two-year taught masters degree would be most suitable).

How to apply

To apply, a completed application form, along with copies of higher education certificates, transcripts, a copy of your passport and two letters of reference, should be returned (by post or email) to Lynette Spelman at the address below, by the closing date. You should arrange for your referees to write separately using the form provided or send their reference via email directly to Lynette Spelman. The University also expects international applicants to have an IELTS (English proficiency) score of normally 6.5 or above.

Download the application form or request it from Lynette Spelman.

Prospective candidates should contact Associate Professor Dan Smith for advice on making their application or for further information and are encouraged to contact potential supervisors directly for more details about specific projects.


Lynette Spelman

Research Student Admissions
Doctoral College
University of Hertfordshire
College Lane
AL10 9AB

tel 01707 286083

Assoc Prof Dan Smith

Postgraduate Tutor
Department of Physics, Astronomy & Mathematics
University of Hertfordshire
College Lane
AL10 9AB 

tel 01707 285189