Research Degrees by Distance Learning

From autumn 2017, the School of Advanced Study will offer students with an appropriate topic and level of local resource the opportunity to undertake a PhD by distance learning. SAS Research Degrees by Distance Learning

These students are required to attend our London campus at set intervals to complete an intensive research training module, for upgrade, and for the viva but will otherwise study at their own location. This option is available to UK, EU and international students on the same basis as our on-campus PhD programmes (three years full time, six years part time).

If you would like to be considered for our Research Degree programme via Distance Learning, please download and fill out the Research Degrees by Distance Learning form, to attach to your online application.

Mode of Study

  • Full time: 3 years with one year writing up
  • Part time: 6 years of study with one year writing up

Course structure

Compulsory attendance is required for:

1. Initial induction in October 

The first week of the first term to meet supervisors and to undertake a three-day induction. The first two days will be organised by the School of Advanced Study, to introduce PhD researchers across all the SAS institutes (IALS, Institute of English Studies, Institute of Historical Research, the Warburg Institute, Institute of Commonwealth Studies etc) to doctoral studies. Plus, for IALS researchers, there will be a one-day introduction to research degrees in law, to IALS and its Library. This 3-day induction covers:

  • Introduction to your doctoral programme
  • Managing your research project
  • Research ethics
  • Academic writing
  • Building a bibliography
  • Research training to support your doctoral studies
  • Introduction to IALS and the IALS Library
  • Undertaking a PhD in law

2. In depth induction: The intensive research training course in January 

The 10-day research training course (Introduction to Legal Methods Course for MPhil and PhD students) will provide guidance in the following areas:

  • Introduction to PhD research & theories of research
  • Reviewing the literature
  • Defining the question & research design (design, reliability, validity and integrity)
  • Policy analysis
  • Qualitative Methods (1) Participant Observation & 3rd Party;
  • Qualitative Methods (2) Interviewing & Group Interviewing
  • Foreign and International Legal Research
  • Electronic legal research
  • Comparative Research
  • Quantitative Methods
  • Note-taking, Organisation & Data Management
  • Written Style & Writing Issues
  • Research Plan & Next Steps
  • Plus lots more

3. Further attendance

Optional days and weeks of research training are offered which can be completed in the term after the intensive research training course - in London or online. Dates will be released nearer the time. 

Further attendance is required at the point of upgrade from MPhil to PhD (usually between years 1 and 2 for full time students and between years 3 and 4 for part-time students), and for the final PhD viva

The programme will begin running at the end of September. Further details will be released in September. Students are required to engage with further research training online as their programme commences.

The programme is run on the same basis as campus-based programmes. Regular contact with the supervisor is required via video conferencing software. Students will meet with their supervisor in the induction week where future arrangements will be made for the occurrence and means in which meetings will take place. Students will need to demonstrate that they have the appropriate local resources, IT equipment and infrastructure before they can commence study.

Students will benefit from the School’s extensive research training portfolio, online e-resources, podcasting, video recordings, transcriptions and live streaming of research seminars on a wide range of topics to help them complete their research degree.

Research modules will include, but are not limited to, Organising Successful Academic Events, Getting Research Published, Public Speaking, Research Data and Ethics.

Distance students will be supported in the same way that the on-campus students are with the use of video conferencing to supplement face-to-face interaction. Within the induction week distance students will be given the opportunity to meet their student representatives and other students beginning their PhD.

To ensure that the students are fully supported and provided with the best tools and guidance throughout their PhD, applications will be considered on an individual basis. As not all Institutes offer the distance program, each student’s needs will be considered individually and an appropriate Institute and supervisory team recommended.

Tuition fees


  • Up to £6,010 (FT)
  • Up to £3,000 (PT)


  • Up to £15,200 (FT)
  • Up to £9,120 (PT)

Application Deadline

31 August 2019


Annually, autumn term

Page last updated: 25th July 2019