Integrated PhDs

Study at both Masters and research level

This image is of a male electronic engineering research student in a lab doing some project work.

Become a game-changing researcher

At Essex we offer a range of Integrated PhDs. These are postgraduate courses which enable you to spend a year studying at Masters level before beginning a PhD where you will focus on a specific area of research.


We offer a wide range of Integrated PhDs across the social sciences, arts and humanities, and science and health.

Why an Integrated PhD?
  • Study at Masters-level and then conduct your own research - be awarded a PhD at the end of the course.
  • Gain the skills you need in the first Masters-level year in order to undertake research study.
  • Receive guidance, supervision and expert teaching from world-class academics.

What is an Integrated PhD?

A traditional Integrated PhD provides a route into research study if you do not have a Masters degree, or have very little research training. It enables you to spend your first year completing Masters-level training, followed by a full-time PhD. The PhD element of the course will allow you to study your chosen subject in depth, whilst being supervised by one or more members of our academic staff.

What is an Integrated PhD with research and communication skills?

We have recently introduced a brand new type of Integrated PhD which includes additional research and communication skills.

We recognise and understand the importance of continuing professional development for students and have designed these research programmes for students who do not have English as a first language and may have been studying in a different country, or have been out of a traditional academic environment for some time.

These tailor-made research degrees seek to give you the best underpinning for your doctoral studies. A core aim is for students to refine their English language skills for scholarly communication, enhance academic skills for postgraduate study, hone higher-level research skills, and master how to study and manage academic work in the UK.

These Integrated PhDs do not include a Masters degree in their first year, like other existing Integrated PhDs offered at Essex. You will enrol with the intention of achieving a PhD award, with only a PG Diploma or PG Certificate available as exit awards after the first year. You will take a number of core and compulsory modules in your first year, and the next three years will be conducting your individual research project. 

Currently, the research degrees on offer are:

How is an Integrated PhD different from a standard PhD?

Integrated PhDs are different from standard PhDs in a few ways.

  • An Integrated PhD combines both taught study (in your first year) as well as independent research (during the PhD element of the course).
  • An Integrated PhD should take longer to complete than a standard PhD (because it includes the Masters-level year).
  • Integrated PhDs are designed for students who have not previously completed a Masters course but are particularly interested in pursuing research study.

Which departments offer Integrated PhDs?

How long does an Integrated PhD take to complete?

An Integrated PhD can take anywhere from 4-8 years to complete, depending on your study mode. The first year can only be studied full-time, which will take you a year to complete. When you begin the PhD element of the course, this will take you a further 3-4 years studying full-time, or 6-7 years studying part-time.

Where will I be based?

All of our Integrated PhDs are taught and supervised from our Colchester Campus, except for three Essex Business School courses, which are based at our Southend Campus. These are:

  • Integrated PhD Business Administration
  • Integrated PhD Management Studies
  • Integrated PhD Entrepreneurship

How will I be assessed?

During your PhD element of the course, you will undertake a large, independent research project and you will be examined by viva. Short for 'viva voce', the viva is an oral examination in which examiners (usually two) pose questions to the candidate about their thesis. The assessment of your Masters-level year will depend on the specific course you are studying, but this is usually a combination of coursework, a dissertation and examinations.

What qualification will I achieve?

Upon successful completion of the full course, you will gain a PhD. If you only complete the first year, you will receive either a Masters qualification, if you study one of the traditional Integrated PhDs, or a PG Diploma or PG Certificate if you study one of the Integrated PhDs with researh and communication skills. 

Is there any funding available?

We have a wide range of funding sources available for postgraduate students - from loans and discounts to bursaries and scholarships. Visit our fees and funding page to learn more about the different options that may be applicable to you.

How do I apply?

Check out the detailed information on our postgraduate research applying page, which describes step-by-step what you need to do to apply. This page also covers the application deadlines for our research degrees.

I am an international student. Is there anything extra I need to know?

If you require a student visa to study in the UK, then we will issue a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) to you when you have met the requirements for this. The CAS will allow you to make a single visa application for a student visa which will cover the full duration of the Integrated PhD course.

Two researchers talking over a laptop
Find a supervisor

If you have a good idea about what the focus of your research will be, you'll need to find a suitable supervisor at Essex. Search for a research area or subject first and then make contact with a supervisor to discuss your ideas before you apply.

Find a supervisor