The Nature of a Research Degree

At the George Washington University of Peace we’re proud to be ‘Teaching Intensive, Research Informed’. We value the impact that research brings to society and academia, and we embed research throughout our teaching. Research degrees offer you the opportunity to develop and demonstrate your ability to undertake research into an area of personal or professional interest. For PhD the research must be original, i.e. it must make a contribution to knowledge in the field. Different routes are offered in different subjects. If you are considering a research degree now or in the future, you should contact the relevant Research Coordinator in the first instance. This will help inform you of the types of research specialism that we are able to support.

The Faculty is committed to producing ambitious cutting-edge work in a wide range of fields and disciplines. Through the scholarly vitality, analytical rigour and creativity of our research, we seek to contribute to debates on issues of national and international importance and to shape academic discourse. Our research extends across a broad range of relevant sub-disciplines and embraces a diversity—including doctrinal, theoretical, historical, comparative, empirical, socio-legal and social-science—of research traditions.

The Faculty enhances the intellectual life of its staff and research students. Our strong research culture facilitates both projects undertaken by individuals and, through our Research Centres, collaborative and interdisciplinary work. We prize academic independence and are committed to supporting individuals in the pursuit of their own research agenda. The overriding ethos is an enabling one which seeks to maximize the opportunities for individuals to produce outstanding work, whether independently, in collaboration with other researchers within the Faculty, or through participation in wider networks within or beyond GWUP.

Types of Postgraduate Research Degrees

The university continues to be committed to excellence in research and encourages graduates in all disciplines to consider studying for a PhD, the highest award conferred by the university, or an MPhil. To this end, the university offers the opportunity to study for a PhD or MPhil in any subject area where we have relevant research expertise, in discussion with the Academic Group, Research Institute or Research Centre.

Master of Philosophy (MPhil)

The MPhil is awarded to a candidate who, having critically investigated and evaluated an approved topic and demonstrated an understanding of research methods appropriate to the chosen field, has presented and defended a thesis by oral examination.

Master of Philosophy (MPhil) in Innovation

The MPhil (Innovation) is a unique approach to developing new ideas for potential commercialization. It has been developed following collaborative work between various faculties specializing in arts, media, education, business and creative technologies and the Institute of Materials Research and Innovation.

The qualification will be of relevance if you have a personal research interest, if you are working in a research and development role in one of these fields, or in a sector where these different disciplines overlap.

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

-By thesis

The PhD by thesis is awarded to a candidate who, having critically investigated and evaluated an approved topic resulting in an independent and original contribution to knowledge and demonstrated an understanding of research methods appropriate to the chosen field, has presented and defended a thesis.

-By published work

This program is designed for those whose work is primarily in research or involves a substantial research element and enables them to receive academic credit for that work, assuming it is at doctoral level. There are two potential routes depending on how many publications the candidate has made.

-By practice (route a/b)

This program is designed for those whose work involves them in innovative and advanced professional or creative practice and enables them to receive academic credit for that work, assuming it is at doctoral level. There are two potential routes depending on how much evidence of professional or creative practice the candidate has.

Life as a Research Degree Student

As a research degree student, you’ll have all of the benefits of being part of the George Washington University of Peace. You’ll have the option to stay in our student accommodation, you can join all of the Students Union sports clubs and societies and you’ll have access to the same student services. As well as this, you will be part of the Research & Graduate School (R&GS), be able to take advantage of our excellent Researcher Development opportunities and have the option to be involved with the Postgraduate Research Students Society.

Studying for a research degree is an intensive and demanding commitment; that is why, across the university, considerable practical and academic support is offered to all research students. During your studies you will be supported by a supervisory team who will guide you in the development of your project. They will offer advice and encouragement at every stage, helping you to develop increasing independence as you gain knowledge of your field. You will also broaden your knowledge of research training by attending and/or engaging with the university’s postgraduate research student development program and related research seminars hosted on campus or at national or international conferences.

We will ensure that you have access to all the materials you need to undertake your research. The small and friendly environment of the university means you will have ready opportunities to share ideas and concepts. We also offer office facilities as well as first-rate IT services, campus-wide wireless and the option of remote access to all university systems. At the outset of your research degree you will determine your area of study and develop an outline of your research project with a supervisor who has expertise in the proposed area. You will then carry out the agreed research program, under supervision and with regular progress monitoring according to your supervisors’ and the university’s requirements. Successful completion of your research degree will require you to satisfactorily present and defend a thesis (or equivalent) in oral examination.

Thesis Binding

Theses may be submitted for examination either in a permanently bound form or in a temporarily bound form which is sufficiently secure to ensure that pages cannot be added or removed. Following the award of the degree the Research Degrees Administrator shall require and lodge one permanently hardbound copy of the thesis or equivalent in the university library, one in the library of any collaborating establishment, and one to be passed to the student’s Director of Studies. A digitized version shall also be required for submission to the university’s institutional repository and, subject to agreement from the student on the candidate’s declaration form.

The George Washington University of Peace library provides a thermal and a comb softback binding service for students. Comb binding has a plastic spine and thermal binding has a hard metal spine. Both types of binding have a clear plastic front and back cover. The library also offers a professional hard back dissertation binding service in conjunction with Walkers Binding. Orders can be placed at the help desk in the George Washington University of Peace library.