Your feedback is important to us
Please take two minutes at the end of your visit to help us improve our information and services.
Skip to content The Open University
On this page

What is an MPhil?

An MPhil is a shorter research degree, completed to the same academic quality as a PhD, but suiting students who are not able to commit to a lengthy period of study.

We also offer, for Computing only, an online, part-time 'Virtual MPhil'.

What will I get from an MPhil?

You will gain a significant grounding in research methods and skills that will equip you either to enter a successful career as a professional in your field of study, or to continue in your studies to complete a PhD.

How does it work?

Duration and pattern of study

An MPhil may be offered on either a full-time or a part-time basis, with a normal study period of 15 months for full-time study or 24 months for part-time study.


Once you have completed your research you must write a 60,000-word thesis, which you submit and then ‘defend’ via an oral examination (a ‘viva’). The thesis will demonstrate your proficiency in research methods, your knowledge and understanding, and a critical evaluation of your academic subject area.

Entry requirements

Applicants should normally hold, or be expecting to obtain, a bachelors degree with at least first or upper-second class honours, or an equivalent qualification. However, entry requirements differ between academic areas, and sometimes a taught masters degree is also required. The research topic pages on the right give details of specific entry requirements, and provide contact details to discuss your suitability for the MPhil with a member of academic staff.

Application closing date

Usually, students are recruited on an annual cycle with a start date of 1 October. This corresponds with external funding patterns and ensures that students benefit from development and training in large peer groups.

Your questions

For advice about applying for a research degree, or sponsoring a research student, send us an email or call +44 (0)1908 654882.