PhD programme overview

Alternative ways to study 

We are happy to support students who wish to undertake their studies part-time or to work away from Sheffield. Find out more about these modes of attendance below. 

Part-time

The University is happy to support students who wish to undertake their PhD part-time i.e. to combine study with employment and/or other commitments. The time taken to complete a part-time degree may be considerable, usually at least five or six years, and requires both patience and determination on the part of the student. Combining study with other commitments also requires significant time, energy and resources; so it is important that part-time students consider their position carefully before commencing their studies. Given the nature of part-time study, it is especially important to maintain regular contact with your supervisor. Many part-time students are also returning to study after an interval away from regular work of this kind. It is necessary, therefore, for students to work with their supervisor to assess their training needs fully before commencing the degree and to integrate such training within the overall study programme.

Remote location

Sheffield does not have residence requirements for the PhD and we have a number of students who are based some distance away from the university.

The Department is also happy to provide supervision for those reading for a PhD degree as remote location students. Remote location study is available to EU and international students on either a full-time or part-time basis. Students participate in the doctoral development programme and their progress is monitored in the same way as for any full-time or part-time PhD student. The student and their supervisory team should discuss the best methods of maintaining effective contact and conducting supervisory meetings - using methods such as email, Skype and phone to keep in regular contact.

We aim to offer remote location students opportunities to benefit as much as possible from the resources and research environment fostered in Sheffield, and always welcome suggestions on how we might adapt our provision to individual circumstances.

Remote location study


Registration and fees

The PhD programme includes a period of registration where full tuition fees are payable. You should aim to submit your thesis by the end of this period. However a writing up period is available if you require a little more time, for this period of study continuation fees are payable. Continuation fees are payable when registering for the writing up period. Students are required to pay the continuation fee in full at the beginning of their writing up year and will be refunded any over-payment, on a pro rata basis. To encourage students to submit their theses in good time, the full continuation fee will be reimbursed for those students who submit within the first three months of the writing up period. 

Tuition and continuation fees

Full-time

  • Three years registration
  • One year writing up period

Part-time

  • Six years registration
  • Two year writing up period

Remote location

  • Registration and writing up periods follow the standard full-time or part-time format as appropriate

Funded students

If your studies are funded through the University or an external funding body such as WRoCAH or the Wolfson Foundation, please remember that this funding is for three years full-time or six part-time only. Continuation fees and maintenance for the writing up period are not covered within the scholarship award. 

Information for scholarship holders


Supervision and progress 

All students have a supervisory team, usually made up of a primary and a secondary supervisor. You should already know who your primary supervisor is and are likely to have had at least some contact with them before you arrive. You will be given information about your secondary supervisor when you begin your studies. When you arrive you and your supervisors should agree a schedule of work. During the course of your research, you will have regular meetings with your supervisor(s) to discuss your progress with your research and development. In addition to these meetings, all students will have annual and bi-annual reviews. Before you enter your second year (third year for part-time students) you will also undertake a Confirmation Review process to have your status as a PhD student confirmed. 

Supervision Reviewing your progress Annual research cycle and key dates

Full-time

Supervision meetings

  • Every 4 weeks

Annual and bi-annual reviews

  • Take place every year

Confirmation review

  • Takes place at the end of the first year

Part-time

Supervision meetings

  • Every 8 weeks

Annual and bi-annual reviews

  • Take place every year

Confirmation review

  • Takes place at the end of the second year

Remote location

Supervision meetings

  • Follow the full-time or part-time format as appropriate
  • Meetings can take place via Skype or phone

Annual and bi-annual reviews

  • Take place every year
  • Meetings can take place via Skype

Confirmation review

  • Follow the full-time or part-time format as appropriate
  • Confirmation review should normally be held in Sheffield with remote location students attending in person

Doctoral Development Programme

The DDP is a flexible, on-going training plan that is an integral part of a student's PhD degree and can be tailored to your individual needs - it helps you progress through your research studies by identifying the skills and experience that you already have and providing opportunities to enhance your existing skills and to acquire new skills and experience. The DDP is compulsory for all research students including part-time and remote location students.

Skills development and the DDP