Research study - Distance mode

Carry out your PhD or MRes research from anywhere content

Carry out your PhD or MRes research from anywhere

Undertaking full-time or part-time research by distance offers a more flexible way to achieve a UHI PhD or Master’s by Research degree, wherever you are based. Please note, this option is not available for students who hold, or intend to hold, a Tier 4/Student Route visa.

Person using a laptop at a desk

Distance mode is offered on the same basis as our campus-based equivalent, and you will –

  • undertake a substantial research project within a defined timeframe and submit a thesis which you defend in an oral examination (viva voce),
  • work under the guidance of a supervisory team, led by a Director of Studies, all of whom will have relevant academic expertise and will help you plan and manage your research,
  • stay connected with your supervisors and other researchers through the university’s videoconferencing technology,
  • access online training, materials, and resources to support your academic and personal development,
  • access electronic library resources and services specifically aimed at researchers.

You will be just as much a part of our postgraduate research student community as campus-based research students and other researchers and, as far as possible, you will be encouraged to participate in online forums and other research events.

You will normally be expected to spend a minimum of 6 months (PhD) or 2 months (MRes) on-campus over the course of your registration and the length and timing of these visits are negotiable and to be agreed with your supervisors but are not likely to be less than one week in duration.

Distance mode may not be feasible for some areas of research, or if the project needs a lab or specialist facilities for a significant part of the research activity. As part of the admissions process, it will be considered whether distance mode is right for you and your research project. Please also be aware that some funding bodies do not permit students to undertake their studies solely at a distance - the onus would be on you to check in advance that a potential funder would permit this mode.

If you would like to be considered for distance mode, please see our How to Apply information. The entry requirements for distance mode are the same as for on-campus programmes, however before contacting a potential supervisor you should consider the following:

  • Will you need access to specialist library resources, laboratory facilities or fieldwork locations – if so, will they be near to where you will be based?
  • Are any of the required resources owned or managed by another person or institution, e.g., your employer – if so, will they permit you to use them for your research?
  • Do you have access to suitable study space, IT facilities and/or equipment that will enable you to engage with the university, i.e., email, videoconferencing, online materials?
  • Do you require local support for any study-related disability or wellbeing needs?

You may also wish to review our Code of Practice for Postgraduate Research Degrees, which provides regulatory and procedural information applicable for all research student applicants and students.