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The Open University

Open to people, places, methods and ideas, choose The Open University for your PhD study

Why choose The Open University?

The Open University is unique among UK universities in combining a mission to widen access to higher education with research excellence. Research and knowledge exchange is fundamental to The Open University's founding principle: to be 'open to people, places, methods and ideas’.

As the largest academic institution in the UK and a world leader in flexible learning, we’re renowned for our taught undergraduate and postgraduate programmes. We offer cutting-edge PhDs and Professional Doctorates too and came 5th for overall satisfaction in PRES 2019.

The OU Graduate School encompasses a community of around 900 postgraduate research students (PGRSs) at our campus in Milton Keynes and around the globe. We offer fully-funded studentships via routes that include Doctoral Training Partnerships (DTPs) and Centres for Doctoral Training (CDTs).

Our research students are supervised by academics who are leading experts and benefit from a comprehensive programme of research skills training with access to laboratories with state-of-the-art equipment.

The OU Graduate School welcomes applications from candidates across a broad range of research areas.

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The Open University

Fully Funded Studentships

The Open University is proud be a member of Doctoral Training Partnerships (DTPs) and Centres for Doctoral Training (CDTs) providing a structured training environment for cohorts of students. Through these partnerships we offer fully funded studentship opportunities. These are usually advertised from October on our Studentships page.

Pooling our experience and resources with other universities, research organisations and industry partners, we are developing the research leaders of the future.

Some examples of The Open University’s current partnerships:

Open-Oxford-Cambridge AHRC Doctoral Training Partnership (OOC-DTP)
Partners: University of Oxford and University of Cambridge

The Nuclear Energy Futures Centre for Doctoral Training (NEF-CDT)
Partners: Imperial College London and University of Cambridge

The Central England NERC Training Alliance (CENTA)
Partners: University of Birmingham, University of Leicester, Loughborough University, University of Warwick, Cranfield University, British Geological Survey and Centre for Ecology & Hydrology

The Grand Union: Excellence and innovation in social science research training (GUDTP)
Partners: University of Oxford and Brunel University London

Please also check our Faculty webpages for information about their research degrees:

The Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics
The Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies
The Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
The Faculty of Business and Law

The Open University

Affiliated Research Centres

The Open University's Affiliated Research Centre (ARC) programme enables leading research institutes from around the world, who do not have their own research degree awarding powers, to provide doctoral training with our support.

Find out more

Apply now

It's easy to begin your postgraduate study with us, and every year we help thousands of people achieve extraordinary things. So what’s stopping you?

Apply now

Hear what some of our Current Students say:

‘It’s been an absolute rocket ride.’ David Pride, Knowledge Media Institute

‘Everything is seen as an advantage, life experience, rather than something that holds you back’ Kelleigh Greene, Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths

‘All research here is world-class and I get to be involved in that’ Heidi Thiemann, Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths

‘I connected with the ethos of the OU’ Jo Vincett, Faculty of Business and Law

‘My experience has been liberating, intellectually stimulating, just wonderful, and life-changing’ Grainne O’Connor, Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies

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