Research Degrees

Postgraduate Diploma


Please note: Currently, applications are only invited from UK and EU prospective candidates.


Research at Markfield Institute of Higher Education

Since 2000, Markfield Institute has prioritised research as a major developmental goal and has offered doctorate level programmes on topics related to Islamic Studies, Islamic Education, and Islamic Banking, Finance and Management. Since its inception, the Postgraduate Research Degrees Programme (including MPhil and PhD) has attracted many national and international students who have successfully obtained research degrees.

The Institute has effectively developed a competent supervisory capacity encompassing a range of expertise related to Islam in a contemporary context. In addition to MIHE’s active research staff, the Institute has developed a network of researchers and visiting scholars, who enhance and contribute to the ongoing research projects initiated by the Institute. The Institute organises a range of research training initiatives benefitting staff and research students.  Regular research seminars, workshops, symposiums and conferences facilitate the cross-fertilisation of ideas and thinking, and share best research practices.

Partnership with the Catholic University of Leuven

Formerly, Markfield Institute offered its research degree programme in partnership with the University of Portsmouth, Loughborough University and the University of Gloucestershire. MPhil/PhD research degree programmes are currently offered in partnership with the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies, Catholic University of Leuven (KU Leuven) Belgium.

Study modes:

Full time:        3 years

Part-time:       6 years


Full time:        £3,700 per annum

Part-time:       £1,900 per annum

Entry Requirements

Candidates wishing to apply for admission onto the research degree programme must hold a UK equivalent Bachelor’s degree with honours, or a Master’s degree in a cognate area. Copies of all academic qualifications, proof of identity, and names and contact addresses of two academic referees are required.

When to Apply

Applications are welcomed throughout the year.

Research Areas

Applicants pursuing research interests in the following and related areas are eligible to  apply:

  • Islamic Studies (History, Philosophy and Theology, Ethics, Law, the Qur’an, Hadith/Sunnah and Sirah);
  • Islam and Educational Studies;
  • Islamic Economics, Finance, Micro-finance, Accounting and Banking;
  • Christian-Muslim Relations;
  • Inter-Faith Relations;
  • Pastoral Care (Chaplaincy) and Counselling;
  • Muslims in Britain;
  • Islam and Modernity;
  • Islamic Revivalism, Islam and Politics, Democracy and Social Change;
  • Sustainable Development and Corporate Social Responsibility;
  • Management including Cross-cultural Management;
  • Social, Economic and Political Implications of Technology.

Application Process

Applications are submitted using the online application form. On receipt of your application you will be contacted by the Research Administrator who will provide instructions on submitting your initial research proposal, which should not exceed 2,000 words. The initial research proposal should include the following information:

  • Title (working title of your proposed research)
  • Abstract (up to 200 words)
  • Background information/brief summary of literature to highlight why your research will be important and what gaps in literature it aims to fill
  • The hypothesis/key arguments and objectives
  • Research methodology
  • Ethical considerations
  • Summary and conclusions

Your application and proposal will be considered by the Research Committee. If successful, you will be assigned research supervisors (a minimum of two) from both the Markfield Institute and the KU Leuven, Belgium.

Requirements for registering research students

Once you formally commence your research you will attend a series of research training sessions and research supervision meetings (where you will receive guidance and support, enabling progress to be monitored). Research students are expected to remain in close contact with their supervisory team. Opportunities may arise for research degree students to engage in sessional teaching at the Institute.  Students are supported throughout this process.

The first six months are used to finalise your research proposal and plan the research project. This is subject to approval by both Markfield Institute and KU Leuven, Belgium, and determines whether you are permitted to proceed with the MPhil/PhD programme.

Guidelines for writing a research proposal

It is expected when you apply for a research degree that you should have a clear research topic in mind and are also aware of the disciplines related to this topic.  Try to introduce your topic by making references to the previously published relevant research and make sure you illustrate familiarity with published research in related fields.

In the initial stage of your application we would like to have at least a basic concept research paper [between 1,500 to 2,000 words] containing the following central components:

A tentative initial title


Section in which you introduce your topic within your own person professional context as well as within the relevant disciplines reflecting the topic.  This section should ideally end by clearly stating the main research problematic and central research questions to be explored

Aims and Objectives

State why the aims would reflect the broad purpose of conducting the research.  The objectives should reflect the distinct research questions identified above. If you have three distinct questions you may simply turn these questions into three specific objectives.

Research Methodology

This section should clarify the broad methodological orientation of the study as well as the distinct methods of data collection and why the use of a particular research instrument. The nature of your research topic and questions will determine the broad methodological choice and adoption of the appropriate research design for the study.  Usually within broad social sciences if the topic is empirical i.e requiring field work, then the research design should reflect either quantitative or qualitative methodological framework.  Furthermore, assembling procedures and instruments of data collection (i.e interviews/ questionnaires) should be made clear.

If your topic is related to classical Islamic studies discipline then your methodological choice will reflect broadly a historical/critical comparative textual analysis.  As such you will be clarifying your primary sources together with secondary and contemporary related literature.  You have to make sure you are following an appropriate transliteration and the historical context of the proposed study.

Significance of the study

Here briefly state the overall importance of conducting the research including the potential implications of the research for the related policy makers and wider audience of the study.  Make sure that the originality of the proposed topic is also highlighted.

Basic references and bibliography

Mention selected relevant studies in the form of books/ academic articles or reports.  Make sure you consistently follow a referencing style i.e. the Harvard system.  Include a few references to help you successfully complete your research proposal.