Frequently asked questions about Full-time Research Studentships at the Knowledge Media Institute
What are the areas of PhD research in KMi?
KMi projects target socially responsible research. Broadly speaking, PhDs in KMi tend to be in knowledge technologies, human-computer interaction, and learning sciences. For the 2022 recruitment, we have a particular interest in the topics blockchain and decentralised systems, computational social science, data science and extended intelligence, and new media in society. Please see our studentship vacancies for more details about the research topics and supervisors.
You will probably get a pretty good idea of what we're up to from our website, especially the projects and technologies. We also positively encourage interdisciplinary work.
However, it is essential that you find a supervisor that can help and work with you for the time of your studentship; if you don't have that, we won't be able to help you.
Is the PhD distance learning?
No. Although the OU is a distance learning university, our PhDs are face-to-face. If you are a full-time PhD student, you are expected to meet the supervision team regularly on the Milton Keynes campus.
In addition, you are expected to join the PostGraduate Forum (PG forum), the community of PhD students across KMi and C&C (School of Computing and Communications), for a training program on research related topics. The PGForum meets on a weekly basis.
While COVID-19 restrictions have been in place, our activities have happened mostly online. Little by little, we are resuming face-to-face activities, including supervision meetings.
How much is the studentship?
For full-time fully-funded PhD vacancies, you will receive a grant of £15,609 per year tax-free for 2022/23.
Can I apply, even though I'm not from the UK?
Yes, you can! KMi is truly international (in fact most of us are not from the UK) and we welcome applications from all over the world. If you need a visa, the Open University will provide a Confirmation of Acceptance (CAS) with your offer letter, to enable you to apply for a visa before your study begins. Details of the visa process may be found on the UK Visas and Immigration website. The current fee for a student visa is £348, with an additional £348 fee per person for any dependents. Keep in mind that you will also need to pay a healthcare surcharge per year in order to access the National Health Service (NHS) during your stay.
I am an EU citizen, do I need a visa?
If you arrived in the UK after BREXIT (31/01/2020), you will need a visa. If you were already in the UK before this date, please check the UK government official guidance to analyse your situation.
When should I apply?
KMi studentships begin on 1st October each year, unless there are very exceptional circumstances. Deadlines for applications vary each year - please see our studentship vacancies page for details about current opportunities and deadlines.
How do I apply?
The relevant application form can be found at http://www.open.ac.uk/postgraduate/research-degrees/.
It is essential that you include both a proposal and a CV with your application. These are central to our judging of applications, both at shortlisting time and afterwards. Follow the links and directions on the KMi Studentship page to find out which specific projects are seeking students this year.
What about part-time study?
Yes, you can do that with us as well, but we normally expect our part-time students to be UK residents. There is also a difference between working with us locally, or at a distance in the support we can provide you. It all depends on individual supervisors as to whether they wish to consider part-time / distance PhDs. See the note on part-time PhDs
How much does a part-time PhD cost, and how long might it take?
See the Research School's prospectus information on fees:
A typical part-time PhD will take 5 to 6 years to complete.
How can I make my application as strong as possible?
Firstly, KMi studentships are pretty competitive, so a Masters degree and/or some academic/research experience will help a lot as well. Finally, many people who have done Masters projects with us, or who have worked with us as summer interns, have gone on to take PhDs with us as well. Don't let this put you off if you haven't done one, but you might want to consider working with us for a couple of months doing a Masters project, or something similar, to boost your application.
Secondly, discuss your proposal with a member of staff in advance. This will normally be the contact person for the PhD project in question.
What about combining a PhD with a Research Assistantship?
If you get an RA place in KMI, you can register to do a PhD part-time if your line manager supports you. Check the Jobs pages for details of vacancies: http://kmi.open.ac.uk/jobs/