Studentship FAQ's

Frequently asked questions about Full-time Research Studentships at the Knowledge Media Institute

Student reading

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. 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.

How much is the studentship?

For a full-time funded PhD studentship, you will receive a monthly stipend, for up to 3 years and 3 months. The level of stipend for the academic year 2024-25 will be £18,622.

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. 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. Student visas typically cost £490 and the National Health Service (NHS) surcharge is currently £1,035. To calculate the cost of your visa application, please visit:

I am an EU citizen, do I need a visa?

If you arrived in the UK after BREXIT (i.e., 31 January 2020), you will need a visa. If you were already in the UK before this date, please check the UK government official guidance to clarify your situation.

When should I apply?

KMi studentships begin on 1 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

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. Part-time PhDs are typically self-funded. 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 competitive, so a Masters degree and/or some academic/research experience will help. Secondly, discuss your proposal with the potential supervisor in advance. This will normally be the contact supervisor for the PhD topic 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:

About KMi

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Knowledge Media Institute, The Open University

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The Open University
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United Kingdom

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