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Types of courses

King's College London students in a lecture at the Denmark Hill Campus

King's offers an extensive range of postgraduate-level qualifications. Our courses encompass pioneering research and world-class teaching and takes traditional subjects forward through interdisciplinary approaches such as business and cultural links, and the use of digital tools in the humanities.

Whatever your reasons, King's offers an extensive range of postgraduate-level qualifications. These are divided into two general areas:

Studying for a taught degree

Certificates and diplomas

King's offers a small number of certificate courses in different subject areas generally suitable for students who have studied to degree level but do not have the specific area of expertise to undertake a specialist master’s course.

Postgraduate diplomas include taught elements that make up an accompanying master’s course but do not have the dissertation element and normally take nine months to complete.

For information on the nature of individual certificate and diploma courses, and how they may relate to master's courses, please browse our postgraduate courses to see the individual course descriptions.

Taught Master’s

King’s offers around 300 taught courses across our nine Schools of study and global institutes, providing qualifications including MA, MSc, LLM, MMus, MPH and MClinDent. 

Taught courses normally take one year to complete full-time (two years part-time) although some courses may be longer. Most courses begin in September of each year and a few may begin in January.

For further information on taught master's degrees developed by the four UK Higher Education Funding Bodies, please see Steps to Postgraduate Study.

Taught Master’s by Research (MRes)

MRes courses, normally 12 months in length, contain substantial research training in the relevant discipline which may be useful if you are planning to progress to a PhD, but need to complete a master’s course. 

If you are considering a career in research, either in academia or the commercial world or if you are not certain whether a PhD is right for you, it can provide you with some idea of what a research-based degree is like.

Search for an MRes course at King's

Studying for a research degree

PhD and MPhil

Increasingly, a PhD is recognised as the first step in an academic research career and as a qualification valued in many professional areas as an indication of academic excellence and high level skills. Our PhD courses provide you with a unique and academically rigorous experience whilst equipping you with the skills you need for your chosen career. We aim to have an appropriate research supervisory framework, together with training and development to support you throughout your PhD so that you can get the most from our postgraduate community.

Whether you study full or part-time, your PhD will require enormous commitment from both you and King’s: we therefore strongly encourage you to contact the department or research division in which you wish to study, and discuss your research aims in-depth, before you apply.

All students register initially for the MPhil course and are then permitted upgrade to the PhD course usually within three to five terms of work. To achieve upgrade:

  • Submit at least two substantial pieces of written work (thesis chapters)

  • Presenting an aspect of the research at a seminar

  • Succeed at upgrade interview. 

Usually this means that a student registering on to the MPhil/PhD will aim to complete their PhD within three to four years (if full time).

Search for a PhD course at King's

Professional doctorates

If you want to continue your postgraduate study to doctoral level, have a master’s level qualification and several years’ professional experience, one of our professional doctorates will allow you to enhance and integrate your professional practice with academic work. Academically equivalent in level to a traditional PhD, King's currently offers:

Professional doctorates vary in length and study mode, but last a minimum of three years. All except the DClinPsy are studied part-time.

Please browse our postgraduate courses for more information about the individual programmes offered at King's.


The MD(Res) degree is aimed specifically at students in clinical practice, undertaking research in any branch of medicine, or surgery or medical science, within King's.

As with other research degrees, the MD(Res) is assessed on the basis of the submission of a thesis, however, there is the option for King’s students to submit the thesis in the form of a series of publications, supplemented by an introduction and conclusion. Students wishing to opt for this format would need to specify this prior to registration. 

Please browse our postgraduate courses for more information.


The Department of Philosophy offers MPhilStud for students who have an undergraduate degree in which philosophy was a major component and who want to research further. 

The MPhilStud lasts for two years full-time (between three and four years part time), and involves studying three areas of philosophy in depth.

Joint / Dual PhD

King’s partnerships with world-leading international universities provide a number of joint PhD courses. These enable research students to embark on joint degrees (conferred by both institutions) that considerably enhance their research and employment opportunities on an international scale. Students are registered at both institutions and usually divide their study period equally.

A list of current courses and frequently asked questions can be found on the King’s Worldwide webpages.

You can also browse our postgraduate courses for more information on application procedures for these programmes.

Study Options

Our postgraduate courses are as flexible as possible and, where appropriate, are timetabled on a particular day or days so you can plan attendance to fit in with other commitments.

Start dates

Most of our taught courses start in late September with the remainder in January. It is possible to start a PhD at different points throughout the year although most students start in the autumn.

Full-time courses

Taught courses are normally 12 months in length although a small number are longer than this. Full-time PhD degrees generally extend for three years, with some disciplines offering four-year courses.

Part-time courses

Part-time courses generally last twice as long as the full-time equivalent. Some postgraduate courses run in the early evening. Please browse our postgraduate courses to find out if a course is available part-time, and/or by distance learning.

Distance and e-learning

King's also runs a number of distance and e-courses in:

  • Dentistry

  • Law

  • War Studies

Many courses at postgraduate level include an element of blended learning to aid study. Please browse our postgraduate courses for more information on study mode, and the format and assessment of each course.

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View our postgraduate guide

Learn more about postgraduate degree programmes at King's.

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