Following are some of the top ranking UK universities offering their PhD degree via distance learning:

University of Essex
- Essex offers the Distance-learning PhD by Supervised Research. If you live outside the UK and hold a good Master's degree from a UK university or its equivalent, you may apply to undertake a PhD by supervised research on a part-time basis while continuing to live abroad.
- Distance PhD students register for a minimum period of six years part-time study.
- The University of Essex has been ranked in the top 300 universities globally in the Times Higher Education – QS World University Rankings.

University of Leicester
- The School of Law offers PhD by distance learning. Students can register in October, January, May or July each year.
- It is a part-time programme leading to a University of Leicester Doctor of Philosophy award. All research students in the School of Law become members of the University Graduate School.
- Registration is for a minimum of three years and a maximum of six years.
- The University of Leicester is ranked 12th in the UK according to the Guardian University Guide 2011.

Aston University
- It offers the PhD in Applied Linguistics (by distance learning).
- The programme is designed to meet the needs of individual students. During the first two years (of the part-time programme), all students will complete core Research Methods training.
- Aston University has been ranked 17th in the UK in The Independent’s Complete University Guide 2011.

The University of Bolton
- The Business, Leadership, Innovation and Systems (BLIS) Research Centre offers a PhD programme for professionals, graduates and career-minded individuals who seek to develop as a managerial, industrial, or an academic professional in their chosen field of study.
- The course is taught by distance learning with visits the University of Bolton. There are no fixed attendance times for this course, but attendance at relevant sessions of the university’s postgraduate training programme is encouraged.

* Suggested Reading:

Distance Learning MBA in UK

Distance Learning Doctoral Programs

World University Ranking Tables

America - US News & World Report, The Princeton Review, BusinessWeek
Canada - Maclean's, Gourman Report Ranking of Canadian Universities
UK - Sunday Times, Guardian, Times Good University Guide, Daily Telegraph
World - Shanghai Jiao Tong ARWU Rankings, Webometrics, Newsweek
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