A HAMPSHIRE university can now give research degrees.

Southampton Solent University was granted the rights following an in-depth assessment by the Quality Assurance Agency.

It means students can now study for three, four or five years more and come out with a PhD.

A university spokesperson said: “This is another milestone in our strategic vision to build an excellent university, by giving us direct power to design, deliver and award research degrees, which are the highest degree any university can offer.

“The news paves the way for new opportunities for students and staff to build their research capability and contribute to global knowledge in Solent’s strengths around maritime, sport and health, and digital and creative to name a few.”

Solent’s director of research of innovation, Catherine Lee, welcomed the news.

She said: “I am delighted that the Quality Assurance Agency have recognised both the quality and management of research and the support for research students at Solent.

“The award of research degree awarding powers recognises the university’s ongoing commitment to developing a dynamic research environment and confirms the direction of our research strategy.

“Going forward we will be looking at developing research degrees in our specialist areas including sport and health, maritime, and creative industries.

“These are areas where we have research-active staff and students who are already undertaking significant research.

“We work closely with stakeholders and the potential beneficiaries of our research to ensure that our research has meaningful impact.

“With the award of research degree awarding powers, we are even better placed to develop and deliver research that makes a difference.”

Current research being undertaken by Solent researchers includes seafarers’ welfare in Chinese ports; safety on Merchant Navy vessels; remote engine room technology; support for troubled families; the impacts of virtual reality on maritime education and training; and the design and functional needs of wheelchair rugby athletes.