Postgraduate study

Nursing Studies

Awards: PhD, MPhil, MScR

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding available

Programme website: Nursing Studies

Our Nursing Studies postgraduate students have an outstanding record of contributing to the knowledge and evidence base in nursing. The programme also has a strong tradition of welcoming students from overseas, as well as the UK.

Our main areas of research activity and development currently relate to the themes of experience of health and illness, and organisation and policy for person-centred care.

The main areas of study we can supervise for doctoral research are:

  • critical care
  • emotions and care
  • maternal health
  • addictions and substance misuse
  • public health
  • community care and leadership
  • pain management
  • cancer care
  • nursing education
  • patient safety and quality issues.

We have expertise in a range of qualitative and quantitative and mixed methods research approaches.

Read more about our research on our website:

Nursing Studies research

The MSc by Research in Nursing Studies provides students with an advanced understanding of research design, data collection and data analysis issues in nursing.

The programme is designed for qualified practitioners and graduates and enables students to develop their understanding of debates about research, evidence and practice in relation to nursing and related fields.

The distinctive features of this degree include:

  • integration of generic social science and discipline-specific nursing studies research training and development;
  • social science approaches to research training in nursing studies; and
  • close links with other disciplines including medicine.

The PhD/MPhil programme is an advanced research degree enabling you to conduct in-depth independent research on a topic of your choice.

Normal progression for PhD/MPhil in nursing involves spending the first year preparing for the main research work; taking research training courses, reviewing literature, and developing your research proposal.

Progression to year two of the programme is dependent on a satisfactory outcome from a review board. Typically, the second year is spent doing the body of the research, usually empirical data collection and analysis, and the third year is spent completing the analysis and writing the thesis.

You will be able to attend a wide range of postgraduate seminar courses from across the College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences. There is the opportunity to attend other courses in Nursing Studies as well as a wide range of postgraduate seminar courses within the College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences and related disciplines across the University.

Nursing studies PhD and MPhil students join a 50-year tradition of scholarship. Our students share courses with others from a wide variety of disciplines.

Those doing higher degrees by research usually undertake research training courses, as well as carrying out their own research. PhD students normally have two supervisors, one of whom may be from a different discipline relevant to your interests.

MScR: A UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in nursing. We will also consider your application if your degree is in another subject area but you have a professional qualification in nursing or midwifery.

MPhil and PhD: A UK 2:1 honours degree and a UK masters degree, or their international equivalents, in a relevant subject area. We may also consider your application if you do not have a masters degree, but have other professional qualifications or experience; please contact us to check before you apply.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

All applicants must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of their English language ability:

  • an undergraduate or masters degree, that was taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country as defined by UK Visas and Immigration

  • IELTS: total 7.0 (at least 6.5 in each module)
  • TOEFL-iBT: total 100 (at least 23 in each module)
  • PTE(A): total 67 (at least 61 in each of the "Communicative Skills" sections)
  • CAE and CPE: total 185 (at least 176 in each module)
  • Trinity ISE: ISE III with a pass in all four components

Degrees taught and assessed in English must be no more than two and a half years old at the beginning of your degree programme. Language tests must be no more than two years old at the beginning of your degree programme.

Find out more about our language requirements:

  • School of Health in Social Science
  • Medical School
  • Teviot Place
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9AG

We encourage you to apply at least one month prior to entry so that we have enough time to process your application. If you are also applying for funding or will require a visa then we strongly recommend you apply as early as possible. We may consider late applications if we have places available, but you should contact the relevant Admissions Office for advice first.

You must submit two references with your application.

Find out more about the general application process for postgraduate programmes:

Further information

  • School of Health in Social Science
  • Medical School
  • Teviot Place
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9AG