Postgraduate study

Population Health Sciences

Awards: PhD, MScR

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding available

Programme website: Population Health Sciences

The Usher Institute of Population Health Sciences & Informatics supervises postgraduate research students in a wide range of population health disciplines, including epidemiology, genetic epidemiology, health promotion, health services research, medical statistics, molecular epidemiology and sociology and on a wide range of topics including allergic and respiratory disease, clinical trial and statistics methodology, eHealth, ethnicity and health, genetic epidemiology of complex diseases, global health, palliative care and cancer, society and health and families and relationships.

A principal aim is to foster interdisciplinary research involving quantitative and qualitative approaches via effective collaboration with biomedical scientists, epidemiologists, social scientists and clinical researchers throughout the University and beyond.

Prospective students are encouraged to align their research proposal with one of the Institute's main areas of research and with the research interests of academic members of staff who may act as first supervisors.

Students will be integrated within the existing student-led approach at the Usher Institute, where structures are already in place to ensure a high-quality student experience.

The Centre for Population Health Sciences, which forms a large part of the Usher Institute, has a thriving PhD community with well-developed management and administrative structures.

University Quality Assurance monitoring and reporting processes will be adhered to. All supervisors will satisfy University requirements in terms of training and mentoring.

Expectations on the students, including assessment guidelines, will be clearly communicated by multiple channels (e.g. at interview, during induction, in the Postgraduate Research Student and Supervisor Handbook, by supervisors, at annual review meetings and on relevant web pages). All students will have at least two supervisors who will also give pastoral care and career advice in addition to student services provision.

Students will attend appropriate training, including transferrable skills, at appropriate courses (e.g. from the Institute of Academic Development) identified in consultation with the supervisors.

The Usher Institute of Population Health Sciences & Informatics brings together researchers active in population health science research, including public health and primary care.

Within the school the Usher academic staff play a large role in research project supervision.

There are also links with the Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine and the Queen's Medical Research Institute.

MSc by Research: A UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent.

PhD: A UK 2:1 honours degree and a UK masters degree, or their international equivalents. We will also consider a UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, and significant work experience in an area relevant to your research project.

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 Academic: total 6.5 (at least 6.0 in each module)
  • TOEFL-iBT: total 92 (at least 20 in each module)
  • PTE(A): total 61 (at least 56 in each of the "Communicative Skills" sections; the "Enabling Skills" sections are not considered)
  • CAE and CPE: total 176 (at least 169 in each module)
  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with distinctions 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:

For detailed information on fee status, policies and payment see:

Additional costs apply to this programme: £1,000 for research costs.

You will be responsible for securing funding to cover all your tuition fees, additional fees and living costs for the duration of your studies. For guidelines on living costs see:

For a list of currently available funded projects, and information regarding potential funding sources for postgraduate research students, please visit the Usher Institute webpage:

See Scholarships and Student Funding Services for other funding opportunities:

  • Postgraduate Administrator, Sebastien Georges
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 651 5446
  • Email: s.georges@ed.ac.uk
  • Chair, Research Degree Committee, Dr Jackie Price
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 650 3227
  • Email: s.georges@ed.ac.uk
  • Usher Institute of Population Health Sciences & Informatics
  • 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.

Before making your application, it is advisable to make contact with a potential supervisor to discuss your research proposal. Further information on making a research degree application can be found on the College website:

You will be formally interviewed (in person, by video-conferencing or Skype).

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

Further information

  • Postgraduate Administrator, Sebastien Georges
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 651 5446
  • Email: s.georges@ed.ac.uk
  • Chair, Research Degree Committee, Dr Jackie Price
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 650 3227
  • Email: s.georges@ed.ac.uk
  • Usher Institute of Population Health Sciences & Informatics
  • Teviot Place
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9AG