Postgraduate study

Interdisciplinary Social Sciences in Health

Awards: PhD

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding available

A PhD in Interdisciplinary Social Sciences in Health offers a focus on innovative and cross-disciplinary health and social care research.

The focus includes current drivers within health and social care policy and practice towards partnership and collaborative working and the re-orientation of services and supports around the needs and aspirations of the individual, transcending professional boundaries.

Interdisciplinary social sciences in health is a strongly research-active subject area.

We offer interdisciplinary expertise and specific research strengths in older people, dementia, integration of health and social care services, changing workforce patterns, learning disability, intensive care and pain.

Our work draws on a broad range of qualitative methods including narrative, reflexive and case study approaches and we are particularly committed to participatory ways of working. Many of our staff also have extensive track records in evaluation research.

We offer an inclusive research environment with an emphasis on developing work with wide impact and opportunities for knowledge exchange and translation across a variety of organisations outside the University. Many of our research projects draw on partnership working with bodies such as the NHS, local authorities, hospitals and care settings. We focus on innovative approaches to research and welcome projects that challenge methodological and disciplinary boundaries. We are also able to work collaboratively with other Schools and universities to provide research support.

Our staff embrace a range of academic disciplines, including sociology, geography, social anthropology, social policy and healthcare studies. From these perspectives we examine the overlapping concerns of research, policy and practice in health and social care.

Broad themes in our research portfolio include ageing, dementia, intellectual disabilities, disability, care, critical care, pain, emotion, and service improvement within health and social care.

We welcome projects utilising a range of research designs and have special interests in qualitative and collaborative research and innovative methods. We are keen to encourage research around the interface between social and cultural aspects of health, and the policy and practice contexts of healthcare delivery.

More information about our research interests and publications can be found on our website: Interdisciplinary Social Sciences in Health people directory

Our PhD students are supported through regular meetings with two supervisors able to provide expertise in the relevant fields of interest.

All students have access to the considerable resources available across the College of Humanities & Social Science in research methods training, professional skills development, seminars and workshops.

You will be encouraged to take part in the varied activities of our postgraduate research student community, including presenting your work at internal and external conferences and publishing your findings.

Prospective applicants should hold a first or upper second class honours degree in a relevant subject. A Masters degree is desirable.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of your spoken and written English:

For start dates up to 31 August 2016:

  • IELTS: 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)
  • CAE and CPE: total 176 (at least 169 in each module)

For start dates from 1 September 2016 and beyond:

  • 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)

If you completed a CAE or CPE before January 2015 please contact the Admissions Office for the accepted grades.

Find out more about our language requirements:

  • Postgraduate Administrator
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 651 3969
  • Email: health@ed.ac.uk
  • Postgraduate Research Admissions Secretary
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 651 5144
  • Email: health@ed.ac.uk
  • 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

  • Postgraduate Administrator
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 651 3969
  • Email: health@ed.ac.uk
  • Postgraduate Research Admissions Secretary
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 651 5144
  • Email: health@ed.ac.uk
  • School of Health in Social Science
  • Medical School
  • Teviot Place
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9AG