Postgraduate study

Health in Social Science

Awards: PhD

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding available

Programme website: Health in Social Science

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

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.

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 Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences 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.

The PhD by Distance is available to suitably qualified applicants in the same areas as our on-campus programmes: Clinical Psychology, Counselling and Psychotherapy, Health in Social Science and Nursing Studies.

The programme allows students who are unable to commit to basing themselves in Edinburgh full time to study for a PhD in a field of Health in Social Science from their home country or city - however this is not intended to be a fully online distance learning programme.

Students enrolled on this programme will be expected to come to Edinburgh at least once per year of study to meet with their supervisors. The length and timing of these visits are negotiable but students should expect to spend at least two weeks at the University of Edinburgh during each year of study.

For further information on the programme (including entry requirements and how to apply) please see the school website:

A UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in a relevant subject area.

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:

  • Postgraduate Research Admissions Secretary
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 651 5144
  • 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 Research Admissions Secretary
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 651 5144
  • 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