School of Health in Social Science

Programme Structure

The PhD programme runs over three years full-time and six years part-time. Some leeway is allowed for writing up, and maximum periods of study are 4 years full-time and 7 years part-time.

Full-Time Study

In the first year, students typically are engaged with developing their project, conducting an initial literature review and getting ready for data collection. In May or June of the first year, students are required to produce a formal proposal of work that sets out the topic of the research, the methodology to be used and a plan for carrying out the necessary work.

This is assessed by an internal panel that reviews the likely suitability and quality of the project, and students are only able to proceed with a satisfactory outcome. During the year students may also choose a number of optional taught postgraduate courses from within the School of Health, or other Schools within the University, as appropriate to their research programme and as agreed with their supervisors.

Students also have the opportunity to undertake short transferable skills training sessions from a comprehensive suite of workshops covering areas such as Research Planning, Communication, Professional Development and Information Technology offered by the Institute of Academic Development.

In the second year students may still take some formal research training or other courses as well as skills workshops. However the main body of work at this stage is usually data collection, analysis and writing.

The final year of the PhD programme primarily focuses on completion of any remaining practical aspects of the project and final analysis. This can then be written up and completed ready for submission at the end of the third year. Training courses and workshops remain available to students.

Full-time students are expected to remain in Edinburgh throughout their period of study except for approved leave of absence for the purposes of data collection and fieldwork. The timing and duration of these periods will depend on the nature and progress of the student's research and cannot be arranged in advance at the time of admission.

Part-Time Study

The first year of study for part-time students is typically a busy one as their research projects need to be sufficiently developed for presentation to a review panel by the end of the year. Students are required to produce a formal proposal of work that sets out the topic of the research, the methodology to be used and a plan for carrying out the necessary work. The internal panel reviews the likely suitability and quality of the project, and students are only able to proceed with a satisfactory outcome.

During the year students may also choose a number of optional taught postgraduate courses from within the School of Health, or other Schools within the University, as appropriate to their research programme and as agreed with their supervisors. Students also have the opportunity to undertake short transferable skills training sessions from a comprehensive suite of workshops covering areas such as Research Planning, Communication, Professional Development and Information Technology offered by the Institute of Academic Development.

In the second to fourth years students may still take some formal research training or other courses as well as skills workshops. However the main body of work at this stage comprises preparation for and carrying out data collection, analysis and writing.

The final years of the part-time PhD programme primarily focus on completion of any remaining practical aspects of the project and final analysis. This can then be written up and completed ready for submission at the end of the sixth year. Training courses and workshops remain available to students throughout.