School of Health in Social Science

PhD Health in Social Science

The PhD Health in Social Science provides the opportunity to carry out a substantial piece of research in an area that explores health and wellbeing through the lens of arts and humanities practice and knowledge.

Name PhD Health in Social Science
Start Date September and January
Mode of Study 3 years full-time, 6 years part-time
Programme Director  Marisa de Andrade

Please check the postgraduate Degree Finder to see the specific entry requirements, start date and application deadlines. 

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The PhD programme offers the possibility to work with and be supervised by a range of academics across many areas of counselling and psychotherapy, who have international reputations and outstanding publications in their areas of expertise. Our programme is undertaken over three years full-time or six years part-time.     

Every project is different, so supervision is geared to work to your needs in terms of working patterns and specific training requirements. Each student is supported by two supervisors who provide expert guidance to help you develop your thesis. Students are also encouraged to consult any other member of staff whose work or interests may be relevant to your own. All students are expected to undertake research training as specified by their supervisors, and as relevant to your topic. 

Why choose this programme?        

Doctoral study provides the opportunity to carry out a substantial piece of research guided by expert supervisors. You will gain high-level research skills and a range of transferable skills tailored to various career pathways. The principal grounds for awarding a PhD degree are that it is an original work making a significant contribution to knowledge in the student’s field of study, and containing material worthy of publication. 

A vibrant and inclusive research environment

The University of Edinburgh is a world-leader in research and innovation and an international centre of academic excellence. Students on this programme will become part of an active and diverse research community in the School of Health in Social Science and will have access to the wide-range of learning environments and outstanding resources that the University has to offer. Our postgraduate researchers work in close proximity to each other, enabling them to pool their expertise and knowledge to tackle complex challenges and push the boundaries of discovery. Students will be encouraged to engage with a wide range of seminars, talks, and events, and often have the opportunity to present their own research at national and international conferences. Our student-led postgraduate research blog provides a snapshot of the activities and events our PGR students organise and are involved in.

Find out more about ongoing research in our School

Our staff in Health in Social Science embrace a range of academic disciplines and offer a focus on innovative and cross-disciplinary health and social care research. From these perspectives we examine the overlapping concerns of research, policy and practice in 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.

PhD by Distance

There is also an opportunity to undertake this programme through our PhD by Distance option. The PhD by Distance is available to suitably qualified applicants in the same areas as our on-campus programmes: Clinical and Health 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.

Find out more about the PhD by Distance

Beyond the programme   

A PhD from the University of Edinburgh enhances the career prospects of anyone interested in an academic or professional career. Specialist research and successful completion of a PhD in the sphere of health and social science can be an advantage in many areas of health or social care, policy and practice, and opens up employment opportunities in a broad range of fields. 

Students with prior professional qualifications enhance their careers with the addition of highly developed conceptual, analytical and research skills.