Postgraduate study

Nursing Studies PhD, MPhil, MScR

Awards: PhD, MPhil, MScR

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding opportunities

Programme website: Nursing Studies

Our Nursing Studies postgraduate students have an outstanding record of contributing to the knowledge and evidence base in nursing. The programme also has a strong tradition of welcoming students from overseas, as well as the UK.

Our main areas of research activity and development currently relate to the themes of experience of health and illness, and organisation and policy for person-centred care.

The main areas of study we can supervise for doctoral research are:

  • critical care
  • emotions and care
  • mental health
  • addictions and substance misuse
  • public health
  • community care and leadership
  • pain management
  • cancer care
  • nursing education
  • patient safety and quality issues.

We have expertise in a range of qualitative and quantitative and mixed methods research approaches.

Read more about our research on our website:

Find out more about compulsory and optional courses

We link to the latest information available. Please note that this may be for a previous academic year and should be considered indicative.

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
MScRNursing1 YearFull-timeProgramme structure 2019/20

The MSc by Research in Nursing Studies provides students with an advanced understanding of research design, data collection and data analysis issues in nursing.

The programme is designed for qualified practitioners and graduates and enables students to develop their understanding of debates about research, evidence and practice in relation to nursing and related fields.

The distinctive features of this degree include:

  • integration of generic social science and discipline-specific nursing studies research training and development;
  • social science approaches to research training in nursing studies; and
  • close links with other disciplines including medicine.

The PhD/MPhil programme allows you to conduct an independent research project that makes a significant contribution to your chosen field of study and to further develop your research skills. We are able to offer supervision in a variety of specialist areas.

Nursing Studies research

Normal progression for PhD/MPhil in nursing involves spending the first year preparing for the main research work; taking research training courses, reviewing literature, and developing your research proposal.

Progression to year two of the programme is dependent on a satisfactory outcome from a review board. Typically, the second year is spent doing the body of the research, usually empirical data collection and analysis, and the third year is spent completing the analysis and writing the thesis.

You will be able to attend a wide range of postgraduate seminar courses from across the College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences. There is the opportunity to attend other courses in Nursing Studies as well as a wide range of postgraduate seminar courses within the College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences and related disciplines across the University.

Nursing studies PhD and MPhil students join a 50-year tradition of scholarship. Our students share courses with others from a wide variety of disciplines.

Those doing higher degrees by research usually undertake research training courses, as well as carrying out their own research. PhD students have two supervisors, one of whom may be from a different discipline relevant to your interests.

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:

MScR: A UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in nursing. We will also consider your application if your degree is in another subject area but you have a professional qualification in nursing or midwifery.

MPhil and PhD: A UK 2:1 honours degree and a UK masters degree, or their international equivalents, in a relevant subject area. We may also consider your application if you do not have a masters degree, but have other professional qualifications or experience; please contact us to check before you apply.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

You must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies, regardless of your nationality or country of residence.

English language tests

We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS: total 7.0 (at least 6.5 in each module)

  • TOEFL-iBT: total 100 (at least 23 in each module)

  • PTE Academic: 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

Your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the programme you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL, PTE Academic or Trinity ISE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

Degrees taught and assessed in English

We also accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree that has been taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country, as defined by UK Visas and Immigration:

We also accept a degree that has been taught and assessed in English from a university on our list of approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries.

If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than three and a half years old at the beginning of your programme of study.

Find out more about our language requirements:

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
PhDNursing Studies3 YearsFull-timeTuition fees
PhDNursing Studies6 YearsPart-timeTuition fees
MPhilNursing Studies2 YearsFull-timeTuition fees
MPhilNursing Studies4 YearsPart-timeTuition fees
MScRNursing1 YearFull-timeTuition fees
MScRNursing2 YearsPart-timeTuition fees
MScRNursing3 YearsPart-timeTuition fees

Featured funding

UK government postgraduate loans

If you live in the UK, you may be able to apply for a postgraduate loan from one of the UK’s governments. The type and amount of financial support you are eligible for will depend on your programme, the duration of your studies, and your residency status. (Programmes studied on a part-time intermittent basis are not eligible.)

Other funding opportunities

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • School of Health in Social Science
  • Medical School
  • Teviot Place
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9AG
Round Application deadline Places awarded
1 29 November 2019 Mid-January 2020
2 20 March 2020 Mid-May 2020
3 12 June 2020 Mid-July 2020

The School of Health in Social Science operates a gathered field approach to PGR applications - this means that all complete applications which satisfy our minimum entry requirements will be held until the nearest deadline and an admissions panel will meet to consider all applications received together after that date.

The application deadlines and dates for decision are listed in the table above. In order to ensure full consideration of your application we ask that you submit your complete application including all supporting documentation by these dates. More information about what will be considered a complete application and how to apply can be found on our School website:

You must submit two references with your application.

Before applying please ensure that you have read and followed the guidance for application to postgraduate research programmes with the School of Health in Social Science.

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

Further information

  • School of Health in Social Science
  • Medical School
  • Teviot Place
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9AG