Postgraduate study

Health in Social Science PhD

Awards: PhD

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding opportunities

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

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
PhDHealth in Social Science3 YearsFull-timeTuition fees
PhDHealth in Social Science6 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