Postgraduate study

Global Health Policy PhD

Awards: PhD

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding opportunities

Programme website: Global Health Policy

This programme aims to provide rigorous postgraduate training to those interested in pursuing interdisciplinary research across public health and the social sciences.

It offers a structured training towards research for a PhD, providing the basis for a research career.

The Global Health Policy Unit (GHPU) was established to carry out and disseminate research in health policy and provide exceptional postgraduate teaching.

Focusing on the principles of equity, access and universality, we have gained an international reputation for the quality and social relevance of our research.

Research themes

Our research is organised around the following four intersecting themes, each of which is central to contemporary policy debates:

  • commercial sector and public health
  • health systems and global governance
  • social determinants of health and public policy
  • science, advocacy and health policy

Our staff

GHPU staff have a history of conducting outstanding research and of playing a leading role in debates around the impact of current policies on public health and social inequalities.

We contribute to the world’s leading peer-reviewed journals and to professional journals, as well as the wider media.

The PhD in Global Health Policy is a three-year research programme (six years for part-time students).

The degree of PhD is awarded for a thesis which must draw on your own research and which makes a significant contribution to knowledge in the chosen field of study and contains material worthy of publication. The thesis must demonstrate adequate knowledge of the field of study and relevant literature, and the ability to look critically at both your own work and that of other scholars in the field.

The normal progression for a PhD is that the first year is partly spent on preparing to undertake a PhD thesis by reading and reflecting on relevant literature and taking courses of importance to the researcher's work. A fully elaborated research proposal should be developed by the end of the first year.

Provided the proposal receives approval from a panel of members of staff, with expertise relevant to the research project, the student will be registered as PhD student in beginning of year two.

The second year is typically spent on fieldwork and data collection, with the remaining time devoted to data analysis and write-up of the thesis.

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
PhD3 YearsFull-timeProgramme structure 2021/22
PhD6 YearsPart-timeProgramme structure 2021/22

We offer PhD students a supportive research environment in which you’ll find senior academics and research fellows working together on team-based projects. You are encouraged to contribute to GHPU’s ongoing projects.

All postgraduates researching public health policy are encouraged to take part in seminars and to take advantage of training courses run at School, College and University level.

Research library and archive facilities in Edinburgh are outstanding.

You will be a member of the Graduate School of Social & Political Science, with full access to the Graduate School’s facilities in the Chrystal Macmillan Building.

Other library and archive facilities include the University’s Main Library, the National Library of Scotland and the Scottish Records Office. Proximity to the Scottish Parliament and other institutions of national government provides further research opportunities.

These entry requirements are for the 2022/23 academic year and requirements for future academic years may differ. Entry requirements for the 2023/24 academic year will be published on 3 October 2022.

A UK 2:1 honours degree or its international equivalent, and a UK masters degree with an overall mark of 65% or its international equivalent.

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 Academic: total 7.0 with at least 6.0 in each component.
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Home Edition): total 100 with at least 20 in each component. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • CAE and CPE: total 185 with at least 169 in each component.
  • 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 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
PhD3 YearsFull-timeTuition fees
PhD6 YearsPart-timeTuition fees

Featured funding

For specialised guidance on submitting a competitive scholarship application, we strongly recommend you contact the for your subject area.

You should advise which scholarships you intend to apply for and send your draft research proposal. The Postgraduate Advisor will then contact you with guidance.

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
  • your tuition fee status

Programmes studied on a part-time intermittent basis are not eligible.

Other funding opportunities

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • Graduate School of Social & Political Science
  • Chrystal Macmillan Building
  • 15A George Square
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9LD
Programme start date Application deadline
12 September 2022 4 July 2022

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.

You must submit two references with your application.

We encourage PhD applicants in particular to contact potential supervisors before applying to discuss their research proposal so we can ensure there is adequate supervision.

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

Further information

  • Graduate School of Social & Political Science
  • Chrystal Macmillan Building
  • 15A George Square
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9LD