Postgraduate study

Population Health Sciences

Awards: PhD, MScR

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding available

Programme website: Population Health Sciences

The Usher Institute of Population Health Sciences & Informatics supervises postgraduate research students in a wide range of population health disciplines, including epidemiology, genetic epidemiology, health promotion, health services research, medical statistics, molecular epidemiology and sociology and on a wide range of topics including allergic and respiratory disease, clinical trial and statistics methodology, eHealth, ethnicity and health, genetic epidemiology of complex diseases, global health, palliative care and cancer, society and health and families and relationships.

A principal aim is to foster interdisciplinary research involving quantitative and qualitative approaches via effective collaboration with biomedical scientists, epidemiologists, social scientists and clinical researchers throughout the University and beyond.

Before Applying

Before submitting an online application, prospective students should contact an academic members of staff who may act as first supervisor in order to align their research proposal with one of the Institute's main areas of research. A list of contacts for PhD supervisors can be found at:

Students will be integrated within the existing student-led approach at the Usher Institute, where structures are already in place to ensure a high-quality student experience.

The Centre for Population Health Sciences, which forms a large part of the Usher Institute, has a thriving PhD community with well-developed management and administrative structures.

University Quality Assurance monitoring and reporting processes will be adhered to. All supervisors will satisfy University requirements in terms of training and mentoring.

Expectations on the students, including assessment guidelines, will be clearly communicated by multiple channels (e.g. at interview, during induction, in the Postgraduate Research Student and Supervisor Handbook, by supervisors, at annual review meetings and on relevant web pages). All students will have at least two supervisors who will also give pastoral care and career advice in addition to student services provision.

Students will attend appropriate training, including transferable skills, at appropriate courses (e.g. from the Institute of Academic Development) identified in consultation with the supervisors.

The Usher Institute of Population Health Sciences & Informatics brings together researchers active in population health science research, including public health and primary care.

Within the school the Usher academic staff play a large role in research project supervision.

There are also links with the Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine and the Queen's Medical Research Institute.

MSc by Research: A UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent.

PhD: A UK 2:1 honours degree and a UK masters degree with a mark of at least 60%, or their international equivalents. We will also consider a UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, and significant work experience in an area relevant to your research project.

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 6.5 (at least 6.0 in each module)

  • TOEFL-iBT: total 92 (at least 20 in each module)

  • PTE Academic: total 61 (at least 56 in each of the "Communicative Skills" sections; the "Enabling Skills" sections are not considered)

  • CAE and CPE: total 176 (at least 169 in each module)

  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with distinctions 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.*

(*Revised 8/11/2018 to provide more accurate information on English language qualifications expiry dates. Revised 22/03/2019 to provide more accurate/comprehensive information.)

Find out more about our language requirements:

For a list of currently available funded projects, and information regarding potential funding sources for postgraduate research students, please visit the Usher Institute webpage:

English and Welsh postgraduate doctoral loans

Applicants resident in England or Wales, could be eligible for a doctoral loan of up to £25,000. Full guidance and information can be found on our Scholarships & Student Funding website:

Find out more about scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • Postgraduate Administrator, Sebastien Georges
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 651 5446
  • Email: s.georges@ed.ac.uk
  • Chair, Research Degree Committee, Dr Jackie Price
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 650 3227
  • Email: s.georges@ed.ac.uk
  • Usher Institute of Population Health Sciences & Informatics
  • Teviot Place
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9AG

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. We may consider late applications if we have places available, but you should contact the relevant Admissions Office for advice first.

You must submit two references with your application.

Before making your application, it is advisable to make contact with a potential supervisor to discuss your research proposal. Further information on making a research degree application can be found on the College website:

You will be formally interviewed (in person, by video-conferencing or Skype).

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

Further information

  • Postgraduate Administrator, Sebastien Georges
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 651 5446
  • Email: s.georges@ed.ac.uk
  • Chair, Research Degree Committee, Dr Jackie Price
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 650 3227
  • Email: s.georges@ed.ac.uk
  • Usher Institute of Population Health Sciences & Informatics
  • Teviot Place
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9AG