Social Policy, PhD

  • N/A
    Application Deadline
  • 36 months
  • Tuition
    Tuition (Year)
    Tuition (Year)
  • English (take IELTS)
University of Essex ,
This allows you to undertake research in the field of social policy. Within our multidisciplinary School of Health and Human Sciences, we offer research supervision in all fields of staff expertise. You will be allocated a supervisor whose role it is to guide you through the different stages of your research degree. In some cases, you may have joint supervision by two members of our staff.
  • Overview
  • Programme outline
  • Key facts
  • Admission requirements
  • Fees and funding


Our School of Health and Human Sciences offers a multidisciplinary environment with an excellent reputation for research and teaching. Within our School, our educational provision meets professional regulatory requirements and achieves high standards. We do so by having staff that are multi-professional, including clinically-qualified lecturers, sociologists and social policy and management specialists, so they have clinical and academic credibility.

A unique feature of our School is that many of our staff work with local National Health Service (NHS) Trusts and other local agencies, which enhances our grasp of the contemporary links between academic research, the major issues of the day and practice. We specialise in applied, multidisciplinary research that addresses issues of national and international concern to health policy and practice and related fields. We have research interest groups in ‘Developing Professional Practice’ and ‘Applied Health Research’, and host the NIHR Research Design Service for the East of England.

Our facilities

Within our School of Health and Human Sciences, our clinical laboratories use the latest equipment and IT facilities to assist you with the effective learning and acquisition of new skills.Within our School of Health and Human Sciences, our clinical laboratories use the latest equipment and IT facilities to assist you with the effective learning and acquisition of new skills.

Detailed Programme Facts

  • Full-time duration 36 months
  • Study intensity Part-time, Full-time
  • Languages
    • English
  • Delivery mode
    On Campus
  • Project Type Open

Programme Structure

Your research degree gives you the chance to investigate your chosen topic in real depth and reach a profound understanding. In communicating that understanding, through a thesis or other means, you have a rare opportunity to generate knowledge. You develop new high-level skills, enhance your professional development and build new networks. A PhD can open doors to many careers.

Your supervisor

Within our School of Health and Human Sciences, you will be allocated a supervisor whose role it is to guide you through the different stages of your research degree. In some cases, you may have joint supervision by two members of our staff.

The support provided by your supervisor is a key feature of your research student experience and you will have regular one-to-one meetings to discuss progress on your research. Initially, your supervisor will help you develop your research topic and plan. Twice a year, you will have a supervisory board meeting, which provides a more formal opportunity to discuss your progress and agree your plans for the next six months.

How you will study

Within our School of Health and Human Sciences, the length of time taken to complete your research degree is dependent upon the programme on which you are registered.

We offer a number of different research degrees meaning that your yearly timetable is agreed on an individual basis with your supervisor at the start of your programme of study.

Finalising your PhD

Within our School of Health and Human Sciences, our professional doctorates can be studied flexibly between four and seven years. Decisions about the duration of the study period are based on your individual need and funded support.

Each programme comprises three elements of taught modules, work-based learning and original research through doctoral-level dissertation.

For your taught modules, you complete a research methods module to underpin your subsequent research work. You will be guided in selecting further module/s to meet identified deficits within your knowledge base but, in your first year, you complete Research Methods, an online learning module. You also attend occasional (approximately six) professional doctorate study days at our Colchester Campus, which provide face-to-face support for your research methods module, offer research workshops and provide portfolio development sessions. In your second year, you are required to attend weekly taught sessions. You undertake our module Theory and Method in Health Research and then you can choose between Statistical Analysis and Qualitative Research Methods, depending on your research focus.

For your work-based learning, you will create two portfolios of learning chronicling the development of expert practice. These portfolios are constructed from the specialist application of generic outcomes in areas such as risk and diagnostic reasoning. Your portfolios are submitted at the end of your first and second years.

For your original research through doctoral-level dissertation you undertake a dissertation of 40,000 words on a subject relevant to your area of practice.

Seminars and conferences

All our research students are strongly encouraged to take advantage of the many research seminars held at our University.

Our School of Health and Human Sciences holds its own seminar series which Essex-based research students are expected to attend wherever possible. Our seminars provide a supportive environment in which staff and students can present and discuss research issues at any stage, from the germ of a research idea to final findings. As a research student, you will be expected to present your work at appropriate stages throughout your studies, in consultation with your research supervisor. Some of our seminars are set aside specifically for our research students to present their work and exchange ideas with other students.

Our School also hosts an annual Student and Staff Research Conference, which offers a supportive environment for you to present your research as it evolves.

Our research students may find seminars held in our Department of Sociology and in our Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER) useful, so are encouraged to attend. Where appropriate, our PhD students may also participate in some of the activities that our Department of Sociology host for their research students.

Our research students are also able to access the wide range of research methods courses offered by Essex Summer School in Social Science Data Analysis and Collection.

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Potential research students are welcome to make preliminary enquiries directly to a potential supervisor within our School of Health and Human Sciences or, more generally, through our Graduate Administrator. We encourage the consideration of a brief research proposal prior to the submission of a full application.

If English is not your first language, then we will require you to have IELTS 6.5 or equivalent.

Tuition Fee Per Year

  • GBP 12950 International
  • GBP 4120 EU/EEA


For up-to-date information on funding opportunities at Essex, please visit:

StudyPortals Tip: Students can search online for independent or external scholarships that can help fund their studies. Check the scholarships to see whether you are eligible to apply. Many scholarships are either merit-based or needs-based.

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