Social Policy, Ph.D.

  • Application Deadline
  • 36 months
  • Tuition
  • English (take IELTS)
University rank #27 ,
Social Policy at the University of Edinburgh is one of the most respected in the UK and among the front rank for the quality of its teaching and research. We offer postgraduate supervision across the whole subject range, with particular expertise in comparative policy studies, childhood studies, family policy, public sector management and socio-legal studies.


The MSc by Research in Social Policy provides a structured programme of research training in social policy research. Some students apply to take the MSc by Research in Social Policy as a stand alone degree, while others use it as the first year of an integrated MSc/PhD programme in Social Policy. It has been designed to train students in research skills to the level prescribed by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)´s generic and subject-specific research training guidelines.

Our focus is on research-led but student focused teaching. There is an active ongoing programme of seminars and workshops for research students and staff, which students are expected to attend and participate in throughout their period of study.


The programme has been designed to train students in research skills to the level prescribed by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)'s generic and subject-specific research training guidelines

Detailed Programme Facts

  • Programme intensity

    You can choose to do this programme part-time or full-time.

    • Duration 36 months
    • Intensity Flexible
  • Languages
    • English
  • Delivery mode
    On Campus

Programme Structure

All Social Policy PhD students are assigned two supervisors, at least one of whom will be selected on the basis of substantive or methodological expertise to fit the proposed doctoral project. If you are thinking of applying for a doctorate, you should identify which supervisor you think is the best possible match. Please feel free to e-mail any potential supervisor to discuss your proposal.

English Language Requirements

You only need to take one of these language tests:

  • Minimum required score:


    The IELTS – or the International English Language Test System – tests your English-language abilities (writing, listening, speaking, and reading) on a scale of 1.00–9.00. The minimum IELTS score requirement refers to which Overall Band Score you received, which is your combined average score. Read more about IELTS.

    Take IELTS test

    StudyPortals Tip: The UK government has confirmed new English-language testing requirements for visa and immigration purposes. Learn more

  • Minimum required score:


    The TOEFL – or Test OF English as a Foreign Language – offers a paper-based test (PBT). The final, overall PBT score ranges between 310 and 677, and is based on an average taken from the three test components (listening, structure, and reading). The writing part of this test is scored separately on a scale of 0-6. Read more about TOEFL (PBT).

  • Minimum required score:


    The TOEFL – or Test Of English as a Foreign Language – offers an internet-based test (iBT). The final, overall iBT score ranges between 0 and 120, and includes a scaled average from the four components (reading, listening, speaking, and writing). Read more about TOEFL (iBT).

Academic Requirements

UK Bachelor Honours degree with upper second class results (2.1) and UK Masters degree with a 65% result, research proposal, and two academic references required.

Tuition Fee


Funding opportunities are available, please contact the Postgraduate Adviser for more details.

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.