Occupational Therapy, Ph.D.

  • N/A
    Application Deadline
  • 36 months
  • Tuition
    Tuition (Year)
    Tuition (Year)
  • English (take IELTS)
University rank #251 ,
Occupational Therapy, University of Essex - 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.


Occupational Therapy, University of Essex

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.

About PhD Occupational Therapy

Within our multidisciplinary School of Health and Human Sciences, we offer research supervision in the following fields:

- analysis of large scale surveys;
- approaches to pain management;
- child and adolescent mental health;
- children with special educational needs;
- clinical decision making;
- clinical psychology;
- cognitive behavioural therapy;
- consumerism and consumption in health care;
- cross-cultural mental health;
- educational psychology;
- evaluation of psychological treatments;
- health-related social movements;
- health-related stigma;
- health services research;
- housing and health;
- how life events and conditions influence health;
- interpretative policy analysis of health care;
- mental health services;
- the third sector and health care provision;
- nursing theory and practice;
- physiotherapy education and practice;
- political economy of health care;
- post-trauma responses/stress disorder/growth;
- professional/clinical education and practice;
- public health management;
- public health practice and policy;
- qualitative methods;
- quantitative methodologies and analysis of large-scale datasets (panel and cohort studies) ;
- service evaluation and development;
- social aspects of HIV/AIDS;
- social epidemiology and health inequalities;
- social inequality and health;
- social issues around health and the intersection of theories of delinquency and health;
- social organisation of health care;
- sociology of happiness and wellbeing;
- sociology of health and illness;
- sociology of mental health;

- sociology of risk;

and - understanding and application of research in health settings.

We also offer an MSc by dissertation and an MPhil in this subject.

This is not an exhaustive list of staff research interests and more can be found on our School website. However, if you are looking to carry out research in a different area to those listed, please contact us to discuss this further. We encourage the consideration of brief research proposals prior to the submission of your full application.

We also offer interdisciplinary programmes which form part of our University’s ESRC Doctoral Training Centre’s pathways in Research Methods in Health and in Health and Organisational Research. This follows the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) introducing a new Postgraduate Training Framework, which changed the way it provides support for postgraduate training. Our Doctoral Training Centre (DTC) offers 16 fully-funded ESRC studentships across 21 doctoral pathways.

Please note that a doctoral pathway is the term used to describe the routes to postgraduate study, whether this is a one-year Masters followed by three years of doctoral research (1+3) or three years of doctoral research (+3) for those who have already completed a relevant Masters degree (from another ESRC-accredited DTC or one with a substantial methodological element). Essex has 21 doctoral pathways that are arranged into nine themed clusters and two of these are in the area of health. This includes Health and Organisational Research (offered in collaboration with Essex Business School) and in Research Methods in Health (offered in collaboration with our Institute for Social and Economic Research).

Please note, part-time research study is also available.

Detailed Programme Facts

  • Deadline and start date Application deadline and start date were not specified by the programme.
  • Programme intensity

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

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

Programme Structure


A 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. A research degree allows you to develop new high-level skills, enhance your professional development and build new networks. It can open doors to many careers.

As a research student at Essex, you’ll work at the heart of our internationally-acknowledged and well-connected research community. We offer world class supervision and training opportunities, and encourage you to engage with other researchers, professionals, practitioners and research users, where possible. Our research is supported by a wide spectrum of UK research councils, EU framework programmes, public-sector organisations and departments, charities, and private-sector industry and businesses. Engagement with these external funders and stakeholders enriches the quality and relevance of your experience and training.

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

English Language Requirements

You need the following IELTS score:

  • 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

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Academic Requirements

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: www.essex.ac.uk/studentfinance.

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.