Health Sciences PhD

Why choose this course?

The University of Surrey has been leading health-related research for over 30 years and the School of Health Sciences has been central to this. Positioned within the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences alongside the Schools of Biosciences and Medicine, Veterinary Science and Psychology, we are all united under a 'One Health' theme.

With innovation, research and passion at its heart, the School aims to deliver the UK’s most dynamic, effective and caring healthcare professionals. We also work with professionals in fields allied to healthcare and medicine who wish to pursue doctoral-level study.

We have a strong track record in interdisciplinary research and our submission alongside biosciences in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) saw 93 per cent of our research rated world-leading or internationally excellent. We were also ranked 2nd by the Complete University Guide 2018 and 3rd by the Guardian University Guide 2017 for our undergraduate programmes.

We collaborate closely with healthcare providers, government, corporate businesses and the third sector to improve the delivery of healthcare nationally and internationally. We have over 800 active partnerships, including our partnership within Surrey Health Partners (SHP) which is a clinical academic partnership between the University of Surrey and four NHS Foundation Trusts.

Our academics are engaged in leading healthcare research that drives and reflects change in clinical practice and medicine, and embraces evidence-based practice, policy and education.

We are changing the future of healthcare by developing eHealth applications, including those developed at the University’s 5G Innovation Centre (5GIC), which is now testing the future generation of innovative health technologies.

You will be joining a thriving doctoral community of postgraduate research students who meet weekly and offer peer-support in informal student-led support groups with guest speakers and facilitators both from within the University and externally.

What you will study

Our PhD programme is aimed at all healthcare professionals who wish to undertake research at the highest level. It is particularly suitable for nurses, midwives, pharmacists, health psychologists, physiotherapists, and social scientists. The programme is offered full-time or part-time. Duration is generally three to four years full-time; or four to seven years part-time.

Our research students follow an intense research training programme which aims to provide you with substantial subject expertise and an in-depth understanding of research methodology and design. The programme will also enable you to develop transferable skills in writing proposals, public speaking and writing for publication.

The School has its own training programme to equip you with contemporary healthcare knowledge and skills. There is a flourishing seminar programme open to staff and research students, PGR writing groups, and research students can access relevant research methods modules with School or within related University Departments. The quality of your academic work and research project is continually assessed by the supervisors through literature reviews, reports, presentations and discussions.

The first year lays the foundation for your research. You will work closely with your supervisors to review the literature and develop the research proposal. You may attend training courses offered by the University Research Development Programme and start negotiating access for sites and settings for data collection. You may progress to submit your University ethical application and/or NHS research ethics and Governance approval.

During the second year, you will spend the majority of the year conducting fieldwork and collecting your data. You will probably also start to analyse this data. 

During the final year you will continue to analyse your data and write up the chapters finalising it for submission.

Course facts

Qualification Study mode Course length Start date
PhD Full-time 48 months January
PhD Full-time 48 months April
PhD Full-time 48 months July
PhD Full-time 48 months October
PhD Part-time 96 months October
PhD Part-time 96 months January
PhD Part-time 96 months April
PhD Part-time 96 months July
Stag Hill

Additional costs

There are additional costs that you can expect to incur when studying at Surrey. Find out more.

Code of practice for research degrees

Surrey’s postgraduate research code of practice sets out the University's policy and procedural framework relating to research degrees.

The code defines a set of standard procedures and specific responsibilities covering the academic supervision, administration and assessment of research degrees for all faculties within the University.

Download the code of practice for research degrees (PDF).

Our students

  • Lucy Paruit, BSc (Hons) Midwifery

    "Attending open days and starting volunteering really were the steps that put the wheels in motion on my journey into Midwifery, and made me decide it was for me."

    Read more

  • Scott Munro, PhD Health Sciences

    "My overall PhD experience has been very positive. With the support of my supervision team and the other postgraduate researchers around, I soon settled in to life as a PhD student."

    Read more

  • Hannah Whitmore, PhD Chemistry

    "I love studying at Surrey. It’s a beautiful environment to be in. My Department is very supportive and so is my supervisor."

    Read more


  • Find out how our Doctoral College can support your research career

    Read more

  • Stay up to date with our latest research news

    Read more

  • Explore how our research is making a difference to the world

    Read more

Research themes

  • Acute and emergency care
  • Ethics in care
  • Cancer care
  • Long-term conditions and ageing
  • Maternal and child health
  • eHealth
  • Healthcare workforce

Our academic staff

See a full list of all our academic staff within the School of Health Sciences.

Entry requirements

Applicants are expected to hold a good honours degree (upper second) in an appropriate discipline, but prior experience in research or health and social care may be acceptable.

View entry requirements by country

English language requirements

IELTS Academic: 6.5 or above (or equivalent) with 6 in each individual category.

We offer intensive English language pre-sessional courses, designed to take you to the level of English ability and skill required for your studies here.

Selection process

Selection is based on applicants meeting the expected entry requirements, assessment of application, successful interview and suitable references where required.


Study mode Start date UK/EU fees Overseas fees
Full-time January £3,146 £13,200
Full-time April £2,100 £8,800
Full-time July £1,050 £4,400
Full-time October To be confirmed £18,200
Part-time October To be confirmed £9,100
Part-time January £1,575 £6,600
Part-time April £1,050 £4,400
Part-time July £525 £2,200

For fees payable in 2018/19, these will increase by 4 per cent, rounded up to the nearest £100 for subsequent years of study. Any start date other than October will attract a pro-rata fee for that year of entry (75 per cent for January, 50 per cent for April and 25 per cent for July).

Overseas students applying for 2018 entry should note that annual fees will rise by 4% rounded up to the nearest £100.

View a complete list of all fees for our research programmes.

Contact us

Admissions enquiries

+44 (0)1483 682 222

  • Register for a Postgraduate Research Webinar