Health Sciences PhD
Why choose this programme
- Work in partnership with healthcare providers, governments and businesses to address global healthcare priorities and generate evidence to underpin effective, compassionate and integrated healthcare
- Join our team of researchers who have been conducting health-related research for over 30 years
- Embrace a ‘patient focused’ philosophy, working to improve the delivery of healthcare nationally and internationally
- Work alongside academic staff who are engaged in leading healthcare research, and whose work drives and reflects change in clinical practice.
What you will study
You’ll complete research into your chosen area of interest over a period of four years (full-time) or eight years (part-time).
Your first year will lay the foundation for your research project. You’ll work closely with your supervisors to review literature and develop your research proposal. You may start negotiating access for sites and settings for data collection or consider applying for ethical approval from us and the NHS.
During your second and third years, you’ll conduct fieldwork, collect your data and begin to analyse this. During your final year, you’ll continue to analyse your data and write up your findings, in preparation for your thesis submission.
Throughout your PhD, you’ll gain substantial subject expertise and an in-depth understanding of research methodology and design. You’ll also develop transferable skills in public speaking, drafting proposals and writing for publications.
Our current students are researching topics including:
- Reducing digital disadvantage in older people during the Covid-19 pandemic: the role of families and carers at increasing technology acceptance and use
- The role of medicine management activities in the implementation of paramedic advanced practice.
You’ll complete a confirmation process to formally review your project. If you're a full-time student, this will take place around 12-15 months into your studies or 24-30 months if you’re studying part-time. You’ll be required to submit a written report and successfully complete an oral examination.
Your final assessment will be based on the presentation of your research in a written thesis, which will be discussed in a viva examination with at least two examiners. You have the option of preparing your thesis as a monograph (one large volume in chapter form) or in publication format (including chapters written for publication), subject to the approval of your supervisors.
In addition to the confirmation process you’ll have six-monthly progress reviews with your supervisors. These meetings are an opportunity to reflect on your progress, discuss successes and challenges and set targets for the next six months. These reviews will be monitored by postgraduate research directors and recorded on your student record.
You’ll also have at least one formal meeting with your supervisors every month. The regularity of these will depend on the nature and stage of your project.
Our Health Sciences PhD is aimed at healthcare professionals looking to undertake research at the highest level. It’s particularly suited for health psychologists, midwives, nurses, paramedics, pharmacists, physiotherapists and social scientists.
You'll be joining a thriving doctoral community of postgraduate research students who meet weekly and offer peer-support in informal student-led support groups. You’ll also be invited to join one or more of our theme and/or cluster research groups, and benefit from guest speakers and facilitators, from within the University and externally.
We also run training to equip you with contemporary healthcare knowledge and research skills, which includes seminars, writing groups and research methods tuition.
The professional development of postgraduate researchers is supported by the Doctoral College, which provides training in essential skills through its Researcher Development Programme of workshops, mentoring and coaching. A dedicated postgraduate careers and employability team will help you prepare for a successful career after the completion of your PhD.
We’re addressing global healthcare priorities and generating evidence to underpin effective, compassionate and integrated healthcare, working in partnership with healthcare providers, governments and businesses. Our research investigates:
- Cancer care
- Digital health
- Long-term conditions and ageing
- Maternal, child and family health
- Workforce, organisation and wellbeing (WoW).
Our academic staff
Throughout your studies you’ll have at least two supervisors from the School of Health Sciences.
Your supervisors will have expertise relevant to your research project, and will give you academic guidance and tuition, helping you develop your research ideas and plans, underpinning your theory and understanding of methodology and analysis. They’ll also give you pastoral support and advice, referring you to more specialist services where necessary.
Our facilities have undergone a multi-million-pound investment, giving you access to the latest industry equipment including our Clinical Simulation Centre, consisting of two large wards, an operating theatre, a community flat and an ambulance bay.
Depending on the nature of your research project you may also use other university facilities, including our 5G/6G Innovation Centre for the development of innovative health technologies, and the Innovation for Health Learning Laboratory.
You may also have access to external facilities and equipment if your project is in collaboration with one of our 800+ partners, which includes four local NHS trusts.
Applicants are expected to hold a minimum of an upper second-class (2:1) UK degree in an appropriate discipline, but prior experience in research or health and social care may be acceptable.
International entry requirements by country
English language requirements
IELTS Academic: 6.5 or above (or equivalent) with 6 in each individual category.
These are the English language qualifications and levels that we can accept.
If you do not currently meet the level required for your programme, we offer intensive pre-sessional English language courses, designed to take you to the level of English ability and skill required for your studies here.
Applicants are advised to contact potential supervisors before they submit an application via the website. Please refer to section two of our application guidance.
Students are initially registered for a PhD with probationary status and, subject to satisfactory progress, subsequently confirmed as having PhD status.
Selection is based on applicants:
- Meeting the expected entry requirements
- Being shortlisted through the application screening process
- Completing a successful interview
- Providing suitable references.
Start date: July 2024
Start date: October 2024
- To be confirmed
- To be confirmed
Start date: January 2025
- To be confirmed
- To be confirmed
Start date: April 2025
- To be confirmed
- To be confirmed
- Annual fees will increase by 4% for each year of study, rounded up to the nearest £100 (subject to legal requirements).
- Any start date other than September 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).
View the list of fees for all postgraduate research courses.
There are additional costs that you can expect to incur when studying at Surrey.
A Postgraduate Doctoral Loan can help with course fees and living costs while you study a postgraduate doctoral course.
If you are applying for a studentship to work on a particular project, please provide details of the project instead of a research proposal.
Read our application guidance for further information on applying.
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).
Terms and conditions
We provide these terms and conditions in two stages:
- First when we make an offer.
- Second when students accept their offer and register to study with us (registration terms and conditions will vary depending on your course and academic year).
View our generic registration terms and conditions (PDF) for the 2023/24 academic year, as a guide on what to expect.
This online prospectus has been published in advance of the academic year to which it applies.
Whilst we have done everything possible to ensure this information is accurate, some changes may happen between publishing and the start of the course.
It is important to check this website for any updates before you apply for a course with us. Read our full disclaimer.
Campus locationKate Granger Building
Our Medicine (Graduate Entry) BMBS degree, nursing and midwifery, and health science courses are taught at the Kate Granger Building (30 Priestley Road), on the Surrey Research Park.
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