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 PGR 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 January
PhD Part-time 96 months April
PhD Part-time 96 months July
PhD Part-time 96 months October
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

  • 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

  • Chidiebere Nwolise, PhD Health Sciences

    "I decided to come to Surrey for my PhD because my project cuts across long-term conditions, maternal health and electronic health, and Surrey’s School of Health Sciences is at the fore-front of research in these areas."

    Read more


  • My Surrey experience - Pahim Miah, PGDip Physician Associate

    Read more

  • Sleep quiz: Are you an owl or a lark?

    Read more

  • My PhD experience - Dr Martha J Wrigley, PhD in Health Sciences

    Read more

Research themes

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

Our academic staff

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 £4,195 £17,500
Full-time April £4,195 £17,500
Full-time July £4,195 £17,500
Full-time October To be confirmed To be confirmed
Part-time January £2,100 £8,800
Part-time April £2,100 £8,800
Part-time July £2,100 £8,800
Part-time October To be confirmed To be confirmed

Please note these fees are for the academic year 2017/18 only. All fees are subject to annual review.

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

A complete list of all fees for our research programmes

Funding and studentships

Doctoral College Studentship Award

Supervisor(s) To be confirmed
Funding Doctoral College, University of Surrey
Application deadline 13 November 2017
Opportunities across all subjects

Contact us

General enquiries:

+44 (0)1483 681 681

  • Register for a Postgraduate Research Webinar