Department for Health MPhil and PhD


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If you're interested in applying for a PhD then join our webinar in December 2016 where you can find out more.

Qualifications and durations

The Master of Philosophy (MPhil) programme will enable you to conduct supervised research into your chosen topic and produce a written thesis (typically 20,000 - 60,000 words). You can complete the MPhil in 1 to 3 years (full-time) or up to 4 years (part-time).

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) programme comprises a more significant piece of research which will enable you to contribute to the academic community through a larger written thesis (typically up to 90,000 words). You can complete your PhD in 2 to 4 years (full-time) or up to 6 years (part-time).

The Department for Health also offers the Professional Doctorate in Health programme.


Staff and students discuss the PhD experience.

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The MPhil and PhD is an opportunity to undertake original, in-depth research under expert supervision.

Most of our students are registered in the first instance for the MPhil degree. You will be expected to carry out supervised research at the leading edge of your chosen subject, which must then be written up as a substantial thesis. The transfer from MPhil to PhD is subject to passing an assessment process which normally involves submission of written work and an oral examination.

The final stage of the PhD degree is the oral or viva voce examination, in which students are required to defend the thesis to a Board of Examiners.

Our Department produces high-quality research with a strong focus on application and real world implication. You can study any topic in which we have research expertise. Details of research staff expertise and interests are available on individual staff pages, as well as on our current research students page.

Current student projects

Take an insight into what some of our current students are researching »

South West Doctoral Training Centre

This programme is recognised as being part of the following ESRC-funded South West Doctoral Training Centre (SWDTC) pathway:

Entry requirements

Academic requirements

  • First or 2:1 Honours degree (or equivalent) in an appropriate subject, from a recognised university.
  • A Masters degree or appropriate research training is also desirable. We consider applicants without Masters or appropriate research training on a case by case basis. We might require applicants to satisfactorily complete one of our Masters programmes, or to attend some/all of the units of our MRes programmes while undertaking the MPhil or PhD programme.

English Language requirements

Certificates must be dated to within two years of the start of the programme of study.

  • IELTS 7 (with no less than 6.5 in each component)
  • PTE Academic of 69 with no less than 62 in any component

If you wish to improve your English proficiency before commencing your studies, pre-sessional language training can be arranged through the Academic Skills Centre.


  • Two references are required. At least one of these should be an academic reference.

How to apply

You can must apply to study through the Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences Graduate School.

Financial information


Potential sources of funding

You can find our more about funding opportunities by viewing our webinar.


Tel: +44 (0) 1225 38 5233

Related links


Main areas of research

The Department carries out research and teaching in health, medicine, exercise and sport, making significant contributions to national and international health agendas.

The Department aims to produce high-quality research with a strongly applied focus. We aim to contribute to promoting the health of the population and to improving the quality and efficiency of the health services that people rely on and pursue this agenda with a variety of partners at local, regional, national and international levels. Our work is organised around the two main themes of population health and healthcare. We are also pleased to offer a range of Research degrees.

Population health

Historically, health policy has focused almost exclusively on sickness services provided by agencies such as the National Health Service. Although this focus on healthcare remains hugely important, it is increasingly complemented by aspirations to improve the health of the population by tackling the social determinants of health such as poverty and pollution and by encouraging people to adopt health promoting behaviours such as healthy diets and increased physical activity and to stop health damaging ones such as smoking. There is also growing national and international concern that improvements in health should be fairly distributed by reducing health inequalities. The Department for Health organises its work related to population health improvement in three main ways. Much the largest element in the population health portfolio is related to sport, health and exercise science, but the School attaches growing importance to tobacco control and health inequalities.


The Department’s expertise in Healthcare focuses on innovation in the design, delivery, organization, and evaluation of healthcare interventions. We have a particular emphasis on disabling and distressing, long term or life-limiting conditions, such as chronic pain, stroke, dementia, rheumatic disease, and severe mental health problems. Current research activity involves collaborations with NHS colleagues in Bath at the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases – RNHRD, the Royal United Hospital, the Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Care Trust, the Pan Bath & Swindon Primary Care Research Consortium and RehabNET.

Faculties in the Department have significant research expertise and experience in a range of topics including:

  • Addictions and addictive behaviour
  • Alcohol, drugs and the family
  • Assistive technology and rehabilitation
  • Child and adolescent cognitive behavioural therapy
  • Complex Regional Pain Syndromes
  • Dementia care
  • Evidence based pain management
  • Leadership and change
  • Mental health service development and evaluation
  • Spondolarthropathy disease and related disability
  • Stroke rehabilitation
  • Work, health and wellbeing.

The School for Health was established within the University of Bath in 2003, to centralise the high profile research and teaching in the health-related disciplines already taking place throughout the university, so creating a single entity through which links with the health sector at national and international level can be channelled, co-ordinated and developed.

In 2010 the School joined the Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences and became the Department for Health, providing excellent opportunities for academic teaching and research collaborations with other departments, such as Psychology and Social & Policy Sciences. The Department's postgraduate teaching and research programmes now form part of the Faculty's new Graduate School, also launched in 2010, providing postgraduate students with dedicated support and a strong community in which to base their studies - whether on campus or by distance learning.

In keeping with government initiatives surrounding population health and more general public concerns, the Department divides its activities between two main pillars: Healthcare and Population Health – one focuses on the NHS, healthcare and health services research and the other focuses on population health, healthy living, sport & physical activity and tobacco control; each of these groups, in turn, contain both teaching programmes and research activities. Furthermore, there is a bridging spine between both pillars and which houses the Professional Doctorate in Health, Research in Health Practice and the administrative, finance, learning & teaching development, marketing and support activities of the Department.

The Department’s aims are:

  • To develop a research portfolio that is both of the highest academic standard and has applications in the real world
  • To build on external links with the public services and other bodies concerned with health and society
  • To innovate design and delivery of healthcare services
  • To change corporate approaches to healthy organisations
  • To support government reform of health and social care provision
  • To identify and facilitate opportunities for academic collaboration and new developments.

The Department's postgraduate taught programmes combine academic excellence with flexible and innovative design and delivery; our postgraduate portfolio is distinguished by the provision of a number of Professional Masters and a Professional Doctorate programme designed to be studied part-time by learners working in a wide range of healthcare roles from all around the world. All our postgraduate courses are taught online and this has proved to be one of our unique selling points, with students able to continue within their practice area or working environment whilst gaining a further qualification.

The Department is renowned for its exemplary attention to educational design, integrating knowledge with research evidence and resulting in programmes which are highly relevant to contemporary practice; in addition, the Department boasts some of the most innovative and successful approaches to online and part-time education, recognised through a number of awards.

At all levels, learning and teaching in the Department provides a strong focus on high quality education for real world situations and produces graduates with skills and knowledge relevant to professional roles and in high demand from employers.

Teaching programmes on offer within the Department include:

  • Sport & Exercise Medicine, the world renowned flexible masters programme exclusively for doctors
  • Sports Physiotherapy, a specialist programme designed by physiotherapists for physiotherapists
  • Research in Health Practice, a programme launched in 2008 aimed at health and social care professionals interested in conducting their own research
  • The innovative Professional Doctorate in Health which focuses on both Population Health and Healthcare within the Department, providing a doctoral level programme to develop expert practitioners and researchers in practice.
Facilities, equipment, other resources

Sport and exercise science and medical science laboratories. Close links with the English Institute of Sport and the Department of Sports Development and Recreation.

International and industrial links

There are current links with primary care trusts, strategic health authorities, the two hospitals in Bath and colleagues in industry. The Department works closely with esteemed international academic institutions, and individual health practitioners, in order to meet the regional, national and global challenges facing health and social care.

Careers information

Postgraduate research students gain a wealth of experience to assist them with their next step and are offered personal career advice at the University. The Department has an established research training skills programme for all research students. The taught programmes enable students to extend their health and social care career pathways and to build important networks for further professional opportunities.