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Social and Policy Sciences PhD

Most students complete this programme in 4 years full-time

Deepen your knowledge and research skills for an academic or professional career that focuses on social and public policy.

This course is delivered by the Department of Social & Policy Sciences. Our department is internationally recognised with a strong focus on policy and practice, and a commitment to contribute to social wellbeing and social justice.

We offer supervisory expertise in four disciplines:

  • International Development
  • Social Policy
  • Sociology
  • Social work

Our PhDs are not formally assigned a discipline and successful candidates can describe their PhD to reflect its main research area (e.g. PhD in Social Policy; PhD in International Development).

The programme will enable you to contribute a significant piece of research to the academic community through a written thesis (typically up to 90,000 words).

Read more about what our current students are researching

Department of Social & Policy Sciences

Programme structure

Most students complete this programme in 4 years. You cannot take less than 2 years to finish your research and the maximum time you are allowed is normally 4 years.


You may start this programme at any time. Most students start in September.

Occasionally we make changes to our programmes in response to, for example, feedback from students, developments in research and the field of studies, and the requirements of accrediting bodies. You will be advised of any significant changes to the advertised programme, in accordance with our Terms and Conditions.

Your academic progress and general welfare will be monitored by your supervisor.

Academic milestones

  1. Registration
  2. Induction
  3. Candidature
  4. Confirmation
  5. Research
  6. Writing up
  7. Give notice of intention to submit a thesis / portfolio
  8. Submission for examination
  9. Examination (Viva Voce)
  10. Examiners report
  11. Final submission of thesis / portfolio
  12. Graduation

Programme content


Learning

  • Supervisory team

Research content

Students carry out a supervised programme of research at the leading edge of their chosen subject. From an initial proposal, students design and conduct a research programme under the direction of one or two members of our academic staff. The PhD research is written up as a substantial thesis and assessed in an extensive oral examination. You can choose to study any topic in which we have research expertise. Details of research staff expertise and interests are available on individual staff pages.

We have particular strengths in international and comparative research across the globe in all our disciplines. Our staff have published research on the UK, Europe, South and South-East Asia, East and West Africa, and Latin America, among others. Our staff, and research students, conduct research across disciplinary boundaries, and frequently work with colleagues from other disciplines in the department, as well as with colleagues in politics, psychology, economics.

Professional Development

Professional development is a crucial element of doctoral study, not only in supporting your research but also as part of your longer term career development. Our DoctoralSkills workshops and courses will help you build your skills and help you succeed in your doctorate.

Read more about professional development support

Assessment


Assessment methods

  • Thesis

Assessment description

Most research students who ‘do a PhD’ register in the first instance as probationer for the programme of PhD. Confirmation of PhD registration is subject to your passing an assessment process, which normally involves submission of written work and an oral examination.

Candidates are expected to carry out supervised research at the leading edge of their chosen subject, which must then be written up as a substantial thesis.

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

Entry requirements


Academic requirements

  • A 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 normally required. 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

You will normally need one of the following:

  • IELTS: 7.0 overall with no less than 6.5 in all components
  • The Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic): 69 with no less than 62 in any element
  • TOEFL IBT: 100 overall with a minimum 24 in all 4 components

You will need to get your English language qualification within 24 months prior to starting your course.

If you need to improve your English language skills before starting your studies, you may be able to take a pre-sessional course to reach the required level.

References

Two references are required. At least one of these should be an academic reference from your most recent place of study.

Fees and funding

Fees and funding information for Social and Policy Sciences PhD


Fees

Your tuition fees and how you pay them will depend on whether you are a Home, Island or Overseas student.

Learn how we decide fee status

These fees are for the academic years stated only. Tuition fees are liable to increase annually for all University of Bath students.

Home and Island students

Tuition fee for the academic year 2022/23

£4,600

Overseas students

Tuition fee for the academic year 2022/23

£20,400

Legal information

You should budget for an increase of up to 5% each year for every further year of study; we will not increase your fees each year by more than this percentage and the amount will be set out on our fee page in December for the following academic year.

If you aren't paying your fees in British pounds, you should also budget for possible fluctuations in your own currency.

How to pay

Funding options

Find funding for Doctoral research

Payment options

You can pay your tuition fees by Direct Debit, debit card, credit card, cheque, bank transfer or cash.

Paying your tuition fees

Application information



Applicant profile

If you wish to study for both the MRes and the PhD (the 1 + 3) you should apply for the PhD but indicate on the Application Form, that you also wish to study for the MRes.

Progression from the MRes to the PhD stage is dependent on achieving an acceptable level of achievement (typically an overall average of 60% on at least the taught component of the MRes).

See our guide about how to apply for doctoral study

If you are an international student applying for this course, find out more about the visa requirements for studying in the UK.

Programme enquiries


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