School of Health and Social Care

Research Degrees

Students in conversation

Don't wait for change to happen. Be the change.

As a postgraduate researcher in our school, the opportunity to make a real difference to the way health and social care is delivered and managed is at your finger tips. If you've got the drive to explore the unknown, we've got the expertise. Together we'll innovate.

If you're thinking of undertaking a research degree with us, then you can start with reviewing our research and looking through the School research groups where you will find programmes of work and research active staff.

Please approach potential supervisors to express an interest before making an application. Once you have made contact informally, please look at how look at how to put a proposal together. We look forward to hearing from you.

Explore our postgraduate research degrees

Our degrees

We offer a range of levels of postgraduate research across a range of clinical and non-clinical areas of specialism:


Please read more about our research and School research groups where you will see research active staff and their work. You can visit individual staff profiles and if you are looking to carrying out research in a different area to those listed, please contact us to discuss this further. Alternatively view our Professional Doctorates.

Transferable employability skills for PhD graduates are critical, as they enable you to work effectively within industry as well as academia. We'll give you access to Proficio which is designed to give you unique opportunities to acquire a set of specialist professional skills and deepen and expand your subject knowledge, at all stages of your career.

Applying for a research degree

Step 1: getting to know us     

Take a look at our staff research interests or our research groups to find out what specific areas of research we cover.

Once you have looked through our staff list and worked out what you will be researching, you will need to draft a brief research proposal. Your proposal should include a background context to your proposed work, the aims/questions of your study and the methodology you propose.

Step 2: making your application

Take a look at the University of Essex's postgraduate research application information pages. Here you'll find a step-by-step guide to help you complete your application.

Guidance for all Health and Social Care research applications

Whether you are applying for PhD, MPhil, or MSc by Dissertation, you should use this checklist to support your application.

All applicants should:

  • Complete ALL sections of the online application form
  • Attach a 400-500 word proposal detailing the proposed topic and methodology
  • Clearly state your qualifications and work experience (these should be included on the online application form even if you enclose a separate CV)
  • Attach an up-to-date CV
  • Enclose supporting evidence of academic and/or professional qualifications (must include transcripts)
  • Include 2 referees (one academic).  Make sure you pass on the reference request letters to your referees.  You will need to fill in your name, address and degree you have applied for at the bottom of your referee letter. It is advisable to contact your referee before sending the letters in case they are unable to write on your behalf. We are not able to process your application until your reference has been received.
  • Ensure that you inform the School of the outcome of any qualification(s) not yet obtained.

If you do not complete all of these steps, the processing of your application may be delayed.  

Step 3: Interview

As part of the decision making process, we'll invite you to an interview before a formal offer is made.

The purposes of this interview are:

  • To assess your suitability to undertake the programme
  • To meet your potential supervisor(s)
  • To provide an opportunity to discuss your proposed research in greater detail
  • To answer any question you may have about the programme and university

Detailed information about the format of the interview will be provided to you in advance of the meeting.

International students/those who cannot easily make a day trip to the university will be offered an interview via telephone or Zoom.

Dr Danny Taggart sitting a table smiling at the camera
"One of the most important features of research supervision for me is helping students connect with local groups who are well placed to help us understand research priorities for communities in Essex.  The living experience of these groups grounds the research in praxis and enables us to increase the real-world impacts of our findings.  For that reason, any recognition of my research supervision is also an endorsement of our stakeholder partners at Healthwatch Essex and other local groups.
Dr Danny Taggart Supervisor of the Year 2022

Research groups

Head and shoulders profile photo of Professor Ewen Speed
“For me, PhD supervision is a privileged position, where, as academics, we are responsible for assisting in the development of the next generation of thinkers and researchers in our respective fields.  I like to encourage students to ask difficult questions, rather than thinking they have excellent answers (the answers to the difficult questions should come at the end of the process!).
Professor Ewen Speed Supervisor of the year 2021
Photo of a person, with their head out of shot, sitting alongside a desk surface, writing on some pieces of paper on the desk.
Our research

We specialise in applied, multi-disciplinary research that addresses local, national and international issues relating to health and social care policy and practice, and other related fields.

See more
Get in touch
Becky Hindle Senior Student Administrator
School of Health and Social Care
Telephone: +44 (0)1206 874488