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

Supervisors and research proposal

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.

This draft should be emailed to our School Research Student Administrator (

Your proposal will be assessed for suitability to ensure it can be successfully carried out as a research degree, and will be used to match you to an academic who has the expertise to supervise your work.

Making your application

Once you have been assigned a supervisor and confirmed that your research degree can progress, you will be able to make a formal application to study a research degree.

You will need to complete the online application form for all our research degrees. Check out our handy check lists to be sure you have everything you need before starting your application:

Pass the letter to referees and entrance requirements to one referee of your choice. 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.

The application form will ask you to provide details of your qualifications and work experience (a separate CV is acceptable, but details must also be included on the application form). If at the time of applying you are in the final stages of another course, please ensure that you inform us of your result when known.


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 Skype.

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

PhD studentships

Dementia - Fundamentals of care

This funded PhD studentship will nurse and allied health professionals providing fundamental care within the wider system with a focus on care and factors influencing delivery focusing on nutrition and hydration, positive relationships, and activities of daily living affecting patient safety in the acute sector.

We welcome applications from candidates with a background in health or social care, and an interest in primary or acute health care research relevant to issues of socio-economic inequality, access, and health and well-being.

Title: Dementia - Fundamentals of care

Based in: School of Health and Social Care

Open: 31 May 2023 – please make direct enquiries to Professor Camille Cronin

Find out more about this studentship

Disrupting the cycle of gendered violence and poor mental health among migrants in precarious situations (GEMMS)

We are recruiting 3 PhD candidates for this studentship, which will focus on the poorly understood link between gendered violence and poor mental and psychosocial health and how these are experienced by migrant and mobile groups.

The successful applicants will be registered and start at the University of Essex, with extensive periods of field work in years 2 and 3.

We are particularly looking for candidates with an undergraduate and Masters degree, familiarity with quantitative or qualitative methods and data analysis experience, and knowledge of local languages that may be spoken in India, Myanmar, South Africa, or Zimbabwe.

Title: Disrupting the cycle of gendered violence and poor mental health among migrants in precarious situations (GEMMS)

Based in: School of Health and Social Care

Deadline: 7th November 2022

Find out more about this studentship
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
Kathryn Hills Senior Student Administrator
School of Health and Social Care
Telephone: +44 (0)1206 874196