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Health Sciences PhD


About the course

Research students are welcomed to Brunel as valued members of our thriving, research-intensive community. A research degree provides the opportunity to investigate a topic in depth, and contribute new knowledge to your discipline. A PhD involves demonstrating through original research or other advanced scholarship the creation and interpretation of new knowledge, a systematic acquisition and understanding of a substantial body of knowledge at the forefront of an academic discipline or professional practice, the ability to conceptualise, design and implement a project for the general of new knowledge, applications or understanding at the forefront of the discipline. Both full-time (3 years) and part-time (6 years) study routes are available.

MPhil degree option
An MPhil involves the exploration of a research topic and is typically studied over a shorter period of 1 year for a full-time student and 2 years for a part-time student. MPhil students are required to demonstrate a systematic understanding of knowledge and a critical awareness of current problems and/or new insights informed by the forefront of their discipline, field of study or professional practice.

Research profile
Health Sciences is a dynamic and cutting edge programme of study within the Department of Clinical Sciences. Our academics are research active and internationally renowned in their own specialist fields of reproductive health, ageing, dementia, experiences of health and illness, mental health, and the social context of health and wellbeing. We promote our understanding and knowledge into the major determinants of health and explore ways to address social and economic inequalities. 

PhD students can draw upon and focus on a wide range of research methods – that includes quantitative, qualitative, visual methods, arts based and digital methods.

Find out more



All research degrees are administered by the Postgraduate Research Programmes Office in Colleges. Once you have identified your area of research and a potential supervisor, you can complete your application online. Please use the contact details below for enquiries. You may also approach your potential supervisor directly.

College of Health and Life Sciences
Tel: +44 (0) 1895 268161

Dr Subhash Pokhrel
Division Lead – Health Sciences
Tel: +44 (0)1895 268745

Dr Claire Donovan,
Department PGR Director
Tel: +44 (0)1895 267651

Special Features

A training programme will be provided by the College to assist students with achieving targets.  The programme will include the underpinning principles such as philosophy of science, research integrity, ethics and specialist methodology.  Sessions in core, specialist and advanced research methods will prepare students for an independent research career.  The College research methods programme includes sessions from specialists with research expertise in qualitative, quantitative, reflexive, practitioner and insider research, and is aligned with the ESRC research methods expectations. Students will also enrol in the Graduate School Researcher Development Programme that ensures all students are equipped with generic research skills including presentational skills and impact activities.

Teaching and Assessment


Each student will be allocated a supervisory team consisting of the principal supervisor, second supervisor and a Research Development Advisor. The supervisory team will set teaching and learning targets and advise the student how to achieve them. The progress of each student will be assessed by the supervisory team at regular meetings and by a formal Progress Review Panel at 9 months for full-time students (18 months for part-time students) and then annually. All academic supervisors receive university supported training in the supervision of PhD students.

Some of the potential supervisors are listed below:

  • Prof Mary Gilhooly
  • Dr Pamela Griffiths
  • Dr Wendy Martin
  • Prof Christina Victor
  • Dr Jitka Pikhartova




Following the completion of the course students may follow several career paths:

  • Career path within academia starting as a University Lecturer
  • Career progression within research institutes commencing as a post-doc researcher and progressing to senior researcher
  • Careers in consultancies for Health and Social Care; Ageing
  • Careers in government departments (e.g. Department of Health) and agencies (e.g. National Health Service)

At Brunel we provide many opportunities and experiences within your degree programme and beyond – work-based learning, professional support services, volunteering, mentoring, sports, arts, clubs, societies, and much, much more – and we encourage you to make the most of them, so that you can make the most of yourself.

» More about Employability

Fees for 2016/17 entry

Home/EU students

Full time: £4,121 Part time: £2,060

International students

Full time: £17,200 Part time: £8,600

Entry Criteria 2017/18

The general University entrance requirement for registration for a research degree is normally a First or Upper Second Class Honours degree and additionally, for a PhD, a Master’s degree or equivalent.  All international students must show evidence that they meet the English requirement for their course of study: IELTS 7.0 (with no less than 6.0 in any section). This applies even if English is the native language of your home country. An appropriate level of English language competence is also expected as listed below. Find out which alternative English language qualifications we accept. Applicants may also be required to attend compulsory in-sessional English language support. The Senate reserves the right to assess the eligibility of applicants on an individual basis.

Potential research students are encouraged to contact members of staff in the area of interest to receive guidance on how to write the research proposal.

Entry criteria are subject to review and change each academic year.

International and EU Entry Requirements

If your country or institution is not listed or if you are not sure whether your institution is eligible, please contact Admissions

This information is for guidance only by Brunel University London and by meeting the academic requirements does not guarantee entry for our courses as applications are assessed on case-by-case basis.

English Language Requirements

  • IELTS: 7 (min 6 in all areas)
  • Pearson: 64 (51 in all subscores)
  • BrunELT: 70% (min 60% in all areas)

Brunel University London strongly recommends that if you will require a Tier 4 visa, you sit your IELTS test at a test centre that has been approved by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) as being a provider of a Secure English Language Test (SELT). Not all test centres have this status. The University can accept IELTS (with the required scores) taken at any official test centre or other English Language qualifications we accept as meeting our main award entry requirements.

However, if you wish to undertake a Pre-sessional English course to further improve your English prior to the start of your degree course, you must sit the test at an approved SELT provider. This is because you will only be able to apply for a Tier 4 student visa to undertake a Pre-sessional English course if you hold a SELT from a UKVI approved test centre. Find out more information about it.

Brunel also offers our own BrunELT English Test and accepts a range of other language courses. We also have Pre-sessional English language courses for students who do not meet these requirements, or who wish to improve their English.

Our International Pathways and Language Centre offers a number of foundation and pre-masters courses to provide you with the academic skills required for your chosen course.