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Social Work PhD

MPhil option available This course has an MPhil option

Overview

PhD student loans

The UK Government has recently introduced PhD loans of up to £25000 to UK and EU nationals, residing in England, for postgraduate research programmes starting in the academic year 2018-19. Read more here

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
Social Work at Brunel enables graduates to make a real difference to the world around them including direct practice, community work and practice aimed at influencing social policy. The Social Work Division has particular strengths in working with the old and the young. A PhD in Social Work aims to enable someone to develop knowledge in a specialist area and offers the opportunity to make a valuable and novel contribution to knowledge in a policy, practice or educational aspect of Social Work.

Brunel Experts by Experience has a long and proud history at Brunel whereby service-users help the delivery of Social Work training to students and staff.

In the Division of Social Work we have members of staff who are:

  • Editor of Ageing and Society, the leading social gerontology journal in the UK
  • Editors of International Journal of Social Work, Gender and Education, Sex Education
  • Fellow of the Faculty of Public Health
  • Academician of the Academy of Social Sciences
  • Core member of the Sex Education Forum
  • Advisor on projects funded by the Office of the Children’s Commissioner
  • Convenor of the British Educational Research Association’s Sexualities Special Interest Group
  • Awarded the Ken Darby-Dowman Memorial Award for post-graduate teaching

The Division of Social Work have:

  • specialism in gerontology
  • specialism in working with children and young people
  • research with practitioners on tackling gender violence
  • commitment to anti-oppressive practice
  • service user perspectives and experiences
  • specialist researchers in gender and sexualities

Applicants are welcome to contact us about their own specialist topics and projects.  However we particularly welcome proposals on

  • Anti-oppressive practice and the development of resilient practitioners
  • Children and young people’s experience of services
  • Elderly and emotional well-being
  • Sexualities and Sexual Violence

Find out more
Department of Clinical Sciences
Division of Social Work
Ageing Studies
Welfare, Health and Wellbeing
Institute of Environment, Health and Societies

 

Enquiries

Contact our Enquiries team.
Course Enquiries: +44 (0)1895 265599 (before you submit an application)
Admissions Office: +44 (0)1895 265265 (after you submit an application)


Course content

Research degrees evolve in different ways according to discipline. Find out about what progress might look like at each stage of study here: Research degree progress structure

Employability

Careers

Social Work is an evidence-based profession.  Research on the efficacy of social work interventions and on service user perspectives and experiences of services are crucial to it.  This research is highly valued by the profession.  PhDs in Social Work are respected in the field and set an academic research-active practitioner apart from practitioners in general.  University departments that deliver social work education expect most staff to have PhDs.

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

Entry criteria 2018/19

The general University entrance requirement for registration for a research degree is normally a First or Upper Second Class Honours degree. All international students must show evidence that they meet the English requirement for their course of study. 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 focus 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 6.5W, 6.5L, 6.5R, 6.5S)
  • Pearson: 64 (58 in all subscores)
  • BrunELT: 70% (65% in all areas)

You can find out more about the qualifications we accept on our English Language Requirements page.

If you require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK, you must prove knowledge of the English language so that we can issue you a Certificate of Acceptance for Study (CAS). To do this, you will need an IELTS for UKVI or Trinity SELT test pass gained from a test centre approved by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) and on the Secure English Language Testing (SELT) list. This must have been taken and passed within two years from the date the CAS is made.

Should you wish to take a pre-sessional English course to improve your English prior to starting your degree course, you must sit the test at an approved SELT provider for the same reason.

We offer our own BrunELT English Test and have pre-sessional English language courses for students who do not meet requirements or who wish to improve their English. You can find out more information on English courses and test options at the Brunel Language Centre.

Teaching and learning

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.

Find out more about working with the Supervisory Team here.

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.

Facts and figures

  • In the last REF, ‘Social Work & Social Policy’ was the most improved of all Units of Assessment at Brunel.  Social Work at Brunel was ranked the 4th highest SW training in London in 2015. Brunel University London REF2014 Submission:  Social Work and Social Policy. The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is a system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The results of the REF2014 have been made public in December 2014, replacing the previous REF conducted in 2008.  The next REF will be undertaken in 2020. Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014 - A Guide for PhD Students
  • Brunel lead an international research project on gender violence with half a million pounds of European Commission funding and translated the training resources produced for professionals into five European languages (http://sites.Brunel.ac.uk/gap)
  • Brunel leads on a million pound international project to improve responses to sexual violence (http://usvreact.eu/)
  • Study environment for research students
    Find out more: Study environment for research students

Fees and funding

Fees for 2018/19 entry

2018/19 Fees:

Home/EU students

Full time: £4,260 / Part time: £2,130

International students

Full time: £18,000 Part time: £9,000

 

2017/18 Fees:

Home/EU students

Full time: £4,195 Part time: £2,097

International students

Full time: £17,500 Part time: £8,750

Research funding

We offer a range of PhD studentships, partial scholarships, and academic prizes, to help with your research fees.  Explore external funding, particularly the Research Councils, as well as other support.

Additional course related costs

Fees quoted are per year and are subject to an annual increase.