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Welfare, Health and Wellbeing 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. We welcome all multidisciplinary topics in the area of Welfare, Health and Wellbeing. Examples of our research areas are listed below. From 2017 studentships may be available to suitably qualified applicants through our membership of the ESRC –funded Grand Union Doctoral Training Partnership.

PhD degree
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
Researchers in the Welfare, Health and Wellbeing theme work in the UK and internationally to improve knowledge of the social processes that contribute to people’s welfare, health and wellbeing. We address these challenges through robust, ethical research and by developing innovative methodologies to advance how research, knowledge production and evaluation are conducted. We have strong connections with policy making and practice, and a commitment to social impact and public engagement. Our established research areas include:

  • Health behaviour, experiences and interventions
  • Sport, physical activity, health and wellbeing
  • Social change and wellbeing in the global south
  • Youth welfare, health and wellbeing
  • Media, communication and representation in health and wellbeing
  • Wellbeing experiences and evidence 

You can find more detailed descriptions of these areas here.

ESRC-funded studentships through the GUDTP Health and Wellbeing Pathway
Many of our research areas are eligible for studentships awarded through our membership of the Health and Wellbeing Pathway of the ESRC-funded Grand Union Doctoral Training Partnership (GUDTP). We welcome enquiries about potential topics in the area of Health and Wellbeing; the list below is by no means exhaustive but gives examples of current and recent opportunities:

  • Community sport and wellbeing:  a qualitative perspective
  • The impact of community sport programmes on young people from disadvantaged backgrounds.
  • Addressing health and wellbeing inequalities through sport and physical activity
  • Developing sport development: online collaborative training for staff working in national/international sport development-based charities
  • Sexual Health Promotion: a comparative study of methods for reaching young people.
  • Improving LGBT Health Through Good Practice in Health Promotion
  • Anti-violence Interventions With Young People: Evaluating a sexual consent campaign
  • Switched on and Connected? Loneliness And Young People – the well-being of young people in the digital age.

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, please use the contact details below for enquiries. You may approach your potential supervisor directly - browse Welfare, Health and Wellbeing Theme Members Profiles.

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


Special Features

Excellent research support and training
Extensive training and support is offered to all research students by the Graduate School, with regular Masterclasses and individual advice on academic issues as part of the Researcher Development Programme. Read more about the available Research Support and Training.

Library services
Brunel's library is open 24 hours a day, has 400,000 books and 250,000 e-books, and an annual budget of almost £2m. Subject Information Specialists train students in the latest technology, digital literacy, and digital dissemination of scholarly outputs.

  • state-of-the-art research information management tools including a research publication and grant database
  • one of the largest UK’s full text repository
  • an integrated data management system
  • analytical tools such as Altmertic and InCites
  • Open Access centrally managed fund

Facts and Figures

Brunel University London REF2014 Submission:  Public Health, Health Services and Primary Care

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

Teaching and Assessment


Supervisors with insight
Our supervisors create knowledge and advance understanding, and equip research students with the confidence to apply what they have learnt for the benefit of society. Browse all potential supervisor profiles further here: Welfare, Health and Wellbeing Theme Members Profiles.

Fees for 2016/17 entry

Fees per year for 2016/17

Home/EU students

Full time: £4,121 Part time: £2,060

International students

Full time: £17,200 Part time: £8,600

Funding for doctoral studies: A number of studentships and other research funding opportunities are available at Brunel. Please see full list here: Research degree funding.

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

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.

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.