MPhil option available
This course has an MPhil option
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.
Physiotherapy offers a multi-stranded research programme exploring the development and evaluation of rehabilitation strategies, the environments in which they can be used and the lived experience of patients across a broad spectrum of acute and long term conditions. This includes the whole rehabilitation pathway and beyond, aiming to explore and promote the best in evidence based practice. Physiotherapy at Brunel has a large team of academics who are actively involved in research across a wide range of clinical specialties. The academic team has internationally renowned expertise in cardiorespiratory, musculoskeletal and neurological health and rehabilitation and in quantitative, qualitative and mixed research methodologies. We have an established national and international profile in terms of relationships with health, government, professional and research funding bodies to support collaborative research. The academic team has extensive clinical expertise and retains strong collaborative links with several key London hospitals and NHS trusts.
Applicants are welcome to contact us about their own specialist topics and projects. However we particularly welcome proposals on :
- Evaluating the effectiveness of contemporary and novel rehabilitation strategies for long term conditions.
- The refinement of contemporary rehabilitation, preventative and health promotion strategies used to enhance the wellbeing of people with stroke, cerebral palsy, cardiac disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, chronic pain and people in critical care.
- The use of electronic and assistive technologies.
- Peoples’ experiences of physiotherapy and/or living with long term health conditions.
- The use of principles from sports psychology to help older adults overcome fear of falling and improve mobility and to reduce gait deficits (such as freezing of gait) in people with Parkinson’s disease.
- The use of principles from sports psychology.
- Investigating participation and pedagogy to enhance the learning experience of student physiotherapists.
Find out more
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)
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
Careers and your future
A PhD in Physiotherapy will particularly suit physiotherapists who wish to contribute to the development of research knowledge in their specialist area or to academic training. Universities recruiting lecturers for Physiotherapy courses usually expect a PhD as well as a practice experience.
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 2019/20
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.
As part of our application process for entry on our research degree (MPhil and PhD) programmes, we ask you to provide a 500-1,000 word research statement, excluding any references/bibliography you may include, setting out your research motivation, ideas and aspirations. Learn how to prepare a research statement here.
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)
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
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.
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.
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
Brunel University London REF2014 Submission:
Public Health, Health Services and Primary Care
Allied Health Professions, Dentistry, Nursing and Pharmacy
Sport and Exercise Sciences, Leisure and Tourism
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
Study environment for research students
Find out more: Study environment for research students
Fees and funding
Fees for 2019/20 entry
Full time: TBC / Part time: TBC
Full time: £18,720
Full time: £4,260 / Part time: £2,130
Full time: £18,000
Research projects undertaken within the Department of Life Sciences in the areas of Biosciences; Environmental Sciences; Psychology and Sport, Health and Exercise Sciences may require an annual bench fee. Research projects undertaken within the Department of Clinical Sciences in the areas of Physiotherapy; Occupational Therapy; Health Sciences and Social Work may also require an annual bench fee. The amount is variable dependent on the requirements of the project and will be discussed and agreed between the applicant and the supervisor at interview stage. This amount will be additional to tuition fees and will be stated in the offer letter from Admissions
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.
Some courses incur additional course related costs. You can also check our on-campus accommodation costs for more information on living expenses.
Fees quoted are per year and are subject to an annual increase.