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Nursing PhD

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Programme description

The School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work was placed top of the table for nursing and midwifery research in the 2008 UK Research Assessment Exercise, making this the ideal place to study for a postgraduate research award.

The postgraduate research programme gives students the opportunity to work with internationally renowned scholars engaged in innovative research that will make a difference in people's lives and in health and social care. We particularly welcome students from all health and social care disciplines who have an interest in exploring areas related to the School¿s research programme .

The PhD programme of study consists of:

  • Supervision by one or two members of staff
  • Research training and support
  • Taught course units
  • Independent study

High-quality supervision is an integral part of the programme and students are allocated two supervisors with appropriate expertise from among the academic staff. Students are also assigned an advisor for further support.

The supervisory team will assist the PhD applicant throughout the study ensuring academic objectives are met and suitable training is provided in core skills fundamental to the research. Transferable skills training is provided by a dedicated Graduate Training Programme offered by the Faculty of Medical and Human Sciences which provides training on aspects such as research methodology, critical writing skills, intellectual property, research ethics.

Special features

PhD students have the option of studying using a distance learning (DL) route. See: Online support for MPhil/PhD study

This innovative option is aimed at students who are generally unable to be present on The University of Manchester campus, but have the desire, potential and time to undertake a PhD. This option does include attendance at an annual, on-campus, intensive study week, where they meet supervisors and fellow students.

Teaching and learning


Supervision is arranged taking account of the research interests and expertise of the staff and the candidate's proposed project. On occasion, joint supervision with a member of staff from another School within the University may be arranged, depending on the research method or topic to be studied.

Preference will be given to students whose research will complement the current research themes of the School.

Coursework and assessment

Students join one of the Research Groups within the School appropriate to the nature of their study. Each academic grouping holds regular meetings aimed at the following types of research activity:

  • Discussing students' progress in a wider research context
  • Providing a forum for staff and students to present research findings and ideas in a supportive atmosphere
  • Discussing and giving advice on conference presentations and broadening awareness of student's research
  • Facilitating career development opportunities beyond their PhD

There is a detailed system to monitor the progress of PhD students. Students must submit work at specific stages and meet with their supervisors throughout their course. Some meetings are informal, while others are formal and documented.

All students must submit a continuation report at the end of 11 months (23 months if part time) which must be of the quality and style of a Master¿s thesis and which is accompanied by a viva examination.

Scholarships and bursaries

Prospective applicants are advised to visit the Studentships and funding pages for the most up-to-date information. Candidates are encouraged to contact the School well in advance of their proposed study date if they are seeking funded positions. This will facilitate the development of proposals for applications for external fellowships (eg. Department of Health, ESRC).


The School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work is based in a state of the art building housing seminar rooms, IT facilities, interpersonal skills laboratories and lecture theatres. The wider facilities of the university are of an excellent standard, with one of the best library collections and resources in Europe.

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Support Office. Email: