PhD Nursing (4 years) / Programme details

Year of entry: 2024

Programme description

Our PhD 4-year Nursing programme enables you to undertake a research project that will improve understanding of Nursing.

This postgraduate research programme in nursing gives you 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 related subject areas.

4-year PhD (full time and full time distance learning only)

This is a four year PhD programme for students who:

  • have not previously studied research methods
  • have studied research methods but not in the UK
  • have limited English language skills
  • have not completed a master's degree.

In this programme, the first year is a foundation year designed to prepare you for the following three years of the PhD programme.

This will include completing taught research methods units from our MClin Res in Clinical Research , developing a research proposal with your supervision team and English language tuition (if English is not your first language).

We also offer a standard three year PhD programme (as well as MPhil ) for students who do not need to do the foundation year.

Special features

Training and development

All of our postgraduate researchers attend the Doctoral Academy Training Programme delivered by the Researcher Development team . The programme provides key transferable skills and equips our postgraduate researchers with the tools to progress beyond their research degree into influential positions within academia, industry and consultancy. The emphasis is on enhancing skills critical to developing early-stage researchers and professionals, whether they relate to effective communication, disseminating research findings and project management skills.

Coursework and assessment

Our PhD programmes follow the University's methods of assessment for PhD study and student progress is monitored via a detailed electronic system (e-prog) using a standard set of progress and monitoring forms.  

Students must submit work at specific stages, review their progress, identify their learning and development needs, and meet with their supervisors throughout their course. Some meetings and evaluations are informal, while others are formal and documented.

4-year PhD  

In order to complete the foundation year and progress to year 2 all students must pass 4 MRes units with a mark of 50% or higher. Students will also write a proposal of about 2,000-2,500 words that will provide a platform for an end of year 1 meeting with supervisors and advisor; this is not formally assessed. Students will also be expected to complete English language tuition as required.

You will submit a continuation report at the end of 23 months. This will summarise your knowledge and skills in your topic of study and your ability to apply this to produce a robust research plan to complete your study. It is examined by two external examiners by a viva examination, and must be passed to progress to Year 3.

At the end of Year 3, you will submit a progress report via eProg for assessment by the supervisors and postgraduate research tutor. At the end of Year 4, the PhD thesis will be examined by an internal and external examiner.

Scholarships and bursaries

Funded programmes and projects are promoted throughout the year. Funding is available through UK Research Councils, charities and industry. We also have other internal awards and scholarships for the most outstanding applicants from within the UK and overseas.

For more information on available the types of funding we have available, please visit the funded programmes and funding opportunities pages.

What our students say

Find out more about what it's like to undertake a postgraduate research degree at Manchester on the Doctoral Academy Blog and the support available through our Faculty Doctoral Academy.


You will have access to Jean McFarlane Building which houses student study space, 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 Advisory and Support Service. Email: