Primary Care Clinical Sciences PhD/MSc by Research

The RAE 2008 results place the University's Primary Care researchers as some of the top in the UK. With a world-class research programme focusing on the impact of major diseases among the population, our researchers also have significant expertise in smoking cessation, clinical decision-making, exercise and how ethnicity affects health.

Course fact file

Type of Course: Doctoral research

Study Options: Full time, part time

Duration: PhD – 3 years full-time, 6 years part-time; MSc by Research – 1 year full-time, 2 years part-time

Start date: Research degrees may start at any time of the year, though for most this will be September


Health and Population Sciences postgraduate research queries:

You can contact us on +44 (0)121 414 5005


Primary Care Clinical Sciences at Birmingham is one of the largest centres for academic primary care in the UK and has a very substantial teaching role.

Primary care research focuses upon three main clinical areas:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Cancer and chronic disease
  • Behavioural medicine and mental health research 

These are supported by cross-cutting methodology expertise in health services research, research on health related quality of life, trials methodology, and qualitative research. In addition, we have a strong cross-cutting theme on ethnicity and health. The Department has invested in and supports its research programme through the Primary Care Clinical Research and Trials Unit (PCCRTU) and large Primary Care Research Network (MidReC).

Primary Care is a major research strength within the College of Medical and Dental Sciences, as evidenced by the fact 65% of our 2008 Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) submission in this area was considered internationally excellent or world leading, including 35% of world leading quality. The RAE 2008 results place the University's primary care researchers as amongst the top in the UK.

Our research crosses all stages of the translational spectrum, from early stage studies through to implementation research and service delivery research. We do research on devices, pharmacological, psychological, and organisational interventions to improve health. 

The Studentships in Primary Health Care 2013 competition is now open

Fees and funding

Standard fees  apply, although in some projects a bench fee is also payable 
Learn more about fees and funding

Scholarships and studentships
We are able to offer a small amount of paid undergraduate tutoring in medical ethics to full-time research students and local part-time research students; home/EU students should contact the School directly for further information. International students can often gain funding through overseas research scholarships, Commonwealth scholarships or their home government.

For further information contact the School directly or email

Entry requirements

Learn more about entry requirements

International students
We accept a range of qualifications from different countries – learn more about international entry requirements

Standard English language requirements apply

How to apply

When clicking on the Apply Now button you will be directed to an application specifically designed for the programme you wish to apply for where you will create an account with the University application system and submit your application and supporting documents online. Further information regarding how to apply online can be found on the How to apply pages

Apply now


Health and Population Sciences postgraduate research queries:

You can contact us on +44 (0)121 414 5005

Research interests of staff

Before submitting an application to the University, you will need to identify potential supervisors in your desired field of research in order that you can indicate this in your application. There will be a delay in processing your application if this information is not provided. To do this, you can browse the “research interests” tab on the course finder pages which identifies research leads by subject area.

Alternatively you can:

  • Search for an advertised postgraduate research opportunity via our Doctoral Researchers search engine
  • Browse the school websites. Most schools provide a list of research active staff and their research interests on their website
  • Behavioural medicine in the field of tobacco control and addictions; Behavioural medicine in treatment of obesity 
    Contact: Dr Paul Aveyard
  • Quality of life.
    Contact: Dr Melanie Calvert
  • Behavioural medicine: effects of exercise in clinical populations and community groups.
    Contact: Dr Amanda Daley 
  • Cardiovascular trials; anti-coagulation in primary care; near patient testing; asthma; decision-making.
    Contact: Professor David Fitzmaurice
  • Health inequalities, including ethnicity; prescribing; evidence-based practice.
    Contact: Dr Paramjit Gill
  • Complementary medicine; patient self-management; prescribing.
    Contact: Dr Sheila Greenfield
  • Thyroid disease; evaluation of undergraduate teaching programmes.
    Contact: Professor Jim Parle
  • Impact of chronic diseases; evaluation of complementary or psychological therapies; irritable bowel syndrome.
    Contact: Dr Lesley Roberts
  • The language of spoken and written medical communication; medical education.
    Contact: Professor John Skelton
  • Community based mental health
    Contact: Dr Liz England
  • Reproductive technology and responsibility, specifically the ethical and philosophical implications of genetic relatedness; ethics and transplantation; ethical decisions at the end of life.
    Contact: Dr Heather Draper
  • Moral concern and vulnerable groups; ethical issues at the beginning and end of life.
    Contact: Dr June Jones 
  • Cancer and Chronic Disease, Epidemiology, Screening
    Contact: Dr Sarah Damery
  • Public policy and service delivery
    Contact: Dr George Dowswell
  • Patient narratives or accounts of illness or particular treatment interventions; Cross-cultural studies of illness beliefs or management; Self-management, Complementary and alternative medicine: user perspectives, regulation, professional development and standards, practitioner education, use in particular conditions or patient groups; Implementation of service improvement programmes
    Contact: Nicola Gale
  • Strategies to improve primary care mental health; Quality improvement in primary care; The quality and outcomes framework; Early intervention in mental health
    Contact: Professor Helen Lester
  • The relationship between culture, faith and health; Chronic illness and self-management in minority ethnic communities; 'Novel methods' in applied health research; Patient and public involvement in research; New ways of delivering health services for children; Socoptechnical aspects of IT implementation and patient safety
    Contact: Dr Sabi Redwood
  • Recovery from serious mental illness; Mental health inequalities; Global mental health; The role of self-care in serious mental illness
    Contact: Dr Lynda Tait


Health and Population Sciences postgraduate research queries:

You can contact us on +44 (0)121 414 5005


Following graduation, Postgraduate Researchers in the College MDS gain employment in a variety of areas though with a majority continuing in research, mostly in Academia but also in the Health,  Pharmaceutical, and Biotechnology sectors.  Others pursue careers in Education, Publishing, Intellectual Property Protection, Technology Innovation, Business, and more besides.

Find out more about where our postgraduate students go


Health and Population Sciences postgraduate research queries:

You can contact us on +44 (0)121 414 5005