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PhD/MPhil Health Services Management

Start date
PhD – 3 years full-time, 6 years part-time; MPhil – 2 years full-time, 4 years part-time
Course Type
Postgraduate, Doctoral research

For 2023-2024
PhD with University of Melbourne Full time £4,620
PhD Full time £4,620
PhD Distance Learning £2,310
PhD Part time £2,310

We offer two types of research degree: an MPhil or a PhD - in health services management and related disciplines such as health policy, health sociology and leadership.

Prospective applicants for research degrees in any aspect of health service management and health care policy are invited to apply, outlining their special interests. As part of their application, candidates will need to submit an outline proposal of their research topic. Find out more about writing a proposal for HSMC.

All research degree programmes may be undertaken either by full-time study or, for home and EU students only, by part-time study. Unfortunately, we do not currently offer distance learning courses for postgraduate research, although we are exploring the possibility of offering this in the future.

We offer two types of research degree: MPhil and PhD. Both may be taken either by full- or part-time study. Prospective applicants for research degrees in any aspect of health service management and health care policy are invited to apply, outlining their special interests. As part of their application, candidates will need to submit an outline proposal of their research topic.

Research areas

Theories and concepts of the social sciences underpin the approaches of HSMC research staff. HSMC offers the opportunity to study for research degrees in a wide variety of topics relating to health services policy and management, including:

  • Health Policy and Reform
  • Decision making and strategic planning
  • Service and quality improvement
  • Public, patients and communities
  • Leadership and management
  • Workforce and professions

HSMC staff bring their wide knowledge of UK and international health systems (gained through research and consultancy activities, as well as their own professional experience) to their teaching and tutorial support for students. This emphasis on combining theory and practice is maintained throughout all of our programmes.

Find out more about the research interests of doctoral researchers in HSMC.


Fees 2023 - 2024


204B - PhD with University of Melbourne Full time £4,620
2349 - PhD Full time £4,620
002B - PhD Distance Learning £2,310
2350 - PhD Part time £2,310


204B - PhD with University of Melbourne Full time £20,340
2349 - PhD Full time £20,340
002B - PhD Distance Learning £10,170

Learn more about fees and funding.

Scholarships and studentships

Details of any departmental scholarships are indicated on our website.

International students can often gain funding through overseas research scholarships, Commonwealth scholarships or their home government. More information on international scholarships

College and School opportunities are advertised on and some supervisors use 'Find a PhD' which provides information about opportunities to conduct doctoral research. We also nominate our strongest applicants for studentships supported by the ESRC-funded Midlands Doctoral Training Partnership, of which we are one of the principal institutional partners.

Find out more about postgraduate research scholarships.

Postgraduate Loans for Masters students

PGL will be a contribution towards the costs of study and whether the loan is used towards fees, maintenance or other costs will be at the discretion of the student.

 For more detailed information view our Postgraduate funding page

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 online

Our Standard Requirements

Direct entry to a PhD programme requires a Masters degree or a relevant good Honours degree. The entry requirements for an MPhil are a good Honours degree or equivalent. Post-qualification experience will also be taken into account when considering applicants. Possibilities exist for transfer to a PhD programme from an MPhil programme.

Learn more about entry requirements.


International Requirements

  • Social care; Older people; Preventative services; Health sociology; Experiences of illness; Long-term conditions
    Contact: Kerry Allen, Lecturer.
  • Health policy; Medical professionalism; Health inequality; Policy implementation
    Contact: Mark Exworthy, Professor of Health Policy and Management
  • Health sociology; Complementary and alternative medicine; Community-based health care workforce (e.g. pharmacy, outreach workers, health trainers, health visitors, community nursing, midwifery); Health risks and public health; Primary care workforce (GPs, nursing, receptionists, practice managers)
    Contact: Nicola Gale, Senior Lecturer
  • Inter-agency health and social care; Direct payments and individual budgets; Community Care
    Contact: Jon Glasby, Professor of Health and Social Care and Head of School of Social Policy
  • Qualitative health research; Mental health; Health inequalities; Experiences of illness

  • Organisational aspects of quality and safety, including cultures, incentives and policies
    Contact: Russell Mannion, Professor of Health Systems
  • Health system and service reform; Board governance; Social enterprise
    Contact: Ross Millar, Lecturer
  • Integration; Working across third and statutory sectors; Change management
    Contact: Robin Miller, Senior Fellow
  • Social care; Co-production; Personalisation; Public sector workforce; Interpretive policy analysis
    Contact: Catherine Needham, Reader in Public Policy and Public Management
  • Health and social care policy; Mental health transformation; Equalities; Patient and public involvement; Advocacy and service user involvement; Commissioning for mental health and wellbeing
    Contact: Karen Newbigging, Senior Lecturer in Healthcare Policy and Management
  • Welfare regimes; History of health policy; Geography of public service provision; Theoretical Developments in the Welfare State; Public Sector Partnerships; Equality in the Welfare State; Decentralisation of public provision; Consumerism and Citizenship; Health care workforce issues
    Contact: Martin Powell, Professor of Health and Social Policy
  • Health purchasing and commissioning; Primary care policy and management; Integrated care/older people's care; International comparisons in health policy and organisation; Evaluations of policy and practice interventions in health care
    Contact: Judith Smith, Professor of Health Policy and Management and Director of Health Services Management Centre
  • Resource allocation in health care; Priority setting; Decommissioning in health care; Population decision making in health care
    Contact: Iestyn Williams, Reader in Health Policy and Management

If you have a particular research interest in pursuing an MPhil or PhD in Health Services Management please contact our HSMC Postgraduate Research Director, Dr Kerry Allen for further information,

Postgraduate programmes are taught at Park House which is a short walk from the centre of the University campus and provides a comfortable and well-appointed study environment. Facilities include:
  • An on-site administrative team
  • Dedicated library and resource facilities
  • Well-equipped classrooms
  • Syndicate rooms, IT resource rooms, Common rooms

If I gain a postgraduate research degree in this area, what are my career prospects?

The skills you will gain from studying in the School are highly sought after in most jobs or professions, as you will develop analytical skills and the ability to gather, assess and interpret data, all of which require clear and logical thinking. Birmingham's School of Social Policy postgraduates enter a wide range of occupational sectors: the majority in the public sector in areas such as youth work but others including events, sales administration and education. Many graduates also opt to continue in academia.

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