Social Policy PhD/MPhil

We offer two types of research degree: an MPhil or a PhD - in any of the disciplines represented in our department, including social policy, social work, criminology and sociology. Prospective applicants for research degrees in any aspect of health service management and health care policy are invited to apply, outlining their special interests.

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.

All our research degrees involve appropriate postgraduate research training modules, which are agreed with the supervisor and the Institute Research Student Coordinator, and which are assessed. In addition, we hold regular research student workshops and seminars and doctoral researchers participate in research group activities within the School of Social Policy.

The MPhil requires a thesis of 60,000 words, while the PhD thesis is 80,000 words in length.

Our academic staff have wide research interests and these are detailed below. Joint supervision is generally advised, and we can provide this with other departments. 

Fees and funding

Standard fees apply

Learn more about fees and funding

Scholarships and studentships
Scholarships and bursaries may be available. International students can often gain funding through overseas research scholarships, Commonwealth scholarships or their home government. More information about scholarships.

College and School opportunities are advertised on jobs.ac.uk 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

For further information contact the School directly or contact the Student Funding Office via the online enquiries system at www.studenthelp.bham.ac.uk.

Postgraduate Loans for Masters students

In the summer of 2016, the UK Government introduced a new loan of up to £10,000 per student for postgraduate Masters study, this has been raised £10,280. 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

Entry requirements

Learn more about entry requirements

How to apply

Learn more about applying

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

  • Participative methods; Tackling violence against women; Violence against disabled people; Gendered inequalities in criminal justice and social care services; Rape; Hate crime; Assisted suicide and interventions with victim-survivors.
  • Contact: Susie Balderston
    Email: s.balderston@bham.ac.uk

  • The causes and consequences of prosocial behaviour; How the social environment in which people live influences their decisions to volunteer and give; How the contexts of countries, neighbourhoods and schools have influenced prosocial behaviours.
    Contact: Matthew Bennett
    Email: m.r.bennett@bham.ac.uk

  • Youth Justice, Youth crime, Criminology and Mobilities.
    Contact: Sarah Brooks-Wilson
    Email: s.brooks-wilson@bham.ac.uk

  • The interrelationship between ideology and urban policy; Attitudes to private renting within the Labour Party. The politics of the private rented sector in modern Britain, and Conceptions of 'community' throughout the post-war period.
    Contact: Phil Child
    Email: p.child@bham.ac.uk

  • Experiences of disability and impairment (including mental distress); Individual and family experiences of social care and health services
    Contact: Harriet Clarke
    Tel: +44(0)121 415 8479
    Email: h.clarke@bham.ac.uk
  • UK trade unionism and union renewal; Social unionism;  Evaluating the efficacy of non-traditional agendas as vehicles for union renewal (and their behaviour as employee relations negotiables). 
    Contact: Tom Farnhill
    Email: t.farnhill@bham.ac.uk
  • Integration and cohesion; Poverty and social exclusion; Gender and health; Approaches to welfare provision for migrants in an age of super-diversity.
    Contact: Dr Lisa Goodson
    Tel: +44(0)121 414 4993
    Email: l.j.goodson@bham.ac.uk
  • Social justice and citizenship; Social housing and welfare; Lettings policy; Hybrid housing models; Asset-based welfare
    Contact:James Gregory
    Email: j.gregory@bham.ac.uk
  • Poverty; Inequality; Asset-based welfare; Conceptual and ideological debates about the nature of welfare systems; Young people and social welfare support; Social Security and anti-poverty practices; Alternative/Community currency systems
    Contact: Lee Gregory
    Email: l.j.gregory@bham.ac.uk
  • Prison sociology; The ways in which prisoners experience the pains and deprivations of prison, especially long-term prisoners and serious offenders.
    Contact: Anna Kotova
    Email: a.kotova@bham.ac.uk
  • The perceptions, measurement, and dimensionality of immigrant adaptation; Ethnic inequalities in education and the labour market; The transnational behaviour across immigrant generations; and Social inequalities and social mobility.
    Contact: Laurence Lessard-Phillips
    Email: l.lessard-phillips@bham.ac.uk
  • Non Govenmental Organisations, Community Participation, Neighbourhood Regeneration, Mental Health, Substance Use and Anti-Poverty Strategies.
    Contact: Angus McCabe
    Tel: +44(0)121 414 5732
    Email: a.j.mccabe@bham.ac.uk

  • War Crime and Genocide; Criminology and Social Harm; State Crime
    Contact: Daniel Mitchell
    Email: d.j.mitchell@bham.ac.uk
  • The development of large-scale databases on voluntary organisations, including registered charities, social enterprises, cooperatives and mutual; The geographical and sectoral distribution of these organisations including UK-wide comparisons and small-area analyses; Long-run trends in the formation and survival of organisations; The pattern of funding, including the balance between public service provision and voluntary finance; and patterns of voluntary action and the relationship between voluntary action and social capital
    Contact: John Mohan
    Email:j.mohan@bham.ac.uk
  • The issue of illicit drugs. Influenced by realist methodology, it straddles the disciplines of criminology, social policy, public policy, sociology and political science.
    Contact: Mark Monaghan
    Email: m.monaghan@bham.ac.uk
  • Methodological Issues Related to Complex Social Interventions; Nutritional Approaches to Behaviour, Learning and Mood; Brief Psycho-Social Interventions for Mental Health Problems (in particular sleep problems)
    Contact: Paul Montgomery
    Email: p.x.montgomery@bham.ac.uk
  • Older people and personal finance (and personal finance-related issues), including financial security, financial advice, and the regulation of consumer financial services.
    Contact: Louise Overton
    Email: l.e.overton@bham.ac.uk
  • Labour economics: Labour market impacts of international migration and cultural diversity, overeducation and skills mismatch, innovation, human capital and knowledge spillovers, economics of population, migration policy
    Contact: Ceren Ozgen
    Email: c.ozgen@bham.ac.uk
  • The Labour Party and the welfare state in Britain since 1945; The Conservative Party and the welfare state in Britain since 1945; Social democratic social policy; The Swedish welfare state
    Contact: Dr Robert Page, FRSA
    Tel: +44(0)121 414 8066
    Email: r.m.page@bham.ac.uk

  • New migration and superdiversity; migrant integration and settlement; organisational adaptation and migrant welfare needs; small scale refugee, migrant and ethnic third sector activity; innovative qualitative research methods; refugee and migrant health and migrant maternity; community research methodology; sexual and gender based violence (SGBV).
    Contact: Dr Jenny Phillimore
    Tel: +44(0)121 414 7822
    Email: j.a.phillimore@bham.ac.uk

  • Financial security of individuals, families and households including: assets and asset-based welfare; poverty, wealth and inequality; social security policy; financial capability and education (including savings, pensions, credit and debt).  As well as looking at individual behaviour in relation to personal finance she is interested in the role of the state, the financial services sector, employers and the third sector in delivering financial security. 
    Contact: Professor Karen Rowlingson
    Tel: +44(0)121 415 8565
    Email: k.rowlingson@bham.ac.uk
  • Forced displacement and globalisation; Sociology of statelessness; Dual citizenship and the experiences of dual citizens; The intersection between migration, rights and citizenship; Everyday experiences of superdiversity; Neoliberalism, globalisation and governance of human mobility; The politics of refugee voices and silences; Romani politics and anti-Gypsyism; Undocumented migrants and experiences of ‘illegality’ through generations; Child and family migration; Transnationalism and diasporas; Policy and practice of migrant integration and ideas of membership in the EU; Freedom of movement and intra-EU mobility
    Contact: Nando Sigona
    Email: n.sigona@bham.ac.uk
  • Causes and consequences of income and wealth inequality, comparative and EU social policy, welfare state reforms and new policy proposals (e.g. universal basic income), socio-economic drivers of populism (Brexit/radical right and radical left populism), labour market insecurity, privatization of social policy and welfare mixes, young people's social policies, higher education policies, philosophy of social policy (postcapitalism, neo-marxism,  World System Theory), mixed methods (qualitative comparative research; large-N analysis; Q-methodology)
    Contact: Lorenza Antonucci 
    Email: l.antonucci@bham.ac.uk

For the Health Services Management Centre, view the supervisor research interests list.

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

The University of Birmingham has recently been ranked 9th in the UK, and 55th in the world, for post-qualification employability in a global survey of universities commissioned by the International Herald Tribune.

Over the last five years 98.6% of postgraduates from the School of Social Policy have been in work and/or 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. Graduates also opt to continue in academia.

What type of career assistance is available to doctoral researchers in this department?

The College of Social Sciences, to which the School of Social Policy belongs, has specially designated careers advisors and careers consultants who can provide guidance for doctoral researchers on career paths, CVs, training opportunities, application and interviews. The University’s central Careers’ Service also runs workshops and offers personally tailored advice and guidance including 1-1 careers advice, 1-1 CV advice. The Career’s Service also runs CV writing workshops especially for postgraduates in the College of Social Sciences, giving advice on how to compile CVs for both employment and for academic roles.

The University also has dedicated careers advisors for International students who run workshops and networking opportunities with potential employers. These are especially popular with International postgraduate researchers.