Professor Hywel Thomas

Professor Hywel Thomas

School of Education
Emeritus Professor of Economics of Education

Contact details

School of Education
University of Birmingham
Edgbaston, Birmingham
B15 2TT, United Kingdom

Hywel Thomas is Emeritus Professor of the Economics of Education and he was the Director of the Centre for Research in Medical and Dental Education at the University of Birmingham. He was Head of the School of Education for 10 years, from 1993 -2003. His work on GP education was recognised with an Honorary Fellowship of the Royal College of General Practitioners.

Professor Thomas is an acknowledged leader in education on the national and international stage, leading major studies across a range of educational sectors. These include being the Principal Investigator of major studies on: resource management in schools (DFE/OECD), the changing nature of the school workforce (DfES), school based smoking prevention strategies (EU), the career paths of graduates (HEFCE), designing a curriculum for training medical general practitioners (RCGP) and evaluating selection processes for medical specialty training (DH). He has undertaken consultancies in the UK and overseas and his international work has taken him to over 20 countries including projects with The World Bank, UNESCO, the British Council and the Department for International Development (DfID). He has been Education Adviser to the British Council and specialist adviser to the OECD. He has authored nine books and published over 70 papers. His work on the education and training of general practitioners was recognised by the award of an Honorary Fellowship by the Royal College of General Practitioners.


  • PhD
  • MEd
  • BA
  • PGCE


His research activity is in two main areas. The principal strand linking his work has been the application of ideas from economics to education. This has contributed to a diversity of projects, including work on the finance of schools and colleges, the career paths of graduates, the management of resources and the deployment of staff in educational institutions. A second strand is research on the economics of professional learning in the health sector and more recent work in other professions.

Research Grants

Since 1996, research grants and contracts for 15 projects with an income in excess of £4million


Selected publications

Thomas, H. and Qiu, T. (2012) Work-related continuing educaiton and training: participation and effectivneness Journal of Workplace Learning 24 (3) 157-176

Thomas, H. et al (2010) National Evaluation of Specialty Selection Final Report for the Department of Health 259pp University of Birmingham ISBN 9780704428287

Thomas, H. Hicks, J., Martin, G. and Cressey, G. (2008) Induction and transition in the National Health service for four professional groups. Learning in Health and Social Care 7 (1): 27-36

Fraser, A., Thomas, H., Deighan, M., Davison, I., Bedward, J.., Field, S. and Kelly, S. (2007). Directions for change: a national survey of general practice training in the United Kingdom.Education for Primary Care 18(1): 22-34.

Markham, WA., Aveyard, P., Bullock, A. and Thomas, H. (2006) A preliminary investigation into factors influencing limiting long-standing illness among UK university graduates: a retrospective cohort study Health: an interdisciplinary journal for the social study of health, illness and medicine 10 (1):  47-73

Parry, J., Mathers, J., Stevens, A., Parsons, A., Lilford, R., Spurgeon, P. and Thomas, H. (2006) Admissions processes for five year medical courses at English schools: review. British Medical JournalApril 332: 1005 – 1009

Thomas, Hywel (2005) Education and Modernization. Educational Review 57 (2): May 235-245

Thomas, Hywel (2004) ‘Reino-Unido’, In Jorge Werthein E Celio da Cunha (Orgs.) Educacao e Conhecimento: A experiencia dos que avancaram  UNESCO: Brasilia

Thomas, H et al (2004) The Evaluation of the Transforming the School Workforce Pathfinder ProjectResearch Report 541, London: DfES 93pp ISBN1 84478 243 3