Research degrees

HSMC offers the opportunity to study for research degrees (MPhil and PhD) in a wide variety of topics relating to health services policy and management within the Department’s research areas.


Doctoral Studentships are not currently available.

Writing a proposal for HSMC

Social science, social policy and social theory are at the heart of Health Services Management Centre's academic contribution. Successful postgraduate research proposals engage directly with the research interests of HSMC supervisors. A list of supervisors and their interests is provided below. When writing your proposal, consider whether HSMC academics already published books and articles in an area that is related to some of your key ideas. Are they researching and presenting papers in your research area? Are they using a methodology that could underpin your project? It is worth contacting potential supervisors to discuss your proposal prior to submitting an application.

Tom Daniels, PhD student, talks about his experiences of studying at the Health Services Management Centre

Supervisor research interests

Kerry Allen
Qualitative, mixed methods and participatory research methods. Social care, older people, prevention, health sociology, experience of illness, long-term conditions.

Mark Exworthy
Qualitative methods, elite interviewing. Health policy, medical professionalism, health inequality, policy implementation.

Nicola Gale
Qualitative methods - particularly place-based methods, such as ethnography, shadowing, situating interviewing. Mixed methods - particularly those with a clear link to theoretical perspectives such as Bourdieu, critical realism. Emancipatory methods - anti-oppresive, critical, feminist methodologies and questions.

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).

Jon Glasby
Health and social care policy, community care, personalisation, joint working.

Russell Mannion
Organisational aspects of quality and safety; cultures, incentives and policies. Mixed methods approaches.

Ross Millar
See profile page.

Robin Miller
Integration, working across third and statutory care sectors, change management.

Catherine Needham
Social care, co-production, personalisation, public sector workforce, interpretive policy analysis.

Karen Newbigging
Health and social care policy; mental health transformation, equalities; patient and public involvement; advocacy and service user involvement; commissioning for mental health and wellbeing.

Martin Powell
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.

Judith Smith
Health purchasing and commissioning; primary care policy and management; integrated care/older people's care; international comparisons in health policy and organisation. Evaluation of policy and practice interventions in health care.

Iestyn Williams
Methods: Case study approaches, survey, focus group, participatory action research, policy analysis, Delphi research. Resource allocation in health care; priority setting; decommissioning in health care; population decision making in health care.

Entry Requirements

Entry to our research degree programme ordinarily requires a Masters degree, although post-qualification experience will also be taken into account when considering applicants. 

Both research degree programmes may be undertaken by full-time study or, for Home and distance learning students only, by part-time study. A PhD takes a minimum of three year’s full-time study (six years part-time study) and MPhil – two year’s full-time study (4 years part-time).  

How to apply

Applications are made online via the central university, and an outline research proposal is required as part of the application process. 


All postgraduate researchers are assigned two supervisors with complementary expertise and experience to support and guide you through your PhD. You will meet with them at least once a month (or every two months if registered part time).  

Further Information

If you have a particular research interest in pursuing an MPhil or PhD in Health Services Management please feel free to contact the School of Social Policy Postgraduate Research Team for further information.