To be awarded a PhD, you will need to complete a complex and advanced project. You will be expected to critically investigate and evaluate an approved topic, which results in an original and independent contribution to knowledge, as well as to demonstrate an understanding of research methods appropriate to your chosen field.
You will have to present and defend your thesis and/or practical element by viva voce (oral examination), to the satisfaction of the examiners.
Areas of study
Key subject areas you can study during your PhD include:
- Leadership, innovation and management
- Midwifery, maternal and perinatal health
- Social work, sociology and social policy.
Your supervisory team will:
- Provide appropriate support and guidance regarding BU’s research degree regulations, policies and procedures
- Give support when you are planning your research project, progressing through key milestones to successfully completing in the expected timeframe
- Maintain regular contact with you and provide constructive feedback on written work and during meetings to support your progress
- Advise you on professional and personal skill development available training opportunities
- Give guidance about attending and presenting your work at internal and external seminars and conferences
- Advise on publication of your work in journals and other appropriate media.
When undertaking a research degree at BU, you will develop research skills in your specific project area and discipline, and you will also have an opportunity to develop wider, transferable skills which will assist in your future employment, whether within or outside academia.
The Researcher Development Framework, developed by the Doctoral College in line with the Research Councils UK (RCUK), will enable you to enhance your abilities in areas which are not necessarily discipline-specific.
An added benefit is the opportunity to meet researchers from other academic schools at BU through the activities of our Doctoral College and benefit from their experiences, skills, and perspectives.
Full entry requirements
We would normally expect you to have an Honours degree at Upper Second Class (2:1) and/or an appropriate Master's degree.
Some supervisors may ask you for additional entry requirements such as relevant work experience, evidence of written work, or previous study of a particular subject.
Entry requirements may vary so it is important to discuss your application in principle before submitting a formal application.
International entry requirements
If English is not your first language, you will need to provide evidence that you can understand English to a satisfactory level. English language requirements for this course are normally:
- IELTS (Academic) 6.5 with minimum 5.5 in each component or equivalent.
View further information about our English language requirements.
A number of pre-sessional English and preparatory programmes are offered through our partner institution, Bournemouth University International College, and will get you ready for study at BU at the appropriate level.
You can also find further details of the international qualifications we accept, and what level of study they apply to, on our postgraduate entry requirements page.
How to apply
You can apply for a PhD with the Faculty of Health & Social Sciences by clicking on the 'apply now' button and completing the application form. You will need to create an account and complete the application form in full. You can save the form as you go, enabling you to return to it at as many times as you want before submitting. The form is split into tabbed sections. As you complete each of the tabbed sections they will turn green - only click submit once all of your tabs are highlighted green.
We will take the following factors into account when considering your application:
- Academic qualifications
- The nature and viability of your proposed research
- The university's capacity to provide you with appropriate supervision throughout your research
- English language proficiency
- Evidence of access to appropriate resources to support your living costs and pay registration fees over the period of your research.
As part of your application, you will need to specify how you plan to fund your studies and provide a personal statement. Please be aware that CVs and academic profiles will not be considered unless they are accompanied by a completed application form.
You do not need to write a thesis as part of your application.
You can find further guidance about applying for a postgraduate research degree in our Postgraduate Research section.
Every year, we offer a number of fully-funded doctoral opportunities across our faculties - you can see what funding is available in your area of interest here.
There are three main entry points for research degrees: September, January and April. The deadlines for applications are as follows:
- For the summer term (starting in April) – 31 January
- For the autumn term (starting in September) – 30 June
- For the spring term (starting in January) – 31 October.
If you have any enquiries please email PGRadmissions@bournemouth.ac.uk.
A research degree can be applied to roles in commercial research and development, consultancy, or could lead you to starting your own business. You may alternatively consider a career in academia.You may wish to undertake research to contribute to your knowledge of a specialist subject, or enhance your skills in project management and analysis.