Postgraduate research opportunities 

Social Science and Health

crowded city street

Our aim is to better understand and improve human health and wellbeing via the study of social, behavioural, economic, cultural and environmental influences on health and the application of social science theories and methodologies.

Overview

Social science and health is located in the Institute of Health and Wellbeing and includes:

MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit

The overarching aim of this Unit is to improve human health and wellbeing via the study of social, behavioural, economic, cultural and environmental influences on health.  It comprises a large group of social science-led researchers, focusing on social determinants of health, health inequalities and health improvement.  Its more specific objectives include:

  • studying the multiple interacting processes through which biological, social, behavioural, economic, cultural and environmental factors influence physical and mental health and health behaviours over the lifecourse;
  • discovering mechanisms which can modify these processes and have the potential to improve public health in a complex and changing world;
  • developing and evaluating interventions which harness these mechanisms to improve public health and reduce social inequalities in health;
  • influencing policy and practice by communicating the results and implications of research to a range of audiences.

 The Unit’s work is organised as six programmes:

Social Science and Health researchers working in the College of Social Sciences

Our overarching aim is to provide a stimulating, participative, environment for research to inform policies and practices that will promote social justice, improve population health and wellbeing and reduce inequalities in these.  Webring a particular commitment to:   the application of social science theory and method to world class research; the promotion of social justice; a reduction in inequalities; and working with government, local authorities and third sector organisations and wider civic society to deliver change, particularly for disabled people, people of low social economic status (SES) and those who are otherwise disadvantaged. 

Study options

The MRC/CSO Social & Public Health Sciences Unit advertises a small number of MRC-funded studentships annually.  These are funded for 3 years for those who already have a Masters degree, or equivalent training, in an appropriate scientific discipline. For those wishing to undertake an appropriate Masters degree in the first year, studentships are funded for 4 years.

Social Science and Health researchers working in the College of Social Sciences support PhD students funded through a variety of sources including the ESRC, Scottish Government, the Commonwealth Fund, the Glasgow Centre for Population Health and the Lord Kelvin/Adam Smith Foundation.

All social science and health researchers welcome applications from candidates who have arranged their own funding and/or to work with candidates on applications for competitively funded studentships.

Our supervisors include those with social science backgrounds (a wide range, including sociology, psychology, social anthropology and geography) and statistical expertise.  Our research employs both quantitative and qualitative approaches as well as systematic reviews; great value is placed on the development and application of novel methods to address research questions of contemporary relevance to health and wellbeing from a social science perspective.  We provide diverse training opportunities for all aspects of research and for transferable academic and generic skills.

Prospective studentsare encouraged to get in touch with individual academics to find out about opportunities in their areas of research and supervision. 

Broad themes within the Social and Public Health Sciences Unit’s research programmes include:

  • Development and evaluation of complex interventions
  • Transferability of interventions
  • Complex systems science
  • Health inequalities and linked data analysis
  • Natural experiments from observational data
  • Enhancing cohort, survey and routine data sources
  • Families
  • Peers and social networks
  • Intimate and sexual relationships
  • Communities
  • Educational settings
  • Professional sports club settings
  • Secure institutional settings
  • Workplaces
  • Measuring and understanding impacts of regeneration/transformation on health and wellbeing
  • Contextual influences on children and young people
  • Improving health in neighbourhoods and communities
  • Understanding emerging health debates
  • Understanding policy and using evidence
  • Evaluating healthy public policies

Themes addressed by Social Science and Health researchers working in the College of Social Sciences include:

  • Changing Public Policy and Public Policy for Change
  • History of Public Health and Medicine
  • Improving Health and Wellbeing: Programmes for Change
  • Experiences of Health and Disability

Postgraduate students within the Social & Public Health Sciences Unit and in the Social Sciences in Health Group have the opportunity to acquire a wide set of transferrable skills and leave with excellent career prospects.

They are recognised and treated as full members of the Unit/Group, expected to attend seminars, team meetings, etc., and required to contribute to Unit/Group-wide activities in the same way as all staff.  There are also opportunities for secondment to policy and practice organisations.  Our postgraduate students are thus able to learn about a wide range of disciplines and topics beyond those specific to their PhD. 

The Social & Public Health Sciences Unit also provides unique opportunities to gain experience of different aspects of social and public health science beyond that offered in typical University environments. These include working with the Unit’s in-house Population Health Research Facility, gaining first-hand experience in large-scale field work and the necessary regulatory, ethics and data compliance processes of study data collection.

In the Social Science in Health Group there are opportunities to work as Graduate Teaching Assistants or on occasional additional research for other teams.  These give wide-ranging opportunities for transferable skill development. 

After completing their studies, many students find employment as University researchers, others in NGO’s, independent research organisations or local or national government organisations.

Supervisors

All Postgraduate Research Students are allocated a minimum of two supervisors who will act as the main source of academic support and research mentoring.  Prospective students are encouraged to identify a potential supervisor and contact them to discuss their research proposal before making an application.

Entry requirements

Awarded or expected 1st class or high upper 2nd class BSc degree.

English Language requirements for applicants whose first language is not English.

Fees and funding

Fees

2016/17

  • £4,121 UK/EU
  • £15,250 outside EU

Prices are based on the annual fee for full-time study. Fees for part-time study are half the full-time fee.

Additional fees for all students:

  • Submission by a research student £440
  • Submission for a higher degree by published work £890
  • Submission of thesis after deadline lapsed £140
  • Submission by staff in receipt of staff scholarship £680
  • Research students registered as non-supervised Thesis Pending students (50% refund will be granted if the student completes thesis within the first six months of the period) £250
  • General Council fee £50
  • Depending on the nature of the research project, some students will be expected to pay a bench fee to cover additional costs. The exact amount will be provided in the offer letter.

2017/18

  • £4,195 UK/EU*
  • £16,000 outside EU

Prices are based on the annual fee for full-time study. Fees for part-time study are half the full-time fee.

* We expect that tuition fees for EU students entering in 2017 will continue to be set at the same level as that for UK students.  However, future funding arrangements for EU students will be determined as part of the UK’s discussions on its future relationship.  If you are thinking of applying for 2017 entry, we would encourage you to do so in the usual way. For further information, please see the Research Councils UK statement on international collaboration and Universities UK Brexit FAQs for universities and students.

Additional fees for all students:

  • Submission by a research student £460
  • Submission for a higher degree by published work £1,000
  • Submission of thesis after deadline lapsed £200
  • Submission by staff in receipt of staff scholarship £680
  • Research students registered as non-supervised Thesis Pending students (50% refund will be granted if the student completes thesis within the first six months of the period) £260
  • General Council fee £50
  • Depending on the nature of the research project, some students will be expected to pay a bench fee to cover additional costs. The exact amount will be provided in the offer letter.

Alumni discount

A 10% discount is available to University of Glasgow alumni. This includes graduates and those who have completed a Junior Year Abroad, Exchange programme or International Summer School at the University of Glasgow. The discount is applied at registration for students who are not in receipt of another discount or scholarship funded by the University. No additional application is required.

Funding

Support

The College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences Graduate School provides a vibrant, supportive and stimulating environment for all our postgraduate students. We aim to provide excellent support for our postgraduates through dedicated postgraduate convenors, highly trained supervisors and pastoral support for each student.
 
Our over-arching aim is to provide a research training environment that includes:

  • provision of excellent facilities and cutting edge techniques
  • training in essential research and generic skills
  • excellence in supervision and mentoring
  • interactive discussion groups and seminars
  • an atmosphere that fosters critical cultural policy and research analysis
  • synergy between research groups and areas
  • extensive multidisciplinary and collaborative research
  • extensive external collaborations both within and beyond the UK 
  • a robust generic skills programme including opportunities in social and commercial training

The breadth of academic disciplines within the Social & Public Health Sciences Unit ensures excellent support for research students.  It has dedicated IT and database maintenance and support staff and an information scientist.  The in-house Research Support Unit co-ordinates and delivers large-scale community based studies and, increasingly, supports community based trials and evaluations.

Students in Social Sciences and Health have access to the full range of support provided by the School of Social and Political Sciences, with excellent IT and library support.   Students are encouraged to take part in annual IHW postgraduate student conferences and to contribute to the student-led blog IHAWKES.

How to apply