PhD Nursing Studies

The PhD Nursing Studies programme is an advanced postgraduate research degree for students wishing to conduct in-depth independent research on an area to contribute to nursing knowledge and evidence. It offers the student a chance to make a significant contribution to knowledge in nursing.

Name PhD Nursing Studies
Start Date September and January
Mode of Study 3 years full-time, 6 years part-time
Programme Director Larry Doi

Please check the postgraduate Degree Finder to see the specific entry requirements, start date and application deadlines. 

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The PhD programme offers the possibility to work with and be supervised by a range of academics across many areas of Nursing Studies, who have international reputations and outstanding publications in their areas of expertise. Our programme is undertaken over three years full-time or six years part-time.   

In the first year, students typically choose a number of optional taught postgraduate courses from within the School of Health, or other Schools within the University, as appropriate to their research programme, and as agreed with their supervisor. Subsequent years of the PhD programme primarily focus on recruitment of study participants, data collection and analysis of the main research, which can then be written up and completed by the end of the third year.

Why choose this programme?

This programme is an advanced research degree enabling students to conduct in-depth independent research on a topic of their choice, thereby contributing to the knowledge and evidence base for nursing worldwide. Our current and past students have contributed to a range of research areas within nursing and healthcare more broadly. 

A vibrant and inclusive research environment

The University of Edinburgh is a world-leader in research and innovation and an international centre of academic excellence. Students on this programme will become part of an active and diverse research community in the School of Health in Social Science and will have access to the wide-range of learning environments and outstanding resources that the University has to offer. Our postgraduate researchers work in close proximity to each other, enabling them to pool their expertise and knowledge to tackle complex challenges and push the boundaries of discovery. Students will be encouraged to engage with a wide range of seminars, talks, and events, and often have the opportunity to present their own research at national and international conferences. Our student-led postgraduate research blog provides a snapshot of the activities and events our PGR students organise and are involved in.

Find out more about ongoing research in our School

Our main areas of research activity and development in Nursing Studies currently relate to the themes of experience of health and illness, and organisation and policy for person-centred care. We have expertise in a range of qualitative and quantitative and mixed methods research approaches.

Supervisor Specialties:

PhD by Distance

There is also an opportunity to undertake this programme through our PhD by Distance option. The PhD by Distance is available to suitably qualified applicants in the same areas as our on-campus programmes: Clinical and Health Psychology, Counselling and Psychotherapy, Health in Social Science and Nursing Studies.

The programme allows students who are unable to commit to basing themselves in Edinburgh full time to study for a PhD in a field of Health in Social Science from their home country or city - however this is not intended to be a fully online distance learning programme.

Students enrolled on this programme will be expected to come to Edinburgh at least once per year of study to meet with their supervisors. The length and timing of these visits are negotiable but students should expect to spend at least two weeks at the University of Edinburgh during each year of study.

Find out more about the PhD by Distance

Join our extraordinary Nursing Community

Nursing offers a profound sense of purpose and fulfillment as it involves caring for and making a positive difference in the lives of others. We are one of the top ten universities in the UK to offer Nursing, and our students' experience is second to none. Find out what it's like to join our close-knit community of international students and staff at the University of Edinburgh.

Find out more about our Nursing Community

The School of Health in Social Science offers several fully funded MScR and PhD studentships each year. A variety of scholarships are available, which vary from full scholarships covering tuition fees and a stipend to cover living expenses, to partial scholarships.

Find out more about our scholarships and funding opportunities

Beyond the programme  

The PhD Nursing Studies offers many opportunities. For instance, graduates who complete a PhD in nursing have gone on to obtain roles as a Director or leader in a variety of healthcare organizations, where they may supervise nursing research or projects. This can also include working for the government, where they may get an opportunity to influence healthcare policy and practice.