Research degree programmes 

In the Research Excellence Framework 2014 we were equal first for our research environment, and equal seventh nationally in public health, health services and primary care. Our research is characterised by interdisciplinary and international collaboration, a robust scientific foundation, and relevance for policy and practice.

Our core philosophy is to improve health and healthcare through the delivery of high quality research and teaching that informs both policy and practice, whilst strengthening our position as a leading provider of education and research training in this area. Moreover, we aim to provide a dynamic student community that combines a rewarding learning experience with opportunities for personal development which prepares students for their future careers.

We currently have PhD studentships available

Our programmes

Degree programmes

We offer a diverse range of full and part-time taught and research-based postgraduate degrees designed for those wishing to develop and follow a career in public health, health services research and other health-related areas. Our PhD students have the flexibility to tailor their studies to pursue their own research interests, and a bespoke training programme is designed in conjunction with their supervisory team to support the development of essential subject-specific and transferable skills for their future careers.

You can spend either three years full-time or six years part-time for a PhD, or two years full-time or four years part-time for an MPhil.

As part of your training programme you will be able to access a wide range of modules that cover different research methodologies Click here to see the full list of Postgraduate modules available to you.

Research environment

What is our research environment like?

Our vision is to be a world-class centre undertaking research on current and emerging challenges to health and healthcare provision. The Department organises its research activities around seven core themes:

We have extensive experience in the innovative use of population data, intervention studies, secondary data analysis, systematic reviewing and qualitative research. Academic disciplines represented in the Department include epidemiology, biostatistics, health economics, social policy, sociology and applied psychology. Our multi-disciplinary staff group also includes clinical academics involved in public health, primary care and mental health.

We currently have over 200 postgraduate students in our Graduate School, including over 40 PhD students, which provides a vibrant, multidisciplinary learning environment. Our PhD students are embedded in one of our research groups and have access to all Departmental facilities, as well as being provided with their own desk and computer in one of several dedicated student spaces including the Research Centre for Social Sciences.

Find out more about research in the department and research links with other departments at the university.

What support will I be given?

You will be provided with academic support from one or more supervisors and a Thesis Advisory Panel (TAP). Supervisors will be matched to you according to research interests and expertise. The TAP will be selected by your supervisors to provide specialist methodological advice or general guidance, as well as feedback on the quality of the research and written work. Your supervisors and the TAP will support you over the duration of your study. 

Can I gain any teaching experience?

We can sometimes offer paid teaching opportunities to Postgraduate Research Students (PGRS).

Teaching vacancies across the University of York are advertised periodically, usually at the start of each academic year. 

While teaching experience is a useful addition to your CV as a research student, we try to ensure that teaching duties do not impinge on your own research or interfere with the completion of a good thesis. Click here for further information about PGWT training.

What do students say?

PhD student Nicole Valtorta won NIHR funding for her doctoral fellowship in the department, which focussed on loneliness and isolation in older adults.

Sadie Bell is currently undertaking a full-time PhD exploring the acceptability and accessibility of sexual health services in the UK to over 50s.



We offer a number of projects (fully-funded and self-funded) to support research leading to a research degree. Please click on the links below.

Research projects available:

Fully-funded PhD studentships

Self-funded research projects

Please visit our funding page to find out about available studentships.

More information about fees and funding can be found on the central University of York Postgraduate fees and funding pages.

Before you apply

Before you apply

Before you apply, we encourage you to:

  • Decide on the area of research in the department you are interested in - this may involve you contacting a member of staff within the Department.
  • Put together a proposal for a research project in that area. Click here for guidelines for research proposals
  • Name a potential supervisor from our current list of members of staff or from one of our research groups:
  1. The Cardiovascular Health Research Group
  2. Epidemiology and Cancer Statistics Group
  3. Mental Health and Addiction Research Group
  4. Health Services and Policy Research Group
  5. Trails and Statistics
  6. Public Health and Society
  7. Nursing and Midwifery
  • Check you have the required minimum English language requirements

The Department of Health Sciences' minimum English language requirement is IELTS: 7.0. You can receive a conditional offer with a 6.5 in writing provided you complete the University of York's higher level pre-sessional course which runs for eight weeks. On successful completion, you can then progress to your programme within Health Sciences.  

Click here for further details of the University of York's English language requirements.


Apply now

Apply now

Click here to apply:

Alternatively, please contact the Postgraduate Admissions Office for an application pack, telephone +44 (0)1904 322142 or email

Further information is available on graduate course fees.

Click here for more information on fees, funding and studentships.

Next steps

What can I do at the end of my PhD/MPhil?

You can go on to work in an academic environment or use your specialist knowledge and research skills in commercial research, business or finance. Some of our students have stayed and become members of staff in the department.