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PhD and MPhil programmes

Our programmes are supported by a commitment to an international standard of research.

You will be part of a Graduate School with a wide range of backgrounds from across the globe, making our Department one of the most academically stimulating to study in, and you will have the opportunity to participate in seminars to explore ideas with other Graduate School students and researchers.

As part of the White Rose Doctoral Training Centre you will have access to high quality training and research networks.


You may be eligible to apply for a scholarship or bursary
In the last two years we have been very successful and won seven scholarships for our PhD applicants from the White Rose Social Sciences Doctoral Training Partnership (WR DTP).

PhD courses

LengthStart dateDepartment
Three years full-time Options  
Six years part-time    
  UK fees International fees
2021/22 UK fees 2021/22 international fees

Apply for PhD

MPhil courses

LengthStart dateDepartment
Two years full-time Options  
Four years part-time     

UK fees International fees
2021/22 UK fees 2021/22 international fees

Apply for MPhil


We are able to offer supervision in a wide range of areas, largely focused around the following topics: 

  • Childhood, youth and family
  • Housing
  • Welfare and poverty
  • Mental health
  • Comparative and global social policy
  • Health and social care
  • Crime

Consider how your research interests complement our expertise and knowledge. Find out more about our staff and identify a potential supervisor.

Our staff

Entry requirements

You will be normally expected to hold an Upper Second or First Class Honours degree, although if you have other relevant experience. Before you apply you may find it useful to contact the Department for an informal discussion about your topic and potential supervisors. 

If you wish to pursue research on a social work topic, you should also have a good background in social work theory and practice. Likewise, if you wish to do research in social policy, you should have a firm background in the subject. 

Applicants are expected to have a good grounding in research methods.

If you're a non-native English speaking applicant you must provide evidence of your English language ability. Find out more about our English language requirements.

Application process

In addition to the materials set out by postgraduate admissions you will be required to submit a research proposal of up to 3,000 words. This should include the following:

  • A brief summary of existing literature and gaps in knowledge
  • Research questions/hypotheses
  • Methodology
  • A timetable of completion (three years for a PhD, two years for an MPhil)

Please note that potential supervisors are unable to comment on proposals prior to submission.


If you are shortlisted, you will be invited to attend an interview. It is important that you can demonstrate an understanding of your topic area, its supporting theories and knowledge around current research.

Apply for PhDApply for MPhil

Our research community

Departmental research activities

When you join us you will become part of a vibrant research community. As well as belonging to the White Rose DTC with its networks and training events research students are actively encouraged to engage in a wide range of activities. These include:

PhD/MPhil seminars

In addition to this the Department organises four PhD seminars every term. The purpose of these seminars is to give research students the opportunity to present work to an academic audience, to test ideas, methodologies and findings, and to come together as a research community. Research students are generally expected to present twice during their period of study.

Location and facilities

Research students are usually situated in the Research Centre for the Social Sciences (RCSS), which is a hub for interdisciplinary research and postgraduate life in the Social Sciences at York. Typically students have access to desk space, computing and telephone facilities alongside recreational space.

Meet us

Visit campus virtually or join us in person

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Find out all you need to know to apply to your research degree

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Scholarships and funding

Find options to support your studies

See available opportunities