School of Health Professions

PhD Health Studies

The School of Health Professions has something for everyone interested in health and care–related professions so come and join us to study for a PhD degree within a unique inter-disciplinary learning environment. You will benefit from excellent research laboratories, supervised by professionally registered academic staff.

Course details

  • Programme overview

  • This full time or part time doctoral programme is suitable for people who have a particular research question or topic in mind, and wish to explore this through independent study in order to produce an original contribution to the subject. If you aspire to a research career this is the most appropriate research degree to undertake. The research team carries out research in a range of areas associated with the professions of Occupational Therapy, Optometry, Paramedicine, Physiotherapy and Podiatry
    You will be guided by a small supervisory team of academic experts under the direction of a Director of Studies and will be expected to fully engage with skills development and training and to present your research in a range of scholarly contexts.
    Your PhD will be assessed via submission of a written thesis (up to 80,000 words) and a viva voce (an oral examination).
    For full details of what doing a PhD entails at the University of Plymouth, please visit our postgraduate research degrees pages.
The modules shown for this course or programme are those being studied by current students, or expected new modules. Modules are subject to change depending on year of entry.

Entry requirements

All applicants must meet the entry criteria for a Faculty of Health research degree which are:
  • you'll usually need a 2:1 degree from a UK University or equivalent and an academic IELTS score of 6.5 (with no less than 6 in each component test area) or equivalent if you are a non-UK applicant
  • two satisfactory academic references
  • evidence of funding for the duration of your course.
For more general guidelines and application requirements, please visit the research degrees applicants page.

Fees, costs and funding

Student 2023-2024 2024-2025
Home To be confirmed To be confirmed
International To be confirmed To be confirmed
Part time (Home) To be confirmed To be confirmed
Full time fees shown are per annum. Part time fees shown are per a number of credits. Please note that fees are reviewed on an annual basis. Fees and the conditions that apply to them shown in the prospectus are correct at the time of going to print. Fees shown on the web are the most up to date but are still subject to change in exceptional circumstances. More information about fees and funding.
Please visit tuition fees for postgraduate research for information about fees.
If you are a full time student, you will pay full time fees for three years. If you have not submitted your thesis by the end of this period, then you may pay for an optional one year writing up period.
If you are a part time student, you will pay part time fees for four years. If you have not submitted your thesis by the end of this period, then you may pay for an optional 'writing up' period of up to two years.
You are responsible for meeting all of the costs related to your own research project, beyond the resources available in the department.
Please visit our postgraduate research money matters page to find out more about issues related to fees, funding, loans and paying for your programme of study.

How to apply

Potential applicants should first identify a member of academic staff who may be a suitable supervisor, and contact them by email to discuss possible directions for a research proposal. The research proposal must be agreed by the supervisor and the school’s postgraduate research coordinator (Dr Lisa Bunn) before an application to study can be made. You can identify research areas of interest at the University by browsing our school’s research groups and looking at publication outputs from Plymouth-based researchers. 
In addition to completing the online application form (which includes space for a personal statement), you must also upload a research project proposal. Your research proposal should outline your research topic, your key aims and the research question/problem you are addressing, a brief literature review, your proposed methodology, and an explanation of why this topic is significant or important.
Your personal statement should briefly explain why you have chosen to apply to our programme and what you feel you can offer our research community.
Submitting your application
Complete your application and upload supporting documents to the Doctoral College by completing our online application form.
Questions on the application process?
We're here to help. Please contact the Doctoral College and we'll be happy to assist you.
More information and advice for applicants can be referenced in our admissions policy which can be found on the student regulations, policies and procedures page. Prospective students are advised to read the policy before making an application to the University.
If you have a disability and would like further information on the support available, please visit Disability Services.
Support is also available to overseas students applying to the University from our International Office
Find more information about applying for a postgraduate research programme

Our research

From basic research discovering the causes of disease, through to evaluating novel ways of delivering care to the most vulnerable people in society, our thriving community conducts adventurous world-leading research
The Plymouth Institute of Health and Care Research acts as a gateway to those undertaking research and innovation in the areas of health and community
Our research - Plymouth Institute of Health and Care Research

Access our Masters of Clinical Research modules

In addition to the extensive personal development training programme offered through the Doctoral College and Plymouth Institute of Health Research (PIHR), students studying this PhD programme have free access to up to three modules offered from the Masters of Clinical Research (MClinRes). Study is as a short course option and can be undertaken through face-to-face, distance or hybrid learning. The modules on offer include: 
MClinRes Clinical Research hero image

Brain Research and Imaging Centre (BRIC)

The Brain Research & Imaging Centre (BRIC) is the most advanced multi-modal brain research facility in the South West and represents a sea-change in research capability in the field of human neuroscience. 
Our staff frequently conduct research at the BRIC, collaborating with experts from across the University. Contact Dr Lisa Bunn, our Doctoral College Coordinator, to find out more about opportunities with the BRIC.
BRIC building exterior

Contact us

Not sure who you would like to get in contact with or have an interprofessional PhD in mind? Email Dr Lisa Bunn (Doctoral College Coordinator) or any one of our supervisory team leads for help and advice:

Research team and PhD supervisors

PhD supervisory team members
We take pride in our interprofessional teamwork. We often compile PhD teams from staff across various professional groups, mixed and matched to our individual learners' needs. 
Join our research group meetings
In addition of becoming a member of PIHR, all PhD students and potential applicants are welcome to join research group meetings, including: