Research Degrees in

Social Care and Social Work

in the Faculty of Health, Psychology & Social Care


Do you want to advance or change your career, deepen your expertise in a topic, or expand your research and practical skills?

With a PhD or other postgraduate research degree in Social Care and Social Work you will:

  • Work with experts in the field. We are a renowned centre for the applied study of health and social care. In the most recent national research evaluation, 60% of our Social Work and Social Policy research was rated world leading or internationally excellent (REF2014).
  • Choose from our flexible study pathways. We offer full-time and part-time research degrees to suit the needs of potential students from a range of professional backgrounds.
  • Join a thriving intellectual community. Our new Health, Psychology and Communities research centre and in particular the Thriving Communities Research Group (along with the Substance Use and Addictive Behaviours Sub-Group) bring together researchers across a number of disciplines with the aim of improving health and wellbeing while foregrounding service user and community experiences in participatory approaches with professionals and policy makers.
  • Benefit from our facilities and events to support your research. We offer dedicated facilities and research training for postgraduate researchers, as well as regular events including an exciting range of specialist seminars and the annual Faculty Research in High Summer Conference (FRIHSC). We also actively support the University’s annual Postgraduate Research Conference run by and for postgraduate research students.
  • Undertake tailored personal and professional development training. You can build your own programme of training to enhance your academic knowledge, expand your research skills, develop your academic CV and/or prepare you for practice in the new integrated health and social care sectors.

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Areas of supervisory expertise

We can supervise a wide range of Social Care and Social Work projects. Much of our research involves mixed methods but also has a participatory ethos and social justice orientation.

We would like to hear from potential applicants with their own research questions as well as those who are interested in any of our key research areas:

  • Adoption and fostering
  • Care (paid and informal) and parenting across the life course
  • Critical disability studies
  • Critical professional practice
  • Domestic violence
  • End of life care
  • Implications of social and political developments on social policy, social work and individual subjectivity
  • Social work education
  • The interface between social work and law in the family court
  • Substance use and addictive behaviours
  • Safeguarding – adults and children.
  • Social aspects of ageing

Find out more about our staff's expertise

Research culture

Our team of established, respected and widely published researchers undertake rigorous theoretical and applied research. Our research is underpinned by our firm commitment to social justice and human rights.

More about our research culture

Our researchers play an active role in Manchester Met’s recently launched Health, Psychology and Communities research centre. This centre will develop into a major hub bringing together researchers across a range of disciplines to delivery research that transforms health and social care services.

Our large community of postgraduate researchers are a core part of our research culture and department. We will encourage you to take part in conferences, seminars and engagement events at Man Met and beyond. We will also support you to develop the technical and research skills necessary to excel in your studies.

Courses offered, duration, and start dates

Programmes offered

  • PhD (3 years full time, 6 years part time)
  • Master's by Research (1 year full time, 2 years part time)
  • MPhil (18 months full time, 36 months part time)
  • PhD by Published Work or Professional Practice (course duration varies by route taken and candidate's background).
  • Professional Doctorate in Health and Social Care (3 years full time, 6 years part time).

Find out more about the different research degrees we offer

Start dates

The majority of our students enrol in October. We offer further enrolment points in January and April.

Career prospects

A research degree with us will enable you to deepen your professional practice, or prepare you for pursuing a new career within the health and social care sectors.

You will graduate with an exceptional understanding of social exclusion, social justice and how to make a real difference to vulnerable communities. This understanding, together with a range of higher-level research skills, equip you to pursue senior careers in academia, charities, health and social care organisations, and a range of other sectors.

Course structure

This course is research based. You will independently conduct research into your own topic or a topic that we advertise. Your supervisory team of 3 academics will offer expert guidance throughout your studies and review work in progress.

Each year, you will follow a programme of training and development to enhance your research methods, subject-matter expertise and professional skills.

Fees and funding

Find out more

Postgraduate Research Degrees Fees

Please refer to our Fees page for more information about tuition fees.

Loans for research degrees

Many of our PhD and Professional Doctorate programmes are eligible for the government's Doctoral Loan Scheme. MPhil and MA/MSc by Research degrees are eligible for a Postgraduate Loan.

Find out more about tuition fees and financial support


Each year we offer a number of competitive scholarships to support high quality research projects. Current scholarship opportunities in Health and Social Care are advertised on our site.

Sign up to be notified when further scholarships are advertised.

White Rose Doctoral Training Partnership

We are a member of the White Rose Doctoral Training Partnership which allows us to offer fully funded scholarships in the fields of Wellbeing, Health and Communities. Please contact us for more information.

Entry requirements

Find out more

You should, as a minimum, have a first or 2.1 honours degree or an equivalent qualification.

International students must demonstrate a sufficiently high standard of English language ability.

We welcome interest from applicants from non-standard backgrounds. We will take subject knowledge, professional experience, publications, or other appropriate evidence of accomplishment into consideration.

See more about our standard entry requirements.


Before applying for a research degree, you should have a preliminary discussion with a member of staff about your project and ideas. To arrange this, please email Dr Sue Caton,, the Research Degrees Co-ordinator for the Department of Social Care and Social Work.

For further information on the application process, contact the Admissions team, +44 (0)161 247 2966

How to apply

Apply now

The quickest and most efficient way to apply for this course is to apply online using the link below. This way, you can also track your application at each stage of the process.

Before you apply, you should discuss your project with a member of academic staff. You should also complete the Postgraduate Research Degree Supplementary Information form which you will then upload to the ‘Student documents’ section of the application form. This collects key information about your research application and there may be delays if you do not submit this document.

Apply now
Postgraduate Study