Research Degrees in

Social Care and Social Work

in the Faculty of Health, Psychology & Social Care

Opportunities are available to study for the research degrees of MPhil and PhD, full-time, part-time or distance learning, PhD by Publication Routes 1 and 2 and Professional Doctorate. Research is focused on a number of different Research Institutes across the University. 

Social Care and Social Work

During your research degree you will have the opportunity to benefit from expert supervisors with both research and practice experience. We also provide a dedicated PhD room with kitchen, 24 hour access to the library, and a wide variety of postgraduate activities, including the University’s research development programme, Faculty based research training, the FRIHSC annual conference, an annual Postgraduate Research Conference and an exciting range of research seminars held on our Manchester campus. Collaborative work across faculties and research institutes is also encouraged.

 Whilst this is not an exhaustive list, key research areas include:

• Adoption and fostering
• Care (paid and informal) and parenting across the lifecourse
• Critical disability studies
• Critical professional practice
• Domestic violence
• 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

Much of our research involves mixed methods but also has a participatory ethos. We would like to hear from potential applicants with their own research questions as well as those who are interested in any of the topics above.

Examples of current PhD projects include:

- The Missing Conversation: Women, Substance Use and Domestic Abuse 

- The everydayness of austerity: exploring the experiences of migrant families and a voluntary support organisation in Manchester

- To what extent can Munro's recommendations for child protection social work lead to less proceduralized front-line practice?

- Participation in preventative NHS and Social Care Services - the relationship between available services and minority ethnic groups.

- To develop a model of the various roles that alcohol plays in CSE, identifying its uses for both victims and perpetrators.

- What are the characteristics and contribution of effective supervision within the social work practice placement to student learning and assessment and preparedness for qualified practice?


Before applying for a research degree, applicants should have a preliminary discussion with a member of staff to discuss a proposed research project. 
For queries, please contact:

How to Apply

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

Apply online

Please complete the additional Postgraduate Research Degree Supplementary Information document and upload it to the Student documents section of your online application. This collects important information about your research application and there may be delays if you do not submit this document.

Before you apply, we recommend that you:

  • Contact the relevant Research Degrees Co-ordinator within your chosen area of interest to discuss the project or your ideas.
  • Ensure that you have gathered the necessary supporting documents required and submit them along with your application where possible: references, passport copy, qualification transcripts and certificates, English language proficiency evidence where relevant.
Next Stages of Your Application

We will contact you to let you know the initial outcome of your application, and invite you to attend an interview where appropriate.

Once the university is satisfied with the following, we will send you an offer letter informing you that you have been offered a place of study:

  • Your research proposal
  • The entry requirements have been met
  • You have satisfactory references
  • We have the expertise and resources to be able to supervise you
  • And you have had a successful interview

Some offers may be conditional upon achieving certain grades in your examinations, or successfully completing a particular programme. You must satisfy these conditions before we can confirm your unconditional place.

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Postgraduate Study