Research Degrees in

Public Services

in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities


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 Public Services you will:

  • Work with leading experts in the field. We are at the forefront of research on the governance, management and delivery of services in the public and private sector, and civil society.
  • Choose from our flexible study pathways. We offer full-time and part-time PhD, MPhil and MA by Research programmes. Our distinctive distance learning PhD programme enables students to remotely complete their research.
  • Join a thriving intellectual community. Our new History Research Centre will deliver world-leading research that engages with contemporary societal, cultural and political issues.
  • Engage in innovative public engagement programmes. RAH! (Research in Arts and Humanities) is a curated programme of public lectures, performances, film screenings, fairs, interventions, discussions, artist happenings and augmented reality.
  • Undertake tailored personal and professional development training. The Postgraduate Arts and Humanities Centre provides a comprehensive development programme for research students.

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Areas of supervisory expertise

We can supervise all areas related to Public Services. Particular areas of focus include:

  • Public sector management
  • The role of the Third Sector in delivering public services
  • Housing and health
  • Public service reform
  • Devolution and devolved governance
  • Urban regeneration
  • Education policy
  • Crisis and disaster planning
  • Community engagement and development
  • The social value and use of arts in community work
  • Anti-poverty strategies.

Find out more about our staff's expertise

Research culture

You will join an active and engaged community of researchers whose expertise includes public sector management, housing and health policy, community and civil society service delivery, and crisis and disaster planning. We undertake rigorous research, and we are committed to translating that research into social, cultural and economic enhancements.

More about our research culture

We undertake a range of cross-disciplinary projects with internal and external partners. We have recently undertaken investigations on football and social inclusion; apprenticeship schemes in the North West; and local housing and homelessness initiatives (in collaboration with our Policy Evaluation and Research Unit (PERU)).

We have also recently launched our new History and Applied Social Sciences research centres. These centres deliver interdisciplinary research that makes a real policy impact at a local, regional, national and global level.

The social and intellectual life of the Faculty is enhanced by the Postgraduate Arts and Humanities Centre (PAHC) which provides:

  • HARTS Online, an online community, news and events portal
  • A thorough research development programme
  • A space for cross-disciplinary discussion, support and experimentation
  • Hive, an academic e-journal, edited by current students
  • RAH!, an innovative programme of socially and culturally engaged public engagement events.

Courses offered, duration, and start dates

Programmes offered

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

Distance learning

Research degrees are available to study on-campus or through distance learning.

Career prospects

Researching Public Services gives you a vital understanding of recent social, political and economic initiatives.

A research degree in this area allows existing practitioners in the field to deepen their understanding and enhance their own professional practice. It will also equip you with a range of higher-level research and analytical skills that are valued highly in academia and in local, national and international political, social and economic organisations.

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 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

2018/19 entry


  • Full time: £4,260
  • Part time: £2,130

Tuition fees are likely to increase each academic year in line with UK Research and Innovation guidelines.

International Students

International fees are categorised into five bands. Your tuition fee band will depend on the resources required for your project. We will confirm your band in your offer letter.

Read more on our tuition fees

2019/20 entry


Tuition fees for the academic year 2019/2020 will be:

  • £4,327 for full-time students
  • £2,164 for part-time students.

International students

International fees are categorised into five bands. Your tuition fee band will depend on the resources required for your project. We will confirm your band in your offer letter.

Additional project costs

For some research projects, we may need to charge you additional costs to cover, for example, access to specialist equipment, resources or materials. We will discuss these costs with you during your interview, and they will be clearly outlined in your offer letter before you accept a place here. Where we advertise specific research projects, the complete project costs will be included in the advert.

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 Public Services are advertised on our site.

Sign up to be notified when relevant scholarships are advertised

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 Sadiya Akram,, the Research Degrees Co-ordinator for Public Services.

For further information on the application process, contact the Faculty’s research degrees administration team:, +44 (0)161 247 6673.

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