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    School of Health in Social Science Logo
  • Study Type

    Full time & Part time available

  • Subject Areas

    Nursing & Health

  • Start Date

    Any Month

  • Course Duration

    MScR: 1 year full-time or 2-3 years part-time. MPhil: 2 year full-time or 4 years part-time.

  • Course Type

    MRes, Other

  • Course Fees

    Tuition fees vary between degree programmes. Find the specific fees for your chosen programme on our website

  • Last Updated

    03 October 2019

Research profile

Our Nursing Studies postgraduate students have an outstanding record of contributing to the knowledge and evidence base in nursing. The programme also has a strong tradition of welcoming students from overseas, as well as the UK.

Our main areas of research activity and development currently relate to the themes of experience of health and illness, and organisation and policy for person-centred care.

The main areas of study we can supervise for doctoral research are:

  • critical care
  • emotions and care
  • mental health
  • addictions and substance misuse
  • public health
  • community care and leadership
  • pain management
  • cancer care
  • nursing education
  • patient safety and quality issues.

We have expertise in a range of qualitative and quantitative and mixed methods research approaches.

Read more about our research on our website:

Nursing Studies research

Training and support

The MSc by Research in Nursing Studies provides students with an advanced understanding of research design, data collection and data analysis issues in nursing.

The programme is designed for qualified practitioners and graduates and enables students to develop their understanding of debates about research, evidence and practice in relation to nursing and related fields.

The distinctive features of this degree include:

  • integration of generic social science and discipline-specific nursing studies research training and development;
  • social science approaches to research training in nursing studies; and
  • close links with other disciplines including medicine.

The PhD/MPhil programme allows you to conduct an independent research project that makes a significant contribution to your chosen field of study and to further develop your research skills. We are able to offer supervision in a variety of specialist areas.

Normal progression for PhD/MPhil in nursing involves spending the first year preparing for the main research work; taking research training courses, reviewing literature, and developing your research proposal.

Progression to year two of the programme is dependent on a satisfactory outcome from a review board. Typically, the second year is spent doing the body of the research, usually empirical data collection and analysis, and the third year is spent completing the analysis and writing the thesis.

You will be able to attend a wide range of postgraduate seminar courses from across the College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences. There is the opportunity to attend other courses in Nursing Studies as well as a wide range of postgraduate seminar courses within the College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences and related disciplines across the University.

Nursing studies PhD and MPhil students join a 50-year tradition of scholarship. Our students share courses with others from a wide variety of disciplines.

Those doing higher degrees by research usually undertake research training courses, as well as carrying out their own research. PhD students have two supervisors, one of whom may be from a different discipline relevant to your interests.

PhD by Distance option

The PhD by Distance is available to suitably qualified applicants in the same areas as our on-campus programmes: Clinical Psychology, Counselling and Psychotherapy, Health in Social Science and Nursing Studies.

The programme allows students who are unable to commit to basing themselves in Edinburgh full time to study for a PhD in a field of Health in Social Science from their home country or city - however this is not intended to be a fully online distance learning programme.

Students enrolled on this programme will be expected to come to Edinburgh at least once per year of study to meet with their supervisors. The length and timing of these visits are negotiable but students should expect to spend at least two weeks at the University of Edinburgh during each year of study.

For further information on the programme (including entry requirements and how to apply) please see the school website:


Visit the Nursing Studies (MScR / MPhil) page on the University of Edinburgh website for more details!

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