Social Work

Faculty of Health Sciences

Social Work research degrees

Postgraduate - Research


Looking for a funded PhD?

Check out our current PhD scholarship opportunities now

About our programmes

With its diverse range of environments, experiences and social conditions, the city of Hull and its surrounds make it an area rich with opportunities for research in social work, youth work and community development.

Social work at the University of Hull has a long tradition of making a tangible difference to the lives of others, with recent research centring on issues surrounding safeguarding and suicide-prevention in the internet age, kinship care, child protection and missing children, among other themes.

Our hand-selected postgraduate students share our passion and drive to make a difference. We have established strong working relationships with local social services providers, users, and carers, and we have also created our own Family Assessment and Support Unit for practice teaching and learning which is staffed by highly qualified and experienced social workers.

The PhD in Social Work allows you to research and write a dissertation of 70,000 to 100,000 words on a topic chosen in conjunction with your supervisor.


Open for admission in 2019/20

Full time Part time
PhD 3 years* 5 years*

* plus writing-up time

Start in January, May or September


Health, Well-being and Social Inclusion

This theme encompasses work which theorises notions of health, illness and well-being, integrated with empirical studies and evaluations of health, social work and social care provision.

  • Sociology of chronic illness
  • HIV and AIDS
  • Obesity
  • Health and the family
  • Marginal masculinities

Staff: Professor Liz Walker


  • Adolescent development
  • Domestic violence
  • Young people and suicide

Staff: Dr Jo Bell


  • Disability studies
  • Equality and diversity
  • Social Identities

Staff: Dr Ruth Butler


  • Kinship care
  • Foster care
  • Looked after children
  • Child sexual exploitation

Staff: Dr Karin Cooper


  • Children and families
  • Professional education
  • Professional ethics
  • Religion and spirituality

Staff: Dr Caroline Humphrey


  • International population health (focus on sub-Saharan Africa)
  • Maternal/child health
  • Adolescent sexual and reproductive health
  • Quantitative research (including multilevel modelling) and mixed methods research

Staff: Professor Monica Magadi


  • Sexualities
  • Chronic illness
  • Music and well-being

Staff: Dr Liz Price


  • Youth work and youth studies
  • Professional practice learning in Higher Education
  • Health and wellbeing of young people
  • Student experience of teaching, learning and assessment

Staff: Julie Rippingdale


  • Youth offending
  • Youth justice
  • Problematic drug use

Staff: Dr Luke Cartwright


Other research in the school of social sciences is themed around;

  • Gender and sexuality
  • Globalisation, power and post-colonialism
  • Culture, religion and society
  • Criminology and criminal justice

Fees and funding

  • Home/EU: £4,327 (full-time) 
  • Home/EU: £2,163 (part-time)
  • International: £14,000 (full-time)

These fees are for all research degree programmes on this page. For courses lasting more than one year, small annual increases may apply. For more information, please visit the fees and funding page.

The standard length of a full-time PhD programme is three years, or five years part-time, plus 'writing-up'.

For full-time students, writing up typically takes about three months but may be extended to one year without further paperwork. For part-time students, writing up typically takes one year, but may be extended to two years without further paperwork.

There is a small continuation fee to be paid for the writing-up period. The continuation fee is partly reimbursed, if you submit in less than one year (full-time) or less than two years (part-time).

Additional costs

There are some extra costs that you may have to pay, or choose to pay, depending on your programme of study and the decisions you make. The list below has some examples, and any extra costs will vary:

  • Student visas (international students).
  • Books (you’ll have access to many books through the University library, but you may want to buy your own copies).
  • Optional conference/field/archive/library trips (Faculties support some travel and conference attendance financially. Details vary. Please check with the Department/School to which you are applying).
  • Laptop (you’ll have access to laptops and PC’s on campus, but you may want to buy your own).
  • Printing and photocopying (There is a printing allowance in place for all students, currently £20 a year. Some Faculties grant PGR students access to printing and photocopying as staff. Please check with the Department/School to which you are applying).
  • Professional-body membership.
  • Graduation (gown hire and photography).

Remember, you’ll still need to take into account your living costs. This could include accommodation, travel and food – to name just a few. 

For information about bursaries and how to fund your studies see our money page, or take a look at our PhD scholarships page for specific funded PhD opportunities.

The University’s Postgraduate Training Scheme (PGTS) provides a range of generic and discipline-specific modules to support research students through their programme.

Find out more

The library has an exclusive lounge for postgraduate research students and a dedicated Skills Team to provide a wide range of study and research skills help.

Find out more

The Doctoral College provides support to postgraduate research students. Offering skills development opportunities and dedicated facilities, the school is here to help you achieve your potential.

Find out more

Research at Hull tackles big challenges and makes an impact on lives globally, every day. Our current research portfolio spans everything from health to habitats, food to flooding and supply chain to slavery.

Find out more

Entry requirements

For entry onto the PhD, you should normally have, or expect to obtain at least a 2:1 Honours degree (or international equivalent) in a related subject area.

  • Applicants wanting to register for PhD Social Work must have a Social Work professional qualification.

With your application, you should also submit a 2000 word research proposal outlining your research topic, the significance of the proposed study, the gap in the knowledge base the proposed research will address and your proposed methodology.

International students

If you require a Tier 4 student visa to study or if your first language is not English you will be required to provide acceptable evidence of your English language proficiency level.

This course requires academic IELTS 6.0 overall, with no less than 5.5 in each skill. See other English language proficiency qualifications accepted by this University.

If your English currently does not reach the University's required standard for this programme, you may be interested in one of our English language courses.

Visit your country page to find out more about our entry requirements.