Health Services Research

MPhil / PhD / MD

The Department of Health Services Research have a large number of postgraduate research students using a mixture of methods applied to a wide range of applied health service research contexts.

The Institute of Psychology, Health and Society conducts world-leading research

The Institute of Psychology, Health and Society conducts internationally acclaimed research into many aspects of psychology and human behaviour, including perception, language development, pain, addiction, appetite, and offending behaviour.

I thoroughly enjoyed my PhD experience, I would do it again tomorrow. I was well supported throughout by my supervisors, fellow students and the department.

Dr Lauren Hepworth - Health Services Research PhD student
  • 95%

    research activity rated as of International standard REF (2014).

  • 200+

    leading academics.

  • £13.5m

    annual support to extend the impact of our studies.

Research at Liverpool

The multi-disciplinary research environment with strong NHS and NIHR partnerships means we are an inspiring environment for postgraduate students.

We have expertise and ongoing research using both quantitative and qualitative methods, systematic reviews and clinical trials in a variety of community, primary and secondary care contexts. Examples of our current work include the management of musculoskeletal problems in primary and intermediate care, the use of urgent dental care services, orthoptic and vision services and palliative care.

We have highly active, internationally renowned research groups and, in the most recent Research Excellence Framework (2014), 95% of our research activity was rated as of international standard. Our work is theoretically robust and problem and policy focused, with a research agenda that's socially relevant and postgraduate teaching that's truly research-led.

Targeting our key areas of interest we've systematically enhanced our research base, culture and infrastructure, whilst building internationally influential groups. We hold the Athena Swan Silver award. We have a strong track record in attracting fellowship funding and are closely linked to the NIHR Research Design Service that helps applicants build more competitive grant bids. We have strong links with the NHS, Social Care and Public Health as well as robust systems of, and support for, public engagement in our research.

Research themes

Dr Paula Byrne - Interests include invisible or hidden work in the making and use of medical knowledge; communication of test results; the use and abuse of primary care services; sickness certification; and the use of medical technologies.

Professor Rumona Dickson - The conduct of systematic reviews of the clinical and cost effectiveness of health technologies.

Dr Lucy Frith - Lucy is interested in supervising research students in the following areas: general topics in bioethics and health care ethics, social approaches to health and well-being and social science methods in bioethics (empirical ethics).  Her particular interests are: reproductive technologies (infertility treatment, embryo and gamete donation, organisation of fertility care); maternity and childbirth (ante-natal care and organisation of maternity provision); ethical decision-making and health care public policy and organisation.

Professor Mark Gabbay - His research interests include investigating absenteeism and presenteeism, factors influencing development of incapacity for work, sickness certification processes, complex interventions and health inequalities including trials of treatments; mental health and wellbeing; sexual health and substance misuse.

Professor Rebecca Harris - Rebecca is interested in supervising PhD students in the areas of inequalities in oral health and service use, community health interventions both nationally and globally, dental service organisations and delivery of care, dental clinical trials, public policy and health education/ promotion.

Professor Susan Higham - In vitro and in situ modelling and clinical trials to study dental caries, periodontal diseases and erosion. Dental plaque metabolism and plaque regrowth studies. Development of novel optical technologies to quantify mineral loss/gain in vivo using orthodontic, restorative and xerostomic patients and other clinical applications.

Dr Ruaraidh Hill - Ruaraidh has a broad role which includes research, capacity development and teaching and learning related to evidence synthesis. Its reach includes Institute, University and national collaborations across health, social care and education sectors.

Professor Mari Lloyd-Williams - Mari leads the Academic Palliative and Supportive Care Studies Group (APSCSG); a group of multidisciplinary researchers. The group carries out qualitative and quantitative studies and clinical trials exploring interventions which support people to live well with life limiting illness. 

Professor Elizabeth Perkins - Her primary research interest is in patient and professional communication and decision making.

Professor Fiona Rowe - Fiona leads the VISION group which evaluates visual impairment in acquired brain injury and neurological conditions, explores and develops outcome measures in orthoptics, and seeks to explore the complexity of co-existent visual and functional impairments. 

Professor Richard Whittington - Richard is interested in improving care and treatment in inpatient mental health services and leads a research programme on these topics with close collaborations with local mental health service providers. 

Professor Nefyn Williams - Nefyn’s research interests include the rehabilitation of chronic disease such as hip fracture in the frail elderly, osteoarthritis and cancer, the promotion of physical activity in primary care populations and the re-design of primary healthcare services in the NHS, particularly the role substitution of doctors by nurses, pharmacists and therapists.

Research interests

Our research interests closely match our research themes.

Research groups

We have a number of key partnerships that provide excellent research and educational opportunities for our postgraduates. These partners include NIHR CLAHRC NWC, Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group and other research groups in IPHS and the wider Faculty and University.

Clinical academic links such as these mean we're well placed to support and host PhD studentships provided by UKCRN partners, such as the MRC, ESRC, DH and EPSRC.

Our researchers collaborate with academic colleagues in Public Health, Psychological Sciences and other departments across the university which provides a rich inter-disciplinary environment for our students. There are particular overlaps with the Psychology of Healthcare group.

Study options and fees

MPhil

The Master of Philosophy (MPhil) can be thought of as a shorter version of the PhD. It requires the same research skills, training, planning, and project management. It can be a way to assess whether you wish to undertake doctoral research - or it can be taken for its own sake.

Duration Fees: Home and EU Students Fees: International Students
Full time 2-4 years £4,195 £15,350
Part time 4-6 years £2,098 £7,675
PhD

A doctoral degree is awarded to students that have demonstrated the ability to conceptualise, design, and implement a substantial research project that results in new knowledge, applications, or understanding in their field of study. During your research, you can expect to draw on direct clinical and observational experience to produce an original thesis of 80,000-100,000 words. You'll be part of a research group which matches your research interests. Research groups offer opportunities for cross-disciplinary research collaboration, as well as support and expertise for your research.

Duration Fees: Home and EU Students Fees: International Students
Full time 2-4 years £4,195 £15,350
Part time 4-6 years £2,098 £7,675
MD

The Doctor of Medicine (MD) is a doctoral degree open to medical practitioners (technically, anyone holding a medical qualification registrable with the General Medical Council). It is equivalent in requirements and format to the PhD.

Duration Fees: Home and EU Students Fees: International Students
Full time 2-4 years £4,195 £15,350
Part time 2-6 years £2,098 £7,675

Entry requirements

Eligibility and entry qualifications

You'll need a first class or equivalent first degree in a relevant discipline (a 2:1 with additional Masters level training may be considered), such as medicine, dentistry, health sciences, psychology sociology or anthropology. This breadth reflects our commitment to multidisciplinary approaches when investigating complex questions.

English language requirements

To apply for this research degree, you must have reached a minimum standard of English. You need to be able to provide evidence of this.  See our English language requirements for international students for guidance on the different English language qualifications and evidence that you can provide. 

International qualifications

We welcome applications from within the EU and from around the world. You should ensure that your qualifications are equivalent to those which are required to study for this research degree.  See our guidance on international qualifications.

Additional requirements

Your research can be in any area that matches our research interests and expertise, outlined above. CRB and other checks may be necessary for some project types and every proposal will need to receive ethical approval.

You'll also need coherent writing skills, along with the stamina, self-motivation and organisation to complete a demanding research project.

How to apply

Research degree applications can be made online.  Before you apply, we recommend that you identify a supervisor and develop a research proposal.  You'll also need to ensure that you have funding to cover all fees.

Applications are open all year round.

More about applying for research degrees

Apply online

Find a supervisor

Your supervisor is your main source of academic support and mentoring. You'll need to find a supervisor before you start your research degree. It's helpful to identify a supervisor and discuss your research proposal before you apply.

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Related studentships

Funding

LDC module

Your training and development

Join us and you'll also join the Liverpool Doctoral College, our home for doctoral support, training and development. You'll join a vibrant and collaborative community of researchers, get tailored support for your development and have the opportunity to undertake a work placement.

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