PhD in Public Health

Study for a PhD by blended learning

This PhD programme offers people working in public health an opportunity to gain key skills in qualitative and quantitative research methods and research ethics, as well as a more critical insight into their practice. The format of the programme (part-time blended learning) has been specifically designed to meet the needs of public health professionals wishing to complete doctoral training and make an original contribution to knowledge development within their field, whilst at the same time fulfilling their existing responsibilities.

The aims of the course are to:

  • Develop advanced skills in research design, practice and dissemination
  • Promote a critical understanding of public health policy and practice
  • Foster critical approaches to evidence review and knowledge management
  • Improve scholarship in presenting written and oral arguments
  • Enhance leadership skills and effectiveness.

Who should apply?

This PhD programme will appeal to a wide range of people working in public health, in the UK and internationally:

  • Clinical and non-clinical public health practitioners
  • Policy makers
  • Researchers
  • Educators

Entry Requirements

The standard minimum entry requirements are:

  • A good first degree (minimum 2:1);
  • Relevant experience of working within the field of public health OR a Masters in Public Health or a related field;
  • If English is not your first language an overall IELTS score of at least 6.5 is required (a minimum of 5.5 must be achieved in each separate skill: writing, reading, listening and speaking). Alternative qualifications are accepted.

Applicants must also include with their application:

  • Two references from individuals able to comment on the applicant's suitability for doctoral study (at least one should be from an academic);
  • A 500 word research proposal which should include an introduction to the study topic, research questions and the methods that may be used. (We acknowledge that applicants who are admitted to the programme may wish to change their topic and/or research methods as their ideas develop);
  • A personal statement giving a clear indication of their motivation for pursuing a PhD in Public Health.

Mode of Study

Modules are delivered through distance e-learning supported by annual residential blocks, making the programme suitable for public health professionals working in the UK and internationally.

Years 1 and 2 provide training in the theory and practice of public health, research design, quantitative and qualitative research methods, research ethics, and organisational change and development in public health. From Year 3 onwards students embark on independent study which concludes with the submission of a thesis which makes an original contribution to knowledge within the student's area of professional practice. The research component will be supervised from Lancaster University but undertaken in the student's workplace.

Course Duration

The programme commences in June each year. Part-time study: minimum 4 years, maximum 7 years.

Further Information

Download the course flyer:

Download the Additional Information form:

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We are no longer accepting applications for June 2014 entry to the PhD in Public Health. Applications for June 2015 entry can be submitted from Monday 1st September 2014 until the closing date of Friday 30th January 2015, via the online application system.
Please ensure all supporting documentation (including the 'Additional Information form' - links for which can be found above) is fully complete and uploaded by 30th January 2015.

Support for current students

Information on using our online systems can be found at the following link:

Distance Learning Support


For further information, please contact:

Dr Paula Holland

Tel: +44 (0)1524 594762

Division of Health Research
Faculty of Health and Medicine
Lancaster University
Furness Building
Lancaster LA1 4YG
United Kingdom

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