Our Maternal Health PhD/MPhil programme enables you to develop new research in collaboration with expert international researchers and professional and community stakeholders. Close links with our health service and policy partners help to rapidly transform your research into policy, practice and education.
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Our links with Bart's Trust, UCL Partners and others has helped create research-active clinical academic posts, ensuring research is undertaken under the supervision of respected clinical experts.
At the Centre for Maternal and Child Health we conduct high quality research. Our focus is to improve the health and care of women, children, families and communities. Much of our research in Midwifery has been rated as world-leading or internationally excellent.
Your work will be connected with one of our three research groups:
- Models of maternal and child healthcare
- Perinatal mental health
- Public health, diversity and inequalities.
Recent doctorates have explored topics such as:
- Decision-making about place of birth
- Online therapy for postnatal anxiety
- The influence of health system factors on maternal health
Respectful or disrespectful care in sub-Saharan Africa.
The Department of Midwifery and Radiography has a vibrant international research environment is driven by a diverse mix of people from backgrounds including midwifery, psychology and anthropology.
Study for an MPhil/PhD
Doctoral level study involves independent academic research, supported by supervisors, that makes an original contribution to knowledge within the discipline.
There are two main routes to doctoral-level research degrees (PhD) within the School of Health Sciences.
The main approach - MPhil/PhD by major thesis - centres on conducting original research and presenting this in a thesis of around 70,000 words (and no longer than 100,000 words).
An alternative route to doctoral qualification is PhD by publication. This involves the candidate either linking together a coherent body of previously conducted research papers with a critical commentary (PhD by prior publication), or preparing and submitting a series of papers for peer reviewed publication during the period of registration (PhD by prospective publication).
Further details of these two routes are given below:
MPhil/PhD by major thesis
The standard route involves the accepted candidate pursuing a research project under the guidance of their supervisors over a period of 3 years (full-time) or 4-6 years (part-time).
MPhil and PhD study will commonly involve a structured programme of research activity. Comprising systematic literature review, pilot or developmental study, and main study phases.
PhD by publication
Prior publication: Candidates who have already published a series of significant research papers submit these together with an accompanying analytical commentary. This body of work must be principally the candidate's own work.
The number and range of publications must be sufficient to demonstrate that the work forms a coherent contribution to knowledge or scholarship within the particular field. This typically involves around six papers.
Prospective publication: Candidates publish several (generally around four to six papers, dependent on their depth, quality, significance and impact) significant research papers addressing various aspects of their research topic during their period of PhD registration.
For full details about the City PhD programme structure, please see the Guide for Research Students.
Entry requirements vary by subject area. Applicants should approach academic staff working in their area of interest to discuss their proposal ahead of submitting an application. Applicants should normally hold an upper second-class honours degree or the equivalent from an international institution.
Where the applicant's academic profile shows no evidence of training in research methods, it is recommended that students first complete a Master’s programme. This is to prepare them for MPhil/PhD studies. Substantial employment or research experience may be considered for some subject areas alongside or in place of academic qualifications.
For applicants whose first language is not English, an IELTS score of at least 7 (with a minimum of 7.0 in writing) is required.
For more information see our main entry requirements page.
If you are not from the European Economic Area/Switzerland and you are coming to study in the UK, you may need to apply for a visa or entry clearance to come to the UK to study.
The way that you apply may vary depending on the length of your course. There are different rules for:
- Students on courses of more than six months;
- Students on courses of less than six months;
- Students on a pre-sessional English language course.
For more information see our main Visa page.
Fees and funding
Full-time UK:£4,680 per year
Part-time UK:£2,650 per year
Full-time Overseas/EU:£13,010 per year
Part-time Overseas/EU:£6,760 per year
Fees for doctoral candidates are charged annually and cover registration, supervision and examination. Fees are subject to review each year and may vary during your period of registration.
Support for PhD study
Prospective students are encouraged to explore doctoral Grants and funding opportunities such as:
- NIHR and MRC Fellowship schemes
- Commonwealth Scholarships
- Specialist scholarship schemes (such as those provided by Arthritis UK, Diabetes UK, and the British Heart Foundation)
- Research Council studentship awards, if available.
Our bursaries are non-repayable sums of money granted by the University, usually based on need.
Our loans are repayable sums of money granted by the University or other body.
Our scholarships are when the University pays towards your Study fees. You may also be eligible for further funding.
Postgraduate Doctoral Loans
The Government has introduced a new Postgraduate Doctoral Loans scheme which can provide a loan of up to £25,000.
This will be over three years to support study for a doctoral degree.
A Postgraduate Doctoral Loan can help with course fees and living costs while you study. It can be used alongside any other forms of support you may be able to receive.
For more information, please see our Postgraduate Doctoral Loans page.
City has a well-established structure and processes to support your research.
MPhil/PhD students have the opportunity to become integral members of the School of Health Sciences' research teams based in Our Research Centres. These centre's assist and encourage students when completing their studies. A wide range of formal and informal research groups are also available to support MPhil/PhD students.
MPhil/PhD students are assigned to a team of supervisors. This usually consists of two academics who are expert in the field of the student's study.
Students meet regularly with their supervisors to review their learning needs and plan their work towards progression and completion of their research studies. Full time students are required to meet with their supervisors at least twice a term. Part-time students will meet with supervisors at least once a term.
Here notes will be recorded notes from these meetings and other indicators of progress on the web-based system, Research And Progress (RAP).
Students' progress is monitored regularly and supported by an annual review. They may have the opportunity to discuss their research design and written work with a research advisor from outside their supervision team. They also have access to ongoing support from Senior Tutors for Research.
All students working towards a PhD initially register for MPhil studies.
When the student's study has sufficiently developed to demonstrate that it is of doctoral standard then the student may apply to be upgraded to PhD student status. This involves an oral examination. Upgrading normally occurs between 12 and 18 months for full time study and between 24 and 30 months for part time study.
Research students are also supported by student representatives who meet regularly with the student-staff liaison committee. Here they can respond to any student concerns that cannot be addressed by the supervision team.
All MPhil/PhD students can access a wide range of MSc modules and other training programmes across City, normally without charge. Attendance at these programmes is discussed with and, if appropriate, approved by the student's supervision team.
A number of workshops, seminars and retreats are organised specifically for research degrees students across the School and within particular areas. Students are also invited to attend the research seminars that are organised for academic staff.
Institution-wide research related activities can also contribute to your development as a researcher. An annual programme of research and enterprise development activities is kept under review and updated in response to feedback from research students and academic and research staff.
The City Doctoral College can provide more information about graduate degrees.
How to apply
In the first, instance, we recommend that you visit the relevant School and Research Centre. Here you can read about our research and establish areas of specific staff interest. This will enable you to identify whether the School of Health Sciences at City is the best place for your study.
Following this you need to submit a formal online application with a curriculum vitae and a 1-2 page proposal of study. This should include:
Background and rationale including other work in the area leading up to the PhD study.
Proposed methodology such as aims, design, participant groups, measures, analysis.
Potential outcomes of the research in terms of academic outputs (papers and presentations) and real-world impact (e.g., its potential usefulness for health services care providers, policymakers etc.).
We realise that at this stage you may not have a completely clear plan of study, and that the proposal is likely to change after you begin study. The proposal gives us an idea of your writing and organisational ability, motivation and rationale for the study and potential wider benefits.
Please see here for guidance on how to prepare your research proposal.
Professor Christine McCourt
Professor of Maternal and Child Health
Division of Midwifery and Radiography
Dr Katherine Curtis-Tyler
Division of Health Services Research and Management
Dr Mandie Scamell
Senior Lecturer in Midwifery
Division of Midwifery and Radiography
Dr Ellinor Olander
Division of Midwifery and Radiography