Mental Health PhD

Qualification name
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Fact file

PhD Mental Health
3-4 years full-time; 6-8 years part-time
Entry requirements
2:1 (or international equivalent) at undergraduate level and a minimum of a merit (or international equivalent) at masters level
6.5 (no lower than 6.0 in any element) If these grades are not met, English preparatory courses are available
Start date
1st October
Medical School
School of Health Sciences
Other requirements



Current changes in mental health care, mental health policy and mental health nursing have led to a significant shift in the focus of research in the field. Users of mental healthcare services are key players in research and their role continues to evolve. A major review of the role of the mental health nurse has culminated in an innovative and creative vision for the future.

The Mental Health research group acknowledges this current climate of policy and practice. Its members apply a multidisciplinary perspective to the investigation of key issues in current health policy and how these impact on the experience of users of mental health services. 

We aim to design high quality research to increase the social and personal understanding of mental health, to improve the care and promote the social inclusion of people suffering from mental distress and disorder.

Current research is focused on three main areas:

  • Care interventions and service provision
  • Communication and language
  • The nature and promotion of emotional wellbeing

We welcome applications from enthusiastic, talented and highly motivated individuals with a passion for research and for using research to make a difference.

A Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree is the highest academic degree anyone can study, requiring extended study and intense intellectual effort. To earn a PhD, students must accomplish three things:

  • Master a specific subject completely
  • Extend the body of knowledge about that subject
  • Become a successful independent researcher

Find out more about specific staff research expertise in the School.



All research students have access to outstanding facilities, with an exceptional ICT and Learning Resource Centre, personal workstations with computers for full-time MPhil/PhD students and a dedicated drop-in work centre for part-time students. 

Flexible study options

Fitting study into a busy professional life isn't easy, which is why we offer flexible part-time courses with a range of study options. As well as face-to-face interactions, contact with students can be maintained via email, video-conferencing, telephone and post. In addition, the library's electronic facilities can be accessed from anywhere in the world.


All students have access to the full range of University libraries. All students who are connected to the internet will be able to access the library's electronic services via a given username.

An Inter-Library Loan Service is available to all registered students. On joining the library, you will be automatically allocated a quota from the library UNLOC catalogue.

The Graduate School

As a leading research-intensive institution, we believe that postgraduates are central to our research mission. At Nottingham we are committed to working with you to ensure you receive all the support and skills training you need to fulfil your full potential.

On joining the University, you will receive automatic membership of the Graduate School, a unique facility for our postgraduate students, which provides a range of facilities, training opportunities and support, as well as workshops and events to enhance the postgraduate experience and help you to develop a range of transferable skills. In addition to the main facility in University Park, School of Health Sciences students have access to the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences Graduate Centre.

IT resources

Information Services provide computer resource areas across the University. Most are available 24-hours a day and contain a large number of PC workstations. The campus network connects workstations, central services and national networks - providing access to email, file transfer and the web. Students in University study bedrooms can access the network from their rooms.

Online learning and teaching resources for many courses are provided through virtual learning environments and accessed via the student portal, a web-based one stop shop for student information.

Library and Information Services

You will also have access to a wide range of library and information services. Each of our Education Centres has its own dedicated library with access to the University's computer network.

The University of Nottingham operates the libraries at our Centres in Derby, Mansfield and Nottingham. The libraries at Boston (with Grantham) and Lincoln are managed by the United Lincolnshire Hospital NHS Trust. These libraries provide facilities for staff of the Trust and for staff and students of the School of Health Sciences.

Teaching methods and facilities

The School uses a number of different learning and teaching strategies across our various courses and programmes. Often there is emphasis on assisting students to reflect on the relationship between their learning in the University and their learning in nursing practice, and to transfer their learning from one situation to another.

Teaching methods and facilities used can include: 

  • Enquiry-based learning
  • Formal lectures
  • Demonstrations and skills workshops
  • Discussion groups
  • Seminars
  • Tutorials
  • Computer-assisted learning
  • Portfolio learning

For students who have to complete practical placements, there will be learning in live hospital and community settings alongside qualified practitioners.


Research support

In addition to School-based training and support, there are a number of additional services available to you during your time at Nottingham. The following are particularly important sources of support:

The School offers an extensive research seminar programme open to staff and students. In addition, the School runs doctoral student 'Research Saturdays' three times per year to enable part-time students to participate more fully in research events.

The University and School also provide a wide range of funding opportunities for research networking activities, conference attendance and internships.


Find a supervisor

Use our search to find a supervisor whose expertise matches your own research interests.

Fees and funding

Home/EU students

For UK students, there are numerous funding opportunities from the NHS, NIHR, government research councils (such as the ESRC or MRC) and healthcare charities or foundations.

The School also offers limited bursaries for those wishing to study for a full-time doctorate.

Information about funding opportunities is kept up to date on the School website.

The University's Graduate School operates two schemes of its own to help support current postgraduate research: The Graduate School Travel Prize and Universitas21 funding.

The Graduate School holds a list of other sources of funding. Studentship opportunities are also available.

Government loans for doctoral study

The Government recently introduced doctoral student loans of up to £25,000 for PhDs and equivalent research programmes. Applicants must ordinarily live in England.

Doctoral training programmes

Linked to research councils, doctoral training programmes offer funding opportunities connected to our research priorities.

International and EU students

Research scholarships are available for outstanding international and EU students. You must already have an offer to study at Nottingham to apply. Please note closing dates to ensure your course application is submitted in good time.

Information and advice on funding your degree, living costs and working while you study is available on our website, as well as country-specific resources.



Visit the School page for additional opportunities.

Average starting salary and career progression

In 2015, 93% of postgraduates from nursing, midwifery and physiotherapy taught courses and research courses who were available for employment had secured work or further study within six months of graduation.* 

* Known destinations of full-time home and EU postgraduates, 2014/15. 

Recent graduates have gone on to work for NHS trusts (eg. clinical specialists, advanced practitioners, modern matrons), universities (eg. lecturers and senior academics, lecturer practitioners, researchers) and in private practice.

Career prospects and employability

The University of Nottingham is consistently named as one of the most targeted universities by Britain’s leading graduate employers* and can offer you a head-start when it comes to your career.   

Those who take up a postgraduate research opportunity with us will not only receive support in terms of close contact with supervisors and specific training related to your area of research, you will also benefit from dedicated careers advice from our Careers and Employability Service.   

Our Careers and Employability Service offers a range of services including advice sessions, employer events, recruitment fairs and skills workshops – and once you have graduated, you will have access to the service for life.

* The Graduate Market 2013-2016, High Fliers Research. 

Mental Health PhD

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This online prospectus has been drafted in advance of the academic year to which it applies. Every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content) are likely to occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for the course where there has been an interval between you reading this website and applying.

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