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Politics & Government (30) Psychology (31) Sociology (32)

  PhD (School of Social Sciences) Doctorate


 Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Programme

Study a PhD at the University of Bradford and contribute new and significant knowledge to the diverse field of social sciences.

Studying at our School of Social Sciences is an exciting opportunity. You can determine your own field of study, meaning that research projects are, almost by definition, unique.

Your research proposal

Read our guide on submitting a research proposal

We welcome research proposals related to the following areas:

Peace Studies and International Development

Our Department of Peace Studies and International Development is a globally-recognised centre of excellence for research and innovation.

We welcome research proposals related to these themes:

  • International and sustainable development: policy and practice
  • International and regional politics and security studies (including arms control and disarmament)
  • Peacebuilding, security and development in fragile and conflict-affected areas
  • International history
  • Community resilience, peacebuilding and well-being in the context of transnational changes. 


Our Psychology Department has a strong focus in the areas of cognition and behaviour, health psychology, food and behaviour, and behavioural change. Our labs house specialist software and equipment that support PhD research. 

We supervise research topics including those in cognitive psychology, developmental psychology, cognitive ageing, health and wellbeing, social cognition, eating behaviours and health behaviours. These employ a variety of techniques including experimental, physiological, questionnaire and narrative/biographical. Find out more about the research interests of our staff members

Social Work and Social Care 

Our Department of Social Work and Social Care comprises a team of academics who specialise in research related to social work with adults, and social work with children and families. 

PhD applications are welcome on a range of subjects including: 

Care-experiences and care leavers; child protection, child abuse and child sexual exploitation; experiences of ethnic minorities in the UK; historic child abuse; child abuse inquiries and redress; childrens’ participation in research; international social work; leadership and management in social work; mental health; populations affected by violence and conflict; power in social work practice; residential care; serious case reviews and investigations; service user and carer perspectives and experiences in social work and social care, in social work education and in research; social work and environmentalism; social work and power; social work with asylum seekers and refugees; transgender health and social justice; young carers.

Sociology and Criminology

‘Diversity’ is the watchword of research in Sociology and Criminology; we have a wide-ranging set of colleagues with kaleidoscopic research interests. We welcome proposals based on our research themes:

  • Inequalities and the promotion of social justice – with an aim to enrich and promote equality within communities on a local and global level
  • Identity, culture and society – with a drive to explore the reciprocal relationship between culture, society and the individual
  • Health, policy and social inclusion – with an aim to critically consider and positively impact policy developments
  • Politics and history – with an aim to critically explore global historical events and recognise how contemporary societies can learn from them in terms of understanding culture conflicts and political authority

Why Bradford?

  • Our research reputation:  96% of our research was rated world-leading, internationally excellent or internationally recognised in the latest Research Excellence Framework (REF)
  • PGR Connect: our peer support initiative
  • PGR Lounge: the on-campus hub of our research community
  • Postgraduate Research Framework: extensive support resources for our research students

Find out more about life as a research student at Bradford.

Distance learning research opportunities

You may be able to study by distance learning – meaning you can shape the future of social sciences research from anywhere in the world.

Our distance learning students enjoy access to all the same online resources and support as our campus-based students.

Funding opportunities

We can help you source funding for your project. There are multiple sources available, including:

January 2024 Scholarships available – find out more here.

Entry requirements

Find out more about our entry requirements on the School of Social Sciences PhD page.

Application deadlines

Applications can be submitted at any time, with start dates available in February, June and October every year.

Full details on applying for a project or submitting a research proposal can be found on our postgraduate research website.

Funding Notes

The PhD opportunities on this programme do not have funding attached. You will need to have your own means of paying fees and living costs and / or seek separate funding from student finance, charities or trusts.

Register your interest for this programme

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