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Postgraduate study

Social Work PhD

Awards: PhD

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding opportunities

Programme website: Social Work

Upcoming live online events

Postgraduate Discovery Day

(29 March, 09:00 - 18:00 BST)

Research profile

Our social work researchers lead the field in a range of key social work research domains including mental health, children and their families, forced migration and refugees, and criminal justice. We have excellent links with leading professional bodies, policy-making organisations and professional and social work services in statutory and voluntary sectors throughout Scotland, the UK and internationally.

Specifically, we also have a number of partnerships with agencies and organisations providing social work in the Global South.

The research interests of staff cover the full range of applied service specialisms, theoretical issues and research methods. This includes expertise in:

longitudinal research

documentary analysis

discourse analysis

narrative and biographical methods

qualitative enquiry

evaluation approaches.

Our work is enriched by the perspective of both international students and UK/EU students, including individuals who are experienced professionals studying part-time while working.

Programme structure

Social work research offers a wide variety of methods and topics, often geared at understanding the experiences of those who are disadvantaged, alongside exploring challenges in social work practice, or contemporary social problems.

While many of our students are qualified social workers, we also have a large number of students who are not social workers, but study issues relevant to society, and policy and practice related to social work.

Many research students collaborate with practitioners or policy-makers in the development or undertaking of their research, embedding their work in the realities of professional practice.

The potential to undertake cutting-edge research on contemporary real-world problems makes this programme an exciting opportunity to generate knowledge that may offer solutions to the challenges faced by individuals, families and communities.

Find out more about compulsory and optional courses

We link to the latest information available. Please note that this may be for a previous academic year and should be considered indicative.

Training and support

Together with students in all disciplines across the School, you will undertake research methods courses in first year (and second year if part-time) before proceeding with your thesis.

Each student has two supervisors with the possibility of the second supervisor coming from an outside discipline.

There are weekly group seminars for our PhD community which include staff, students and visiting scholars. Students are also invited to take park in method workshops and have opportunities to link into special interest groups in the wider School of Social and Political Science (see for example the RaceED and GenderEd). Staff also play leadership roles in a range of innovate research hubs and Centres (see for example the Binks Hub and the ACRC), bringing opportunities for PhD students to be involved in other research projects and knowledge exchange initiatives.

During the year you will also have the opportunity to participate in the annual University of Edinburgh Social Work Research Conference.

For more information about the range of courses on offer to our PhD students, go to:

You can take advantage of our world-class library resources and can also access the National Library collections.

There are shared working spaces for PhD students within the School of Social and Political Science.

We promote the work of our students on social media.

You can follow our department on Twitter, and read about some current research projects on our subject area blog.

PhD Social Work student story: Making a difference

Entry requirements.

These entry requirements are for the 2023/24 academic year and requirements for future academic years may differ. Entry requirements for the 2024/25 academic year will be published on 2 October 2023.

A UK 2:1 honours degree or its international equivalent, and a UK masters degree with an overall mark of 65% or its international equivalent.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

You must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies, regardless of your nationality or country of residence.

English language tests

We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

Your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the programme you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS , TOEFL, Trinity ISE or PTE , in which case it must be no more than two years old.

Degrees taught and assessed in English

We also accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree that has been taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country, as defined by UK Visas and Immigration:

We also accept a degree that has been taught and assessed in English from a university on our list of approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries (non-MESC).

If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than three and a half years old at the beginning of your programme of study.

Find out more about our language requirements:

Fees and costs

Tuition fees, scholarships and funding, featured funding.

For specialised guidance on submitting a competitive scholarship application, we strongly recommend you contact the Postgraduate Advisor for your subject area.

You should advise which scholarships you intend to apply for and send your draft research proposal. The Postgraduate Advisor will then contact you with guidance.

UK government postgraduate loans

If you live in the UK, you may be able to apply for a postgraduate loan from one of the UK’s governments.

The type and amount of financial support you are eligible for will depend on:

Programmes studied on a part-time intermittent basis are not eligible.

Other funding opportunities

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

Further information

Select your programme and preferred start date to begin your application.

PhD Social Work - 3 Years (Full-time)

Phd social work - 6 years (part-time), application deadlines.

We encourage you to apply at least one month prior to entry so that we have enough time to process your application. If you are also applying for funding or will require a visa then we strongly recommend you apply as early as possible.

You must submit two references with your application.

You must submit a research proposal demonstrating your knowledge of your field of research, which will be closely scrutinised as part of the decision-making process. We request that PhD research proposals are no more than four A4 typed pages in Times New Roman, 12pt font. This includes charts and figures but does not include references or a bibliography.

We require PhD applicants in particular to contact potential supervisors before applying to discuss their research proposal so we can ensure there is adequate supervision.

Find out more about the general application process for postgraduate programmes:

Study Postgraduate

Phd in social work (2023 entry).

students from the centre for lifelong learning studying PhD in Social Work

Course code

October, January and April

3-4 years full-time; Up to 7 years part-time


Centre for Lifelong Learning

University of Warwick

Find out more about this Social Work research PhD.

The PhD in Social Work allows you to select a topic of your choice linked to our expertise within the broad field of social work. Warwick's Centre for Lifelong Learning provides a rich, transdisciplinary academic environment supported by a dedicated team including supervision and personal tutoring.

Course overview

This PhD provides an opportunity to undertake in-depth research linked to our expertise in social work. Our faculty has a range of expertise. We support interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary research projects linked to one or more of our main research themes.

Teaching and learning

We provide a pleasant PhD study room and dedicated personal tutor support in addition to the supervisory team. A combined staff and student seminar programme provides a collegiate forum for sharing and discussing current topics and ideas.  

General entry requirements

Minimum requirements.

2:i undergraduate degree (or equivalent) in a relevant subject; a Masters level degree in Social Work, Social Policy, Sociology or other cognate subject.

English language requirements

You can find out more about our English language requirements Link opens in a new window . This course requires the following:

International qualifications

We welcome applications from students with other internationally recognised qualifications.

For more information, please visit the international entry requirements page Link opens in a new window .

Additional requirements

There are no additional entry requirements for this course.

Our research

Research themes can include:

Research proposal guidance

Find a supervisor

A wide range of related PhD projects are supervised within CLL. Please visit our website for a current list of available projects.

We have four PhD routes available in our department of which this is one. There is some flexibility in choice of route and applicants are encouraged to discuss this with their potential supervisor. The most important aspect is the nature of your project and its potential for supervision in our department

Information about each route is available on our web pages. Within each route, you will find links to potential supervisors' profiles. You are asked to view your intended supervisor's profile and read their work. Please think about what might make your proposed PhD attractive to your supervisor, and customise the proposal accordingly.

We receive a large number of proposals every year and only have capacity for proposals that are carefully tailored to our specific areas of expertise.

Find a supervisor guidance

Visit our website to explore our PhD routes and areas of expertise. Link opens in a new window

Tuition fees

Tuition fees are payable for each year of your course at the start of the academic year, or at the start of your course, if later. Academic fees cover the cost of tuition, examinations and registration and some student amenities.

Taught course fees   Research course fees

Fee Status Guidance

The University carries out an initial fee status assessment based on information provided in the application and according to the guidance published by UKCISA. Students are classified as either Home or Overseas Fee status and this can determine the tuition fee and eligibility of certain scholarships and financial support.

If you receive an offer, your fee status will be stated with the tuition fee information, however we are awaiting guidance from the UK government regarding fee status for EU, other EEA and Swiss nationals and their family members living in the UK for academic year 2021/22 onwards. We are not able to confirm the fee status for these students until the relevant eligibility criteria have been confirmed. Once we have received further information from the UK government, we will provide you with an update on your fee status and let you know if any additional information is required. If you believe your fee status has been incorrectly classified you can complete a fee status assessment questionnaire (follow the instructions in your offer) and provide the required documentation for this to be reassessed.

The UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) provides guidance to UK universities on fees status criteria, you can find the latest guidance on the impact of Brexit on fees and student support on the UKCISA website .

Additional course costs

As well as tuition fees and living expenses, some courses may require you to cover the cost of field trips or costs associated with travel abroad. Information about department specific costs should be considered in conjunction with the more general costs below, such as:

Please contact your academic department for information about department specific costs, which should be considered in conjunction with the more general costs below, such as:

Scholarships and bursaries

phd social work uk universities

Scholarships and financial support

Find out about the different funding routes available, including; postgraduate loans, scholarships, fee awards and academic department bursaries.

phd social work uk universities

Living costs

Find out more about the cost of living as a postgraduate student at the University of Warwick.

Centre for Lifelong Learning (CLL)

For more than 30 years, the Centre for Lifelong Learning has been a centre of expertise in the education of lifelong learners in different contexts. It has a focus on enabling adult learners to achieve their personal and professional goals by accessing a Warwick education, irrespective of background.

Our departmental research strategy focuses on four interconnected themes: concepts of lifelong learning; people-focused professions; wellbeing and identity; participation and collaboration. We seek to enthuse staff, students, and the wider community with this vision. More information is available on our website.

Find out more about us by visiting our website. Link opens in a new window

Our Postgraduate Taught courses

Our Postgraduate Research courses

phd social work uk universities

Taught course applications

Here is our checklist on how to apply for taught postgraduate courses at Warwick.

phd social work uk universities

Research course applications

Here is our checklist on how to apply for research postgraduate degrees at the University of Warwick.

phd social work uk universities

After you’ve applied

Find out how we process your application.

phd social work uk universities

Applicant Portal

Track your application and update your details.

phd social work uk universities

Admissions statement

See Warwick’s postgraduate admissions policy.

phd social work uk universities

Join a live chat

Ask questions and engage with Warwick.

Postgraduate Open Day

Postgraduate fairs.

Throughout the year we attend exhibitions and fairs online and in the UK. These events give you the chance to learn about our Master's and PhD study routes, and the wider context of postgraduate study.

Find out more

Every week, you can connect directly with representatives from Warwick, who will be answering your questions on applying to and studying postgraduate studies at Warwick.

Sign up for Live Chats

Departmental events

Some academic departments hold events for specific postgraduate programmes, these are fantastic opportunities to learn more about Warwick and your chosen department and course.

See our online departmental events

Connect with us

Want to hear more about postgraduate study at Warwick? Register your interest and find out more.

Learn more about Postgraduate study at the University of Warwick.

Why Warwick

Discover why Warwick is one of the best universities in the UK and renowned globally.

6th in the UK (The Guardian University Guide 2022) Link opens in a new window

64th in the world (QS World University Rankings 2023) Link opens in a new window

6th most targeted university by the UK's top 100 graduate employers Link opens in a new window

(The Graduate Market in 2022, High Fliers Research Ltd. Link opens in a new window )

About the information on this page

This information is applicable for 2023 entry. Given the interval between the publication of courses and enrolment, some of the information may change. It is important to check our website before you apply. Please read our terms and conditions to find out more.

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Course type

Qualification, university name, doctorate degrees in social work.

37 degrees at 31 universities in the UK.

Customise your search

Select the start date, qualification, and how you want to study

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Related subjects:

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PhD Postgraduate Research in Social Work

University of east anglia uea.

PhD/ MPhil Social Work & Social Policy

University of strathclyde.

MPhil/PhD Health and Social Care

University of chester.

PhD Social Work and Social Care

University of birmingham.

Social Work and Social Care PhD

University of gloucestershire.

Social Work PhD

Faculty of arts, humanities and social sciences, queen's university belfast.

PhD Social Work

University of hertfordshire.

Prof Doc Social Work

University of east london.

Social Work - PhD

University of kent.

Brunel University London

PhD Postgraduate Research in Social Work and Social Care

University of wolverhampton.

Social Work Doctorate(DSW)

Liverpool hope university.

Professional Doctorate in Social Work

University of portsmouth.

Social Work and Social Care, PhD

Swansea university, doctor of social work.

MPhil/PhD Social Work

Goldsmiths, university of london.

Royal Holloway, University of London

Professional Doctorate Social Care Education

University of essex.

Social Work and Social Policy (PhD)

University of huddersfield.

University of Hull

1-20 of 37 courses

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