Population Health Sciences

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Run by Faculty of Health Sciences
Awards available PhD, MD, MSc by research
Programme length PhD: Three to four years full-time; eight years part-time
MD: Two to eight years part-time
MScR: One year full-time; four years part-time.

All programmes (except the four-year full-time PhD) have the option of an additional year for writing up.
Location of programme Clifton campus
Part-time study available Yes
Start date Start dates vary depending on funding source. This research degree is also available via distance learning.

Programme overview

The Department of Population Health Sciences is part of the Bristol Medical School. Staff in the department participate in extensive national and international research collaborations, and provide health policy advice for government organisations and international bodies. Staff and students in the department are also members of the cross-faculty Bristol Population Health Science Institute.

The department is multi-disciplinary and includes statisticians, epidemiologists, geneticists, sociologists, psychologists, anthropologists, health economists, public health physicians, medical ethicists, data scientists, neuroscientists, and various community-based physicians and nurses. We are keen to attract graduates from all these disciplines to carry out postgraduate research. In the 2018 Postgraduate Research Experience Survey, 87% of the schools students were satisfied with their postgraduate experience. Ratings for quality of supervision, resources, research skills training and professional development met or exceeded sector averages.

A selection of fully funded PhD opportunities are available within the department. We host a Wellcome Trust PhD programme in Molecular, Genetic and Lifecourse Epidemiology which offers fully-funded four year PhD studentships. Cross-institutional PhD studentships are available through the GW4 PhD Biomedical and Clinical programmes, enabling students to benefit from the diversity of expertise and resources across the GW4 network of universities. The MRC Integrative Epidemiology Unit provides four-year PhD opportunities on cross-disciplinary projects exploring the causal effects of potentially modifiable exposures on health. The department also hosts cross-disciplinary studentships funded through the BHF Integrative Cardiovascular Science PhD programme and health data science studentships funded through EPSRC Centres for Doctoral Training. Other funded studentships are available for projects in many research areas within the school.

Students who have already secured funding, or are looking to secure personal funding, must contact potential supervisors to discuss research topics before applying. Please visit the school website to see current opportunities.

Fees for 2022/23

We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2022/23 are as follows:

UK: full-time
UK: part-time
Overseas: full-time (Non-clinical)
Overseas: full-time (Clinical)

Bench fees: For postgraduate research students who are not funded by UK Research Councils or (specific) UK charities, it is usual to charge a bench fee. A bench fee covers the costs of laboratory consumables, specialist equipment and other relevant costs (eg training) for the duration of the programme. The bench fee charged can vary considerably depending on the nature of the programme being undertaken. Details of specific bench fee charges can be provided on request and will made clear in the offer letter sent to applicants.

Following the recent changes to fee assessment regulation, Channel Islands and Isle of Man students will no longer be charged a separate tuition fee. From the 2021/22 academic year they will be charged the same fees as Home students.

Fees are subject to an annual review. For programmes that last longer than one year, please budget for up to a five per cent increase in fees each year. Find out more about tuition fees.

Alumni discount

University of Bristol students and graduates can benefit from a 25% reduction in tuition fees for postgraduate study. Check your eligibility for an alumni discount.

Funding for 2022/23

Funded opportunities are advertised on the school website as they become available. Some funding opportunities are restricted to UK citizens.

Further information on funding for prospective UK, EU and international postgraduate students.

Entry requirements

An upper second-class honours degree (or international equivalent) or a lower second-class honours degree (or international equivalent) with a master's degree in a subject relevant for the proposed research. To register for an MD you must hold an MBChB.

Applicants must have identified two potential supervisors who are willing to support the research proposal.

See international equivalent qualifications on the International Office website.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you need to meet this profile level:
Profile B
Further information about English language requirements and profile levels.

Admissions statement

Read the programme admissions statement for important information on entry requirements, the application process and supporting documents required.

Admissions statement

Research groups

Research in the Population Health Sciences department encompasses a number of academic areas:

Many research groups, centres and units work across more than one of these themes, reflecting the highly multidisciplinary environment in the department.


Most of our final-year research students express a wish to continue in research. The majority of recent PhD graduates now work in the academic sector, with others working in the health and private sectors. In addition to excellent research training, our students develop a range of transferable skills to ensure they have the best possible opportunities whatever their chosen career.

Staff profiles

Further details of the current supervisors and their interests are available on the programme website.

Apply now

Find out how to apply

Application deadline

Deadlines are advertised on the school website at various times throughout the year. We welcome enquiries at any time of the year.

Open days and visits

Watch on-demand recordings from November's virtual open week.

Get in touch

Sharen Hockey O'Keefe Graduate Administration Manager Phone: +44 (0) 117 928 7274 Email: brms-pgradmin@bristol.ac.uk

Liz Hemmings Postgraduate Admissions Administrator Phone: +44 (0) 0117 4557759 Email: fohs-pgadmissions@bristol.ac.uk

Bristol Medical School
University of Bristol
Canynge Hall
39 Whatley Road
Bristol BS8 2PR
School website: Bristol Medical School
Department website: Population Health Sciences

International students

Find out more about becoming a student at Bristol, applying for a visa and the support we offer to international students.

Bristol Doctoral College

The Bristol Doctoral College facilitates and supports doctoral training and researcher development across the University.

REF 2021 results

The University of Bristol is ranked fifth for research in the UK (Times Higher Education), with 94% of our research assessed as world-leading or internationally excellent.

Full REF 2021 results for the University of Bristol.


Important disclaimer information about our programmes.

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