Health and Wellbeing

Find a programme
Run by Faculty of Social Sciences and Law
Awards available PhD
Programme length Four years full-time;
eight years part-time
Location of programme Clifton campus
Part-time study available Yes
Start date We welcome new PhD students all year round. However, the largest intake is in September each year with a secondary intake in January. We strongly recommend applicants to consider either a September or January start.

Programme overview

The PhD Health and Wellbeing programme is linked to the interdisciplinary South West doctoral pathway of the same name.

The South West Doctoral Training Partnership Health and Wellbeing pathway enables students to cultivate the skills needed to develop and evaluate interventions and strategies to improve health behaviour. Your work will make a major impact on the social science underpinnings of avoidable health problems, and will build research capacity at the interface of biomedical and social sciences, both within and beyond academia.

All students have two supervisors from different disciplinary perspectives on health and wellbeing. Your supervisors will convene joint meetings on a regular basis and will attend the annual one-day workshop for all pathway students.

Students will normally be registered in the school of their first supervisor. This may not be the school that processes your application.

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

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

The Faculty of Social Sciences and Law has an allocation of 1+3 and +3 ESRC scholarships. Applicants may also be interested in applying for funding from the University of Bristol scholarship fund or alumni PhD scholarship fund.

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

Entry requirements

A master's qualification (or equivalent) with appropriate research training.

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

The pathway integrates the study of the interaction between three important lifestyle behaviours (nutrition, physical activity and substance use ie smoking and alcohol consumption), their impact on public health and risks for chronic diseases.

For further information on our associated research groups and staff, please visit the School for Policy Studies web pages.


The PhD in Health and Wellbeing offers useful preparation for a number of careers. Our students often go on to employment in areas of government policy and health promotion at local, national and international level. Others have continued to academic careers, taking up post-doctoral positions and lecturing in UK and international universities.

The programme establishes both a sound research training base and an understanding of practical applications, which prepares our students for different types of employment, including research, policy and intervention.

Staff profiles

The following are staff profiles from the School for Policy Studies. Staff profiles from the University of Bath and the University of Exeter can also be explored.

Zoe Toumpakari BSc, MSc, PhD, (Lecturer)

Charlie Foster BEd Hons, MSc, PhD, (Reader in Physical Activity and Public Health)

Professor David Abbott, Disabled children living in residential settings; issues for disabled children and young people and their families; making transitions to adulthood; multi-agency working.

Dr Nadia Aghtaie, (Senior Lecturer in Gender and Violence), Forced marriage within the UK' s South Asian community; violence against women in Iran and the UK; violence against women in rural and urban areas in the UK; young people and intimate partner violence.

Dr Miranda Armstrong, (Lecturer), adult cohorts; associations between physical activity and body size with disease outcomes such as coronary heart disease, stroke, bone health; big data; health record linkage; physical activity epidemiology; physical activity profiles

Dr Sarah Ayres B.Sc., Ph.D, (Reader in Public Policy and Governance), Devolution and decentralisation; economic development; English regionalism; governance; public administration.

Ms Ailsa Cameron, Health and social care interface; interprofessional and interagency working; professional boundaries; research ethics; the emergence of new organisational models within welfare services and the development of professional roles; the evaluation of policy programmes; the housing contribution to community care.

Ms Christina Pantazis M.A, (Professor of Zemiology), Poverty, social exclusion and inequality; security and civil liberties; social harm, crime and criminalisation.

Dr Sebnem Eroglu-Hawksworth MA, PhD, (Senior Lecturer in Social Policy), Migration research and specifically in understanding the economic behaviour, success and integration of migrants; poverty and household livelihoods; qualitative and quantitative methods; the macro-economic and policy aspects of poverty reduction; the measurement of poverty from a deprivation perspective and methods used to combine its ‘objective’ and subjective dimensions.

Dr Eldin Fahmy B.A, MSc, Ph.D, PGCE, (Senior Lecturer), Area-based initiatives, social inclusion and anti-poverty policy; fuel poverty; participation and community governance; poverty and social exclusion; rural poverty; youth, citizenship and exclusion.

Professor David Gordon, Area-based anti-poverty measures; child poverty and human rights; childhood disability; crime and poverty; fuel poverty; rural poverty; scientific measurement of poverty and social exclusion; social and distributional justice; social harm; the causal effects of poverty on ill health.

Mr Rob Green, Assessment, learning and intervention; dimensions of social and emotional development; multiagency working; psychological dimensions of interpersonal communication.

Professor Pauline Heslop B.Sc, Ph.D, RGN, RSCN, (Professor of Intellectual Disabilities Studies), Befriending and short-break services and supports; general health-related issues; mental health and related issues; poverty and social disadvantage; transition from children' s to adults' services; young people with learning disabilities and transitions.

Professor Marianne Hester, Child contact and domestic violence; comparative and transnational research on gender and violence; domestic violence in same-sex relationships; domestic violence perpetrators; perspectives on violence against women and children in the UK, Denmark and China; prostitution and sexual exploitation.

Dr Misa Izuhara B.A., M.A, Ph.D., (Professor of Social Policy), Ageing and intergenerational relations; cross-national comparative studies; East Asian social policy; family change and social policy; housing and urban/social change; housing assets and inheritance.

Professor Russ Jago, Determinants of physical activity and eating behaviour; measurement of physical activity and sedentary behaviour; physical activity and obesity interventions in youth.

Dr Laura Johnson BSc, MSc, PhD, (Senior Lecturer in Public Health Nutrition), Nutritional epidemiology ; the role of overall dietary and eating patterns in the prevention and treatment of obesity, diabetes and coronary heart disease as well as understanding the factors that influence food intake and appetite control.

Professor Patricia Kennett, (Professor), Comparative, cross-national social policy; globalization, governance and public policy; housing and homelessness; welfare systems and citizenship in Europe and East Asia.

Dr Rachel Lart B.A, Ph.D., (Senior Teaching Fellow), Drug misuse policy and services, mental health and marginalised groups, eg. offenders, drug users; evidence-based policy and practice; general health and social care policy.

Dr Noemi Lendvai M.A, Ph.D, (Senior Lecturer in Comparative Urban and Public Policy), Possible typologies for post-communist welfare regimes in new EU Member States, on the Europeanisation of social inclusion in Central Eastern Europe, and on the transnationalisation of social policy in South East Europe; the impact of EU Accession on Hungarian, Croatian and Slovenian social policy.

Dr Patricia Lucas PhD, (Reader in Child Health Research), Child disability, poverty and deprivation, and inequalities in health; early childhood development; educational, nutritional and social interventions and outcomes for children.

Professor Alex Marsh, Economics, organisation and management in the public sector; housing policy, economics and finance; theorizing the policy process.

Dr Angeliki Papadaki BSc, MSc(MedSci), PhD, (Senior Lecturer in Nutrition), Dietary habits and socio-economic and psychological factors affecting dietary behaviour; effect of the economic recession on health status and dietary behaviour; nutritional epidemiology; primary nutrition interventions in work settings.

Dr Demi Patsios PhD, (Senior Lecturer), Cross-national comparisons of ageing policy; long-term and community care; poverty and social exclusion of older people and pensioners; the health and social care of older people.

Ms Ann Singleton B.A, M.A., (Senior Research Fellow in School for Policy Studies), International migrants in the south west of England; international migration, asylum and human rights in the European Union; labour migration; migration as crime; the use of migration research and statistics in European Union policy development; trafficking of human beings.

Dr Jo Staines B.Sc, M.A, PhD, PGCE, (Senior Lecturer), Fostering adolescents; restorative justice interventions; the criminalisation of children and childhood; the interface between the criminal justice and care systems; youth justice.

Dr David Sweeting B.A, M.Sc, Ph.D, (Senior Lecturer in Urban Studies), Citizen engagement and comparative urban governance; local governance; local political leadership.

Dr William Turner B.Sc, Ph.D, (Senior Lecturer), Gender identity and development in children and young people; practice and outcome evaluation in social policy; psychotherapeutic approaches in working with young people; research synthesis and systematic reviews in child mental health and child welfare programmes.

Dr Debbie Watson B.Sc, Ph.D, (Reader in Childhood Studies), Assessment of performance; children' s social and emotional learning; interpretive and creative research methods; interprofessional working and professional identities; theorising social exclusion, identity and child well-being.

Apply now

Find out how to apply

Application deadline

We welcome applications at any time of the year; early application is advised.
For details and deadlines of ESRC PhD studentship applications, please visit the SWDTP website (SWDTP website)


Open days and visits

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

Get in touch

Postgraduate Senior Admissions Administrator Phone: +44 (0) 117 954 6785 Email:

PhD Admissions Tutor Phone: +44 (0) 117 954 6785 Email:

School for Policy Studies
University of Bristol
8 Priory Road
School website: School for Policy Studies

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.


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