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We welcome applications to undertake research towards MPhil and PhD degrees in Nursing.

Research at Worcester has grown significantly in the last 10 years as the University itself has expanded. As a research student you will join a vibrant student community in our Research School and become part of our dynamic research environment.



Three Counties School of Nursing and Midwifery

The Three Counties School of Nursing and Midwifery has a strong mix of academics with a high degree of professional and personal experience, enabling you to get the most out of your programme. Our staff have expertise in patient experience, nursing ethics, sexual health, children, young people and families, mental health nursing, interprofessional simulation, values-based practice, end of life and palliative care, international nursing, and acute and emergency nursing.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

Entry qualifications

For MPhil

  • First or Upper Second Class Honours Degree or an approved equivalent award


  • Research or professional experience which has resulted in appropriate evidence of achievement

For PhD

  • Postgraduate Masters Degree in a discipline which is appropriate to the proposed programme of study


  • First or Upper Second Class Honours Degree or equivalent award in an appropriate discipline


  • Research or professional experience at postgraduate level which has resulted in published work, written reports or other appropriate evidence of achievement

International applicants

International applicants will be required to demonstrate that they have the appropriate level of written and spoken English.

For MPhil/PhD this is an IELTS score of 6.5 with a minimum score of 6.0 in every component.

Programme structure

Programme structure

PhD year by year

After receiving your application, we try to establish if we have the necessary expertise to supervise your project and we begin to form a supervisory team for you. This will normally consist of a Director of Studies (DoS), who will be your lead supervisor, and at least one other supervisor, who will offer you additional support and guidance throughout your studies. If, following a successful interview, you are offered a place as a full-time student, your programme of study will look something like this:

First year

You will have submitted a draft research outline with your application. In your first year, you will be working towards submitting a more complete research proposal. You will be aided in your research by meeting with your supervisory team to discuss your progress. You will also be supported through your first year by engaging with a series of three modules as part of our Researcher Development Programme:

  • RSDP4001: Developing as a Researcher
  • RSDP4005: Approaches to Research
  • RSDP4004: Planning Your Research Project

At the end of each year, beginning with your first year, you will reflect on and formally review your progress with your supervisory team and MPhil/PhD Course Leader. We call this annual meeting an Annual Progress Review (APR).

Second year

In your second year, you will be collecting data and working on your research project under the supervision of your supervisors through regular meetings. You may at this point have research papers ready to publish and you may wish to attend conferences to present your research to other experts in your field. You will be able to apply to our Research Student Support Scheme for some funding for this purpose. Students normally undergo Transfer from MPhil to PhD towards the end of their second year. This will be part of your Annual Progress Review for this year.

Third and fourth year

In your third and fourth year, you will be writing up your thesis and preparing for your viva voce examination. This is an oral exam with two examiners and a chair. You can also request that your supervisor be present at the exam. The exam will take place after you have submitted your final thesis. After the exam, it is not unusual for the examiners to ask that some amendments be made to your thesis before the final award is confirmed and you will have additional time to do this. It is possible to complete the course in three years, but we have found that the majority of students do take four years to complete the course. At the end of each year of your registration, you will go through an Annual Progress Review.


Access to the University of Worcester’s virtual resources and its state-of-the-art library facilities. The Nursing team at Worcester have an excellent range of resources available to support your learning and your research project. The School of Nursing and Midwifery has a state-of-the-art clinical skills and simulation centre that is staffed by three dedicated clinical skills technicians. Simulation suites include hospital, therapy and home environments that are designed to mimic real life settings so that students can practice in realistic healthcare surroundings. The simulation suites are fitted with video recording equipment which is controlled from a central control room.

Programme specification

For comprehensive details on the aims and intended learning outcomes of the course, and the means by which these are achieved through learning, teaching and assessment, please download the latest programme specification document for the MPhil or PhD.

Part time students follow the same structure as full-time students but normally complete the PhD over a period of five to six years. Part-time students take two modules in each of their first two years, and will normally Transfer to PhD in their fourth year.

Research areas

Research areas

Supervision areas

The Three Counties School of Nursing and Midwifery has a strong mix of academics with a high degree of professional and personal experience, enabling you to get the most out of your programme. Our staff have expertise in patient experience, nursing ethics, sexual health, children, young people and families, mental health nursing, interprofessional simulation, values-based practice, end of life and palliative care, international nursing, and acute and emergency nursing.


You will need to submit a research proposal as part of the admission process. At this stage we are looking for the potential of your project and your ability to complete it, as well as our capacity to supervise. The proposal form is here. Informal inquiries are welcomed by any of our supervisors or the course leader, Dr Kerry Gaskin Please do click on the links to our supervisors so that you can see their areas of expertise and publications.  

Dr Jackie Bentley  Expertise: child health; children and families; nursing; pain. Qualitative methods.

Dr Kerry Gaskin Expertise: Congenital Heart Disease; Cardiac Surgery; Cardiology; Parents’ biopsychosocial experiences of having an infant with lifelong/life limiting conditions; Families and siblings; Resilience; Transition; Advanced clinical practice; Mixed Methods: Service Evaluations.

Self-funded project: Pain Levels and Pre-Operative Anxiety within Cardiac Care
Self-funded project: Supporting the psychological needs of parents of newborn infants diagnosed with complex congenital heart disease, using a storytelling based intervention.

Dr Frances Howie  Expertise: Public health; public health professional training; health inequalities; health improvement; leadership and management; sociology.

Dr Martin Lipscomb Expertise: realism; critical realism; professional and healthcare philosophy.          

Associate Professor Theresa Mitchell  Expertise: qualitative methodologies including interpretive phenomenology, feminist phenomenology, Grounded Theory, ethnography (including organisational ethnography) and action research; service evaluation.  

Dr Kay Norman  Expertise: Nursing Practice; The Image of Nursing; Community Care; Mentorship and supervision; Qualitative methods.

Dr Brian Nyatanga Expertise: palliative care research; burnout; death anxiety.  Qualitative methods.     

Dr Paul Snelling  Expertise: healthcare ethics; public health ethics; professional regulation. 

Dr Helen Ford

Dr Fazilah Twining


Find out more about the philosophy and ethics of professional practice within our Nursing and Midwifery research group.



All students engage with our Researcher Development Programme (RDP). The RDP aims to develop and enhance the skills, both generic and specific, that you will need to complete your research degree but also to become an effective researcher. The RDP is organised around thematic clusters, consisting of modules, and workshops, delivered face-to-face by subject specialists from across the University and the dedicated Researcher Development Team, or online through our virtual learning environment.

As part of the RDP, you will complete a Postgraduate Certificate in Research Methods (PG Cert). All students must complete the PG Cert in order to progress on their MPhil/PhD Programme. The PG Cert is strongly focused on developing your programme of research, starting from establishing your development needs, and preparing you for the planning and subsequent delivery of your programme of research.

Full-time students will complete the PG Cert in 12 months and part-time students in 24 months.

Emma Smith

Emma Smith

Emma Smith completed her PhD after three years of intensive study. “There was a strong support structure in place from both my supervision team and the research school, and they were both able to offer student centred support,” she said. “As a result of this, I was able to focus my research on a topic of deep personal interest to me which has allowed me to pursue a research career in a field that I love.”

Emma’s thesis was titled ‘Investigating recovery from problem substance use using digital Photovoice’. “My study was looking at the experiences of individuals in recovery from problem substance use using a visual research method known as Photovoice.” 

Emma, who has had three pieces published from her PhD, is now working as a research associate at Kings College London on a research study looking at the experiences and available care pathways for pregnant women who use drugs.


Fees and funding


The current fees can be found within the tuition fees document on our figure out finances page.


Finding the right accommodation is paramount to your university experience. Our halls of residence are home to friendly student communities, making them great places to live and study.

We have over 1,000 rooms across our range of student halls. With rooms to suit every budget and need, from our 'Chestnut Halls' at £131 per week to 'Oak Halls' at £221 per week (2024/25 prices).

For full details visit our accommodation page.

How to apply

How to apply

Additional information

As part of the application process, you will be asked to submit a research outline. We recommend preparing your research outline before beginning your online application. Some guidance on preparing your research outline is available here.

If your research involves working with vulnerable adults and/or children then you may be required to obtain an Enhanced DBS check. There will be a small charge for this. For more information please contact

We are committed to making reasonable adjustment. If you require an alternative format for making your application due to a disability, please contact us to discuss your needs on 01905 542182 or

Information about application and interview deadlines

How to apply

Please make your application via our online application form. If you have any questions, please contact the Doctoral School on 01905 542182 or

Before you submit a full application, please contact Dr Kerry Gaskin ( to discuss your research project and the availability of appropriate supervision.

Application links


MPhil - September - Full time MPhil - September - Part time MPhil - January - Full time MPhil - January - Part time


PhD - September - Full time PhD - September - Part time PhD - January - Full time PhD - January - Part time

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