Research course

Ageing and Later Life

Open University · Department of Health and Social Care

Entry requirements

Minimum 2:1 (or equivalent) plus either a masters degree or research methods training at masters level (or equivalent).

Months of entry


Course content

Research in ageing and later life has a distinguished history within the School of Health, Wellbeing and Social Care’s Centre for Ageing and Biographical Studies (CABS), which involves current and emeritus staff, doctoral students and associated academics from other institutions.CABS was established in 1995 as a centre for gerontology and biographical research.

The founder members believed that the experience and aspirations of older people should be at the core of research and teaching on ageing. This includes involving older people in various ways as research partners, participants and advisors. Since 1995 our research has expanded to include quantitative, qualitative, action research and mixed methods.

Research in this area is wide-ranging and interdisciplinary, with a strong emphasis on qualitative and participative research methods that address experiences of ageing. Our research also relies significantly on quantitative methods to study patterns of disease and health inequalities in later life and across the life course. Projects have been supported by a variety of funders including Research Councils, British Academy and Leverhulme, Academy of Medicine (Global Challenges Research Fund), the Department of Health, local authorities such as Milton Keynes Council, Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Sir Halley Stewart Trust and many other charities and voluntary organisations. Recent projects include: work on where and how older people live; sexuality and ageing, design of kitchens to suit older people’s needs; the needs and aspirations of older people living with dementia and with vision impairments, multiple morbidities and health inequalities across the life course; diabetes and depression in later life; social isolation and loneliness; care and caring; and disability in later life. Some examples of current projects include: investigating how older people learn about and use technologies (ICTs, wearables, haptics, online learning), sexuality in later life, poverty and inequalities among older people in the UK, Europe, Africa and Asia, and comorbidities.

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • PhD
    part time
    72 months
    • Distance learningis available for this qualification
    full time
    36 months
    • Distance learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details

Mrs Wendy Whiteley
+44 (0)1908 655364