Research course

Social Work

The University of Manchester · School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work

Entry requirements

We require:

  • An honours degree (minimum Upper Second (2:1)) or the overseas equivalent in a relevant subject
  • AND a very good MSc/MPhil/MRes degree from a recognised institution
  • OR satisfactory work at postgraduate level (which must include some research training) undertaken for the equivalent of at least one year full-time.

NB In exceptional circumstances, we may consider an application from a student without both an undergraduate and post-graduate degree. For example, if they have a first/distinction and research experience.

The four-year programme is strongly recommended for anyone who:

  • Has not studied in the UK before;
  • Has not completed specific research methods training at master's level and received 'very good' grades;
  • Has not completed a research dissertation at master's level and received 'very good' grades;
  • Has not scored at least 6.5 in all areas of the IELTS (or equivalent) if English is not theirfirst language.

For students who which to study via distance learning there are additional criteria to support effective communication, for more information please see entry requirements section.

Additional requirements for distance learning students

The distance learning PhD maximises flexibility and decreases the need for travel and to have an actual presence on campus (apart from the annual intensive study week), but it does not decrease the time and commitment required for serious and successful PhD study.

As well as the academic and language entry requirements outlined above, distance learning students must also prove that they have the time, commitment and language ability and facilities available needed to work remotely.

As part of their application, students should demonstrate that they have:

  • At least two days per week minimum study time (part-time students) or full-time hours availability (full-time students);
  • Access to study sites and research participants;
  • If seconded from employment to undertake the programme, approval and support from your employer for study time;
  • Adherence to University and home environment ethics and research governance procedures;
  • Consistent computer and IT access;
  • A broadband connection: minimum downstream 2 Mb, upstream 256k;
  • Up-to-date Windows software;
  • A webcam and microphone.

Students must maintain the expected virtual presence and communication to remain registered on the distance learning PhD programme.

Please note: When applying, distance learning students should clearly indicate their interest in the distance learning PhD on the application form.

Months of entry


Course content

Our PhD/MPhil Social Work programme enables you to undertake a research project that will improve understanding of Social Work.

This postgraduate research programme in social work gives you the opportunity to work with internationally renowned scholars engaged in innovative research that will make a difference in people's lives and in health and social care.

We particularly welcome students from all health and social care disciplines who have an interest in exploring related subject areas.

4-year PhD (full time and full time distance learning options only)

This is a four year PhD programme for students who:

  • have not previously studied research methods
  • have studied research methods but not in the UK
  • have limited English language skills
  • have not completed a master's degree.

In this programme, the first year is a foundation year designed to prepare you for the following three years of the PhD programme.

This will include completing taught research methods units from our MClin Res in Clinical Research , developing a detailed research proposal with your supervision team and English language tuition (if English is not your first language).

We also offer a standard three year PhD programme (as well as MPhil ) for students who do not need to do the foundation year.

Information for international students

For applicants whose first language is not English, or for those who have not recently studied in the United Kingdom, you must supply an official IELTS or TOEFL transcript to support your application, or provide a date on which you will be taking a test. Please note IELTS and TOEFL are only valid for two years.

We require a minimum IELTS score of 6.5 overall or TOEFL iBT 90. For each of the other components of the English test you should meet the minimum requirement of 6.0 (IELTS) or 21-23 (iBT).

English language requirements for our distance learning programme are:

  • IELTS 7.0, with a score of 6.5 or above in each component
  • TOEFL 106 internet based (with a minimum score of 20 in each component)

For more information about English language tests see English language requirements.

We accept a range of qualifications from different countries. For these and general requirements, including English language, see entry requirements from your country .

Fees and funding

UK students
International students

Qualification and course duration


distance learning
12-24 months
full time
12 months


full time
36-48 months
part time
72-96 months
distance learning
36-48 months

Course contact details

Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health
+44 (0)161 275 5608