Research course

Masters by Research in Health - 'After the death of a person with a learning disability'

University of South Wales · Faculty of Life Sciences and Education
MA by research

Entry requirements

Applicants must:

  • Hold a relevant undergraduate degree (2:1 or higher)
  • Have a sound grasp of qualitative research methods
  • Be highly self-motivated, with a capacity to learn and develop new research skills
  • Have well-developed interpersonal skills for collaborative work
  • Be UK-resident.

Months of entry


Course content

About the Project

People with learning disabilities are more at risk from premature mortality compared to the rest of the population. This means that many parents or other family carers will experience the death of the person they had cared for. The caring literature has dealt with how people become and experience being a family carer. However, there is very little known about that happens to people at the end of their caring careers. This is of particular importance for this group since being a carer will have been a key identity for years if not decades. Thus, what impact a death has is of some importance for services, bereavement agencies and research.

Currently, the evidence base is limited on the bereavement experiences of this group of people. There are also few studies on the spiritual pain of these bereaved carers which may involve experiences of purposelessness, meaninglessness, abandonment and loss of hope.

The aim of this study will be to focus on the bereavement experiences of spiritual pain faced by families/carers who have lost a loved one with a learning disability.

The project will explore the physical, psychological, social and spiritual dimensions of pain experienced as a loved one with a learning disability approached their end of life and thereafter. It will consider how carers rebuild their lives and the role spirituality might play in this.

This study will involve a scoping review of the evidence related to this area and will involve be in-depth interviews with a small sample of bereaved significant carers of adults with learning disabilities. Focus groups will also be conducted with stakeholders from relevant agencies, for example family support groups, bereavement agencies and third sector organisations that support people with learning disabilities and their family carers.

Supervisory Team: Professor Stuart Todd (Director of Studies), Professor Linda Ross and Associate Professor Anne Marie Coll

How to Apply

Please visit the Graduate School webpages

You will need to select MSc by Research (Health) from the drop-down course list in the online application form. Please indicate in your personal statement that you are applying for this studentship. Please note: A research proposal is not required.

You may contact Jane MacCuish for advice on the application process.

For informal discussions about the research, please contact Dr Anne Marie Coll,

Anne-Marie Coll — University of South Wales

Closing date: Sunday 25th February 2024

Interview date: TBC.

Start date: 1st April 2024.

Fees and funding

Scholarship details

The studentship includes a stipend of £18,622 per annum for one year (or part-time equivalent) and fees at the UK home student rate (£4,716 full-time/ £2,358 part-time).

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • MA by research
    full time
    12 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details

Annie-Marie Coll