PhD Global Health Policy

About the Programme

The GHPU PhD programme in Global Health Policy is a three-year programme (six years for part-time students) that provides rigorous postgraduate training to those interested in pursuing interdisciplinary research across public health and the social sciences.

PhD students joining GHPU will be supervised by two experienced members of staff, chosen on the basis of their knowledge of the applicant’s field of study. Supervisors offer regular guidance, consultation and support at all stages of the student’s research.

GHPU welcomes proposals in the following broad research areas:

  • Universal health coverage
  • Health systems financing
  • Commercial determinants of health
  • Health and global governance
  • Inequalities and health
  • Evidence, advocacy and policy

Please also see GHPU staff profiles for specific research topics staff are interested in supervising.

Research Training

Students enrolled in a PhD programme at the School of Social and Political Science undertake in their first year of studies a set of training courses, which meet the requirements of the ESRC Postgraduate Research Training Guidelines. The choice of courses will be tailored around the student training needs in order to prepare the PhD candidate for later stages of their research. We may also encourage our students to attend courses in other schools across the university or at other institutions, if this benefits their project or professional development.

Throughout the degree we expect our PhD students to attend and actively contribute to the doctoral seminar programme, which is structured around three key areas of academic study: theory, method, and academic practice.

We further encourage students to take on a limited amount of teaching in health-policy related areas, for which they must attend the relevant training courses. In addition, students are invited to make use of the wide range of courses for professional development provided by the Institute for Academic Development.


The degree of PhD is awarded for a thesis which must draw on the student’s own research and which makes a significant contribution to knowledge in the chosen field of study and contains material worthy of publication. The thesis must demonstrate adequate knowledge of the field of study and relevant literature, and the ability to look critically at both the candidate’s own work and that of other scholars in the field.

Studying with GHPU

The PhD Global Health Policy programme is situated within the Global Health Policy Unit, which is located in University’s School of Social and Political Science. This reflects the programme’s reach across traditional boundaries, linking policy analysis, public health, social policy, economics, sociology, medicine and epidemiology.

Contact Us

If you would like to apply to the PhD in Global Health Policy, or you are interested in finding out more, we invite you to get in touch with us.

For queries relating to entry requirements, programme fees and funding, or the application process, please contact the SPS Postgraduate Admissions Office:

Postgraduate Admissions Team

Phone: +44 (0)131 651 5074


For queries relating to the aims and objectives of the programme, specific courses available, and other programme content-related questions, please contact:

Dr. Elke Heins, Programme Advisor

Global Health Policy Unit, Department of Social Policy, School of Social and Political Science, University of Edinburgh, 3.26 Chrystal Macmillan Building, 15a George Square, Edinburgh EH8 9LD


How to Apply

Apply to this Programme through the Degree Finder.

Fees and Scholarships

The School of Social and Political Science has numerous funding opportunities for the PhD in Global Health Policy.

Prospective students are recommended to begin the funding process early; even the year before commencing their studies.

Interested applicants are advised to contact potential supervisors and/or PhD coordinator Elke Heins, about suitability for the awards.

  • ESRC Funding

PhD Global Health Policy students are eligible for studentships funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). Applicants must be a United Kingdom citizen or be a resident of another European Union country. Click here for further details about ESRC funding.

  • University of Edinburgh (UoE) funding opportunities

UoE Graduate School of Social and Political Science Scholarships

These pay fees at the UK/EU rate, plus a maintenance stipend. Click here for more information about UoE funding opportunities.

  • UoE College Postgraduate Studentships

These awards cover fees at UK/EU rates, as well as a maintenance stipend. International students applying for studentships must also apply for an Edinburgh Global Research Scholarship or be able to demonstrate the availability of funds to meet the full overseas tuition fee. Click here for more details about UoE College Studentships.

  • UoE Chrystal Macmillan PhD Studentships

One PhD studentship is available to applicants working in the fields of social justice, gender and equality, human rghts and peace and conflict resolution. This studentship covers University tuition fees at the Home/EU rate, and a stipend, for a maximum of three years (pro-rata for part-time students). Further information about Chrystal Macmillan PhD Studentships is available here.