Social Work

MPhil or PhD

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Key facts

Start dates

January 2024 / September 2024

Application deadline

Please allow at least four months between submitting your application and your expected start date, especially if you are an international student arranging a visa.

Course length

Full time: 2 - 3 years

Part time: 3 - 4 years

Funding status



Social Work at Oxford Brookes offers a supportive and collaborative research community, giving you the chance to develop your research skills together with knowledge of your chosen subject. We take a holistic approach to individual, family, community and societal well-being, and have strong partnerships with external research centres and practitioners.

You can undertake research degrees in areas such as:

  • children and families
  • drugs and alcohol
  • inter-professional education and collaborative practice.

You will be supported throughout your studies by a supervisory team who you will meet on a regular basis and have many additional opportunities to share your progress with other researchers and research students. There are opportunities to participate in the Faculty’s annual research conference and to attend research seminars, including research training seminars.

Person talking to a social worker

Research expertise

Our research covers a diverse range of fields, ensuring that we are delivering current, evidence-informed knowledge and skills for all levels of professionals. We also collaborate across the disciplines to ensure that we are at the forefront of informing and influencing current policy and practice.

Much of the research has an international impact. For example, findings from a recent large, systematic review of school-based alcohol prevention could result in reduced costs for health care and social services across the globe. Results from a substantial survey of factors that affect resilience in social work students could have a significant positive impact on the recruitment and long-term retention of social workers entering into the profession.

Degree routes

All students enrol as probationer research students. During the first year you will formally register your research proposal for one of the below routes. 

How to apply

Entry requirements

All students must be able to meet the University’s requirements for a research degree, which is to be able to devote a minimum of 35 hours per week (full-time) or 15 hours per week (part-time) to the programme of research.

The minimum entry requirement for the degree of MPhil, or MPhil with transfer to PhD, is a first-class or upper second-class UK honours degree or equivalent qualification.

The normal entry requirement for a PhD is a Masters degree, or exceptionally a good honours degree/equivalent.

English language requirements

Our requirement is IELTS: 6.5-7.0 overall, with a minimum of 6.0 in each component (reading, writing, listening and speaking), depending on the subject. Please note that an IELTS certificate must be current; they are only valid for 2 years from issue. For further information about the test visit the IELTS website. Please note that we are unable to accept TOEFL qualifications.

However, there may be some exceptions. See UK Government visa information for more detail on the information.

English requirements for visas

If you need a student visa to enter the UK you will need to meet the UK Visas and Immigration minimum language requirements as well as the University's requirements. Find out more about English language requirements.

Application process

We welcome initial enquiries. Please contact the Research Administrator ( and/or the relevant Postgraduate Tutor or Supervisor.

  1. If you have a research proposal in mind, explore our research groups and supervisory staff webpages, to identify the relevant research group/s for your research.
  2. Check the fees information on the university website. Oxford Brookes Alumni may be entitled to a discount on course fees.
  3. Email your CV and an outline of your area of interest to Give a brief explanation of how your studies will be funded.
  4. Once we have the initial information we will liaise with you as necessary and pass the information to the relevant Postgraduate Tutor/s, who will advise whether an application can be progressed. If this is possible we will invite you to submit an application through the university system. 

Tuition fees

2023 / 24
Home (UK) full time

Home (UK) part time

International full time

International part time

Tuition fees

2023 / 24
Home (UK) full time

Home (UK) part time

International full time

International part time

Fees quoted are for the first year only. If you are studying a course that lasts longer than one year, your fees will increase each year.

For International fees the following factors will be taken into account by the University when it is setting the annual fees: inflationary measures such as the retail price indices, projected increases in University costs, changes in the level of funding received from Government sources, admissions statistics and access considerations including the availability of student support. 

Home fees are set by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and are released approximately five months before the start of each academic year.

If you have any questions about fees, get in touch with the Research Degrees Team at

How and when to pay

Tuition fee instalments for the semester are due by the Monday of week 1 of each semester. Students are not liable for full fees for that semester if they leave before week 4. If the leaving date is after week 4, full fees for the semester are payable.

  • For information on payment methods please see our Make a Payment page.
  • For information about refunds please visit our Refund policy page

Funding your studies

Financial support and scholarships

Featured funding opportunities available for this course.

All financial support and scholarships

View all funding opportunities for this course