The School for Policy Studies links theory, policy and practice in a multidisciplinary, research-intensive environment. Our research engages with and influences national and international policy. Our policy experts come from a wide variety of backgrounds in social policy research, social work, sociology, gender violence, disability studies, health and social care, childhood studies, history, human geography, economics, psychology, physical activity, nutrition and health sciences.
Our research examines policy areas that affect us all in day-to-day life, influences and challenges policies implemented by governments and institutions, and investigates the issues, factors and attitudes underlying the social concerns that make the headlines every day.
We have seven specialist research centres, including the Norah Fry Research Centre for Disability Studies. The Norah Fry Centre is a leading national centre of excellence for applied social research and teaching, making a positive difference to the lives of disabled people. The centre explores policies, practices or societal issues from the point of view of people with disabilities, recognising and valuing their human rights.
The school is an exciting environment for graduate studies; we welcome graduate students from the UK and around the world to join our diverse and highly-rated research team. We particularly welcome applications on topics with direct relevance to national and international policy and social work concerns.
An upper second-class honours degree and a pass at MSc/MA level (or equivalent experience/qualification).
See international equivalent qualifications on the International Office website.
Read the programme admissions statement for important information on entry requirements, the application process and supporting documents required.Go to admissions statement
Fees and funding
- UK: full-time
- £4,758 per year
- UK: part-time
- £2,379 per year
- Overseas: full-time
- £20,700 per year
Fees are subject to an annual review. For programmes that last longer than one year, please budget for up to an 8% increase in fees each year.
More about tuition fees, living costs and financial support.
University of Bristol students and graduates can benefit from a 25% reduction in tuition fees for postgraduate study. Check your eligibility for an alumni discount.
Funding for 2024/25
Applicants may apply for funding from the University of Bristol scholarship fund or alumni PhD scholarship fund. Also, candidates for a Disability Studies PhD can apply for social work or social policy disciplinary studentships from the ESRC, which may encompass disability interests.
Further information on funding for prospective UK and international postgraduate students.
Studying for a PhD in Disability Studies will equip you with a broad range of research knowledge and skills, both within the disability field and beyond. As a result, what you learn when focusing on disability-related issues and developing skills in analysis and research will be relevant to vocational or non-vocational work in many different settings and topic areas.
Obtaining a PhD is a route into an academic post, either within a higher education institution or in a public sector or research enterprise.
Previous graduates have gone on to work for universities, public sector bodies, third sector organisations, self-advocacy and user-led organisations, local government or education. Their roles have been strongly related to applied social research.
Meet our supervisors
The following list shows potential supervisors for this programme. Visit their profiles for details of their research and expertise.
The Norah Fry Research Centre is a leading international centre specialising in research with and for disabled adults, children and their families. The centre is known for its work to include people with intellectual disabilities in the research process, as well as the development of accessible, easy-to-understand information and the dissemination of research findings in multiple formats to different audiences.