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Cicely Saunders Institute of Palliative Care & Rehabilitation Research MPhil/PhD

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The Cicely Saunders Institute is a world-leading centre for palliative care research and an official collaborating centre of the World Health Organisation. The Institute’s breakthrough research projects not only influence clinical practice, but also have an impact on national and international policies for palliative care. The Institute’s multidisciplinary environment combines social science, psychology, nursing, medical and health services research.

PhD Research Projects

PhD projects in the Faculty of Nursing, Midwifery & Palliative Care become available all year round. Please visit our postgraduate research page, where you can browse through the current opportunities. The Faculty is especially interested in receiving applications from students across the globe, who are planning their doctoral research projects in fields that will contribute to the Faculty’s research groups, enhance the research culture and align with the Faculty’s research strategy.

If you are considering making an application to study one of our PhD programmes and are looking for potential supervisors,  please email NMPC PGR enquires@ kcl.ac.uk with a list of names of supervisors you have identified as having expertise in your chosen area, along with CV and a short research proposal.   The Nursing Midwifery and Palliative Care PGR team will contact them on your behalf. Please do not contact potential PhD supervisors directly as they are unable to respond to initial enquiries. 

Support for Postgraduate Research Students within the Faculty of Nursing, Midwifery & Palliative Care

  • A model of three-supervisors has been introduced to improve students’ support and access to clinical and methodological expertise. Where appropriate and required, MPhil/PhD students within the Faculty will be provided with a team of three supervisors.
  • Research methods training modules offered by the Faculty itself include Advanced Quantitative Research Methods; Advanced Qualitative Research Methods; Evidence Based Decision Making in Healthcare; Research Methods and Statistics; and Epidemiology.
  • Our own Nightingale-Saunders Clinical Trials & Epidemiology Unit offers an advanced level of expertise on quantitative topics of which students can avail.
  • In addition, our MPhil/PhD students have access to a wide range of supplementary courses and activities, including workshops, symposia and funding offered by Centre of Doctoral Studies, the Health Sciences Doctoral Training Centre (HSDTC) and the London Interdisciplinary Social Science Doctoral Training Partnership (LISS DTP). 
  • The Faculty also runs three Journal Clubs (for Nursing & Midwifery, Mental Health and the Cecily Saunders Institute of Palliative Care respectively) and students have an opportunity to participate in fortnightly research seminar programmes delivered by one of the research divisions. Students’ active involvement in developing the range of activities and their delivery is strongly encouraged.

Meet our students and learn more about the great work they are doing.


Key information

Duration Expected to be: PhD three to four years FT or up to six years PT. MD Res: two years FT. There are four registration points throughout the year; January, April, July and October.

Study mode Full-time, Part-time

Further details

Awarding institution King's College London

Faculty Florence Nightingale Faculty of Nursing, Midwifery & Palliative Care



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Course detail


  • REF2014: 90% of overall activity currently rated 4* or 3* ‘world leading’ or 'internationally excellent’ (Unit of Assessment 3c - Subjects Allied to Medicine: Nursing and Midwifery and Palliative Care).

  • Current research areas: measuring outcomes; evaluating and improving care; symptom-led research; dying in society; and needs assessment and policy.

  • Recent publications

Course study environment

Students work alongside staff researchers, are supervised by at least two members of academic staff and overseen by divisional research co-ordinators. Students benefit from the extension range of training and support provided both within the institute, with a strong research development programme and throughout King's College London.

Postgraduate training

All students are regularly notified about skills development opportunities through a monthly Postgraduate Research newsletter and are expected to undertake 10 days of training a year. Participation in departmental and Faculty wide programmes is compulsory for all students and provides an opportunity to improve science communication and presentation skills. Presentation of students' research work at national and international research conferences is actively encouraged.

Head of group/division

Professor Irene Higginson

Contact for information

Postgraduate Admissions Centre at Guy's Campus, tel +44 (0)20 7848 1648.

Contact email

Course website

Further literature

For further information about our postgraduate opportunities, please visit our Faculty Postgraduate Study handbook here.

Further literature link(s)

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

Cicely Saunders Entry Requirements
Minimum UK requirements  
  • Bachelor's degree with 2:1 honours in a relevant subject.

  • A 2:2 degree may be considered only where applicants also offer a Masters degree with Merit or above.

International requirements   Visit our admissions webpages to view our International entry requirements.
English Language requirements  Band D Visit our admissions webpages to view our English language entry requirements.
Non-academic requirements   Please note that research programmes may sometimes require a criminal conviction check depending on the particular topic/method of research.


Application procedure

Studentships will be advertised via the College’s Health Schools Studentships website.

Prospective students interested in PhD study within the department should undertake the formal application process through King’s College London - https://apply.kcl.ac.uk/

All proposals are reviewed at our bi-monthly PhD Coordinators meeting, and decisions are made on the strength of the application. Applicants are advised as soon as possible of the outcome, and we aim to make a final decision within 6-8 weeks of receiving a completed application. Short-listed applicants will be interviewed by at least two academics. Proposed research projects must be approved by the School Postgraduate Research Committee before an offer can be made.

Personal statement and supporting information

You will be asked to submit the following documents in order for your application to be considered:

Palliative Care research
Research Proposal Yes The proposal (1-2 pages in length) should explain in some detail precisely the field of study that you want to contribute to and current research gaps, what you want to do and how you propose to do it. For advice on how to write a winning application, please visit the following page. Please provide information about your research experience and, for self-funded applicants, details of how you plan to fund yourself.
Previous Academic Study Yes A copy (or copies) of your official academic transcript(s), showing the subjects studied and marks obtained. If you have already completed your degree, copies of your official degree certificate will also be required. Applicants with academic documents issued in a language other than English, will need to submit both the original and official translation of their documents.
References Yes Two references are required with at least one academic. Professional references will be accepted if you have completed your qualifications over five years ago.
Other Yes Please submit a CV (Resume) as part of your application.


Course intake

Please contact for details

Application closing date

We recommend that you submit your application as soon as possible as we may need to request further information from you to assess your application. This is also important if your application is successful and you are required to meet any offer condition, and/or you need a Student Visa to study here at King’s.

The final application deadlines are detailed below; on these dates, the programme will close at 23:59 (UK time) and we will open for the corresponding intake in 2023 soon after the same intake has passed in 2022.

· February 2022 entry – 12 November 2021 for Overseas fee status and 6 December 2021 for Home fee status

· June 2022 entry – 1 April 2022 for Overseas fee status and 11 April 2022 for Home fee status

· October 2022 entry – 29 July 2022 for Overseas fee status and 26 August 2022 for Home fee status

· February 2023 entry – 21 October 2022 for Overseas fee status and 22 November 2022 for Home fee status

· June 2023 entry – 3 April 2023 for Overseas fee status and 17 April 2023 for Home fee status

Please note that funding deadlines may be earlier than the application deadlines listed above.

Help and support

If you don't have a suitable qualification for direct entry to a UK university, or if English isn't your first language, our academic preparation courses can help you get ready for study in the UK.

International Foundation

Fees and funding

UK Tuition Fees 2021/22

Full time tuition fees:

£6,720 per year  (MPhil/PhD)

£6,720 per year (MPhil/PhD Clinical)

Part time tuition fees:

£3,360 per year  (MPhil/PhD)

£3,360 per year (MPhil/PhD Clinical)

International Tuition Fees 2021/22

Full time tuition fees:

£25,350 per year  (MPhil/PhD)

£25,350 per year (MPhil/PhD Clinical)

Part time tuition fees:

£12,675 per year  (MPhil/PhD)

£12,675 per year (MPhil/PhD Clinical)


UK Tuition Fees 2022/23

Full time tuition fees:

£7,050 per year  (MPhil/PhD)

£7,050 per year (MPhil/PhD Clinical)

Part time tuition fees:

£3,525 per year  (MPhil/PhD)

£3,525 per year (MPhil/PhD Clinical)

International Tuition Fees 2022/23

Full time tuition fees:

£26,640 per year  (MPhil/PhD)

£26,640 per year (MPhil/PhD Clinical)

Part time tuition fees:

£13,320 per year  (MPhil/PhD)

£13,320 per year (MPhil/PhD Clinical)


EU Students starting their programme in the academic year 2021/22 will pay international tuition fees. 

These tuition fees may be subject to additional increases in subsequent years of study, in line with King’s terms and conditions.

Please visit our web pages on fees and funding for more information.

Financial help and support

Visit the fees and funding webpages to find out more about bursaries, scholarships, grants, tuition fees, living expenses, student loans and other financial help available at King's.


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Next steps

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Learn more about postgraduate degree programmes at King's.

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