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Global Health and Social Medicine Research MPhil / PhD

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Global Health and Social Medicine welcomes applications to join our lively and mutually-supportive community of doctoral students. Working on and across our key research themes, the growing community is co-located in our research lab with visiting researchers, research fellows and professors. Students benefit from our active participation in the King's Interdisciplinary Social Science Doctoral Training Centre (KISS-DTC), which provides leadership in relevant cross-cutting themes. Within Social Science, Health and Medicine, we also offer a thriving programme of workshops, reading groups and other events.

Recently released data from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) shows that King’s is equal top in England (with Queen Mary, University of London) for its PhD completion rates with 86.8 per cent of its full time research degree starters qualifying with a research degree within seven years, against a national average in England of 72.9 per cent.


Key information

Duration MPhil: two years FT, four years PT. PhD: three years FT, four-six years PT. Research degree registration normally only allowed in September.

Study mode Full-time, Part-time

Further details

Awarding institution King's College London

Faculty Faculty of Social Science & Public Policy

Department Department of Global Health & Social Medicine



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Course detail


Research in the Department of Social Science, Health & Medicine (established January 2012) focuses on the social, political, economic, legal and ethical factors shaping developments in biomedicine, disease and healthcare and their implications.

We have research priorities in the following areas:

  • social determinants of national and global inequalities in health, including from life-course and international comparative perspectives;

  • philosophical and ethical aspects of global health pertaining to theories of social justice;

  • social, ethical and political implications of developments in psychiatry, neuroscience and brain research, and the changing territory of mental health;

  • political economy, sociology and history of pharmaceutical regulation, innovation and pharmaceuticalization, especially drug safety and efficacy;

  • politics of cost-effectiveness of pharmaceuticals and drug pricing regulation;

  • social, ethical, and regulatory aspects of personalised and data-driven medicine, of bio-information use in forensics and policing, and of innovation and translation in genomics, stem cells and neuroscience;

  • the ethical and social implications of conducting research with human participants, and of making treatment decisions at the end of life (determination of death in transplantation medicine);

  • movements for 'people's health' in developing countries and the implications of transformations to new models of community healthcare;

  • social, economic and policy consequences of ageing populations in developed and developing worlds;

  • family care and support in later life, with a particular focus on international comparative work;

  • life course influences on health and wellbeing at older ages, including life-long disorders;

  • social and ethical consequences of the capitalisation of healthcare and the roles of solidarity, justice and priority-setting in biomedicine and health care;

  • social and ethical implications of emerging biotechnologies, bio-politics and the global bio-economy;

  • medical anthropology and science and technology studies pertaining to knowledge, expertise, morality, safety and security;

  • medical anthropology, history, and public health of Sub-Saharan Africa;

  • socio-political and cultural dimensions of global health research, policy and innovation in developing countries, including disease control interventions such as outbreak response and preparedness;

  • social and political history of biosciences in the global south.

Information is current, but staff members can change.

Course study environment

The supervisory relationship is central to doctoral studies in the Department. Admission to the doctoral research programme is highly selective and is dependent upon a good match being found between student interests and supervisor capabilities. Each student is allocated a principal supervisor from within the Department, experienced in the relevant research area and responsible for all aspects of supervision. A second supervisor is allocated, who may be a member of the Department, or a specialist from another Department in the School. Research students are integrated within a community of research students, research fellows, visiting researchers and senior visiting academics from across the world, and have access to a range of formal and informal study groups and activities organised by this research community. Students also have access to graduate seminars, workshops, seminars and conferences, often in association with other departments in social sciences, arts and humanities and the Helath Schools within King's.

Postgraduate training

The Department of Social Science, Health & Medicine participates in the research training programme offered in the ESRC funded King's Interdisciplinary Social Sciences Doctoral Training Centre (KISS-DTC) and all incoming research students are allocated a programme of doctoral training to suit their specific needs which will be followed in the first year of study. KISS-DTC runs placement and knowledge-exchange programmes with organisations across the public and private sectors, and provides advanced doctoral training and summer school courses run collaboratively with other institutions. In addition, students on our doctoral programme audit parts of our MSc in Medicine, Science & Society, to provide background and skills in areas relevant to their research topic.

Head of group/division

Karen Glaser (karen.glaser@kcl.ac.uk)

Contact for information

Postgraduate Admissions Team, Admissions Office
tel: +44 (0)20 7848 7429
fax: +44 (0)20 7848 7200 

Contact email

Course website

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

GHSM Res Entry Requirements
Minimum requirements   Master's degree in a relavent subject and/or practical experience in the field of study.
International requirements   Visit our admissions webpages to view our International entry requirements.
English Language requirements Band B Visit our admissions webpages to view our English language entry requirements.


Application procedure

If you are interested in undertaking doctoral study in our Department, we have developed a two stage application process:

1)  If you would like to apply please send your research proposal (between a minimum of 1,000 and a maximum of 1500 words) and a 2 -3 page CV (including academic grades obtained) for consideration to the Admissions Tutor, Dr Lucy van de Wiel. In your email, identify potential supervisors in our Department with a research specialism in the area that you wish to focus on in your doctoral studies.

To identify a potential supervisor in our Department, with a research specialism in the area that you wish to focus on in your doctoral studies, you can refer to our academic profiles for assistance.

2)  If the Admissions Tutor encourages you to apply, you should immediately submit an online application via the application portal 'King's Apply'. Applying online makes the process easier and quicker for you, and means we can receive your application faster and more securely. In the Research Proposal section of your application please ensure that you detail the name of your provisional supervisor and select that you have discussed your proposed research topic with a member of King’s academic staff.


Personal statement and supporting information

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

Document checklist
Personal Statement Yes The personal statement should be approximately three to four paragraphs, and no more than one page. This should explain why you are interested in a particular subject, and could include, for example, details of your motivation and aptitude, your relevant experience and skills, and any other information that would be useful for us in assessing your application. In general terms, we look for candidates who demonstrate a strong interest in their chosen subject area, which should be relevent to the work of the Department and our staff, and who demonstrate the potential to conduct original research.
Research Proposal Yes The proposal ( between 1,000 - 1,500 words 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.
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.
Writing Sample Yes This would usually be an extended piece of writing such as a dissertation/thesis from masters or undergraduate study, or perhaps a research paper if you have been involved in more recent research (and you are the sole author). The writing sample should be in English.
References Yes One academic reference is required. A professional reference will be accepted if you have completed your qualifications over five years ago.
Other Yes A 2-3 page CV is also required.


Course intake

No set number.

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

  • 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

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:

£5,820 per year (MPhil/PhD)

Part time tuition fees:

£2,910 per year (MPhil/PhD)

International Tuition Fees 2021/22

Full time tuition fees:

£21,870 per year (MPhil/PhD)

Part time tuition fees:

£10,935 (MPhil/PhD)

UK Tuition Fees 2022/23

Full time tuition fees:

£6,120 per year (MPhil/PhD)

Part time tuition fees:

£3,060 per year (MPhil/PhD)

International Tuition Fees 2022/23

Full time tuition fees:

£22,980 per year (MPhil/PhD)

Part time tuition fees:

£11,490 per year (MPhil/PhD)

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.

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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