PhD Opportunities

Suggested PhD topics

The following are a list of potential PhD topics, which we would welcome applications for. However, it is important to note that, currently, we are not able to offer any financial assistance to students wishing to undertake a PhD programme.

You are strongly advised to achieve the support of the academic member of staff who proposes the topic which you would like to apply for. Should you achieve and agreement with the prospective supervisor, please note this in the dedicated section in the online application form.

Please also note that all applications, including those proposed by IHR academics, are accessed on merit, methodological strength, viability, significance, potential impact and of course current capacity for supervision in the Institute.

Cross-cultural conceptualisations and manifestations of autism stigma

Supervisor: Dr Chris Papadopoulos

e-health and remote healthcare and their application to both acute and chronic health

Supervisor: Dr Erica Cook

  • Psycho-social factors that impact on the uptake of e-health, identifying the facilitators and barriers that impact on this type of healthcare
  • Impact of e-health on self-management for both acute and chronic health conditions.
  • The role of e-health on the traditional healthcare relationship: From doctor centred to patient centred and related satisfaction.
  • Exploring the role of e-health in empowering patients with chronic health conditions.

Unnecessary visits to A & E. An exploration of the geographical and Socio-determinants of casualty use

Supervisor: Dr Erica Cook

Figures suggest that over 42% of people who go to A &E do not need to be there, costing the NHS over £4.5 million a year with this figure set to rise (NHS, 2010). However, limited research has not addressed the psycho-social factors that ultimately impact on the uptake of Accident and Emergency, nor qualitatively explored the underlying factors that can explain what influences decisions to use Accident and Emergency services. This research endeavours to do this, thus aiming to inform policy on how to reduce unnecessary hospital visits thus shape future interventions in line with other health service promotion to essentially support the individual needs of the public.

Crohn's disease as an "invisible" disease: Using virtual ethnography to understand emitted narratives of people with Crohn's disease.

Supervisor: Dr Yannis Pappas

Alternative ways of consultation in General Practice in the UK.

Supervisor: Dr Yannis Pappas

Sociocultural influences on the maternity care experiences of UK born South Asian women

Supervisor: Dr Shuby Puthussery

The impact of socio cultural influences in facilitating women's transition to motherhood has been widely recognized in a number of studies with the general population in many countries. Studies on migrant women's birth experiences in western countries have mainly focused on the impact of social meanings and cultural practices in understanding their behaviour, choice and experiences. Very little is known about the influences of social and cultural circumstances on the experiences of second generation mothers, whose norms and practices may differ from migrant women as a result of acculturation, differing social network and support systems. Using a qualitative methodological approach, the study will explore the social and cultural influences on the needs and experiences of UK born South Asian mothers in caring for themselves as well as their babies during pregnancy, child birth and in the immediate postnatal period.

Understanding the role of ethnicity and masculinity in men's health seeking behaviour

Supervisor: Dr Nasreen Ali

Evidence highlights inequalities in health between men from differing socio-economic and ethnic backgrounds. Cultural beliefs and practices affect men's decisions to seek medical help. Men's health-seeking behaviour (the recognition of a health concern and the consequent service utilisation (Smith, Braunack-Mayer and Wittert, 2006) is affected by specific cultural notions of masculinity which prevent them seeking help (Galdas, Cheater and Marshall, 2005). In other words what masculinity means varies by ethnicity. Notions of masculinity may be an important factor in delays in seeking help among this group. Early diagnosis is vital for successful treatment and it is therefore important to understand reasons why men may not access services in a timely fashion. This qualitative study will look at the impact of cultural beliefs and practices on ethnic minority men's health seeking behaviour for a number of/or one health problem/s: mental health, cancer, diabetes and CHD. This research has the potential to highlight culturally appropriate interventions thus encouraging timely service utilisation, ensuring better disease management, increasing survival, and reducing NHS costs.

  • Galdas, P.M., Cheater, F. and Marshall, P. (2005) Men and health help-seeking behaviour: literature review, Journal of Advanced Nursing 49, 6, 616-633
  • Smith, J.A., Braunack-Mayer, A. and Wittert, G. (2006) What do we know about men's help-seeking and health service use? MJA, 184, 81-83.

The cultural dynamics of sex and sexual health and wellbeing among Black, South Asian and White young people

Supervisor: Dr Nasreen Ali

Young people from ethnic minority backgrounds have often been underserved by mainstream sexual health and well-being services with economic disadvantage, marginalisation and racism contributing to inequalities (Fenton, 2001). It is argued that despite the increased awareness of perceived risk safe sex practices among ethnic minority youth are undermined by negative symbolism, gender imbalance in sexual-decision making and peer pressure (Varga, 1999). This comparative qualitative study will explore how sexual dynamics, encompassing cultural notions of masculinity and patriarchy impact on the sexual behaviour and sexual health and well-being of Black, South Asian and White young people. There will be two main strands to this research. The first will involve a consideration into the way in which issues around sex and sexual practices are talked about by young people from ethnic minority backgrounds, and how these conversations influence their understanding of appropriate sexual behaviour and safe sex practices. The second strand will focus on the analysis of existing health behaviour models and how they can be fine-tuned to have a greater relevance to ethnic minority youth. The study will be informed by critical theory approaches which rigorously interrogate conventional frameworks for understanding sexual behaviour among young people of ethnic minority and culturally diverse backgrounds.

  • Fenton, K.A. (2001) Strategies for improving sexual health in ethnic minorities in Current Opinion in Infectious Diseases 14, 1, 63-69
  • Foucault, M. (1990) The History of Sexuality Volume 1: An Introduction, Pantheon Books, New York
  • Varga, C.A. (1999) Sexual decision-making and negotiation in the midst of AIDS: youth in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, Health Transition Review, 7, 3,45-6

Developing culturally competent end-of-life care for South Asian renal patients – perspectives of the family/carers

Supervisor: Professor Gurch Randhawa

Investigating the relationship between social class, age, gender, ethnicity and education of transplant donors and recipients

Supervisor: Professor Gurch Randhawa


Enquire about research degrees

By telephone
During office hours
(Monday-Friday 08:30-17:00)
+44 (0)1582 489056

By email

International applicants should be aware of our English language requirements


For all the information you need on how to apply for a research degree and to make sure you fulfil the entry requirements go to How to apply

You should have a good honours degree (2:1 or above) or masters degree or equivalent in the relevant subject area.