Postgraduate research 

Public Health PhD/iPhD/MD

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Our aim is to be the world-leading centre for public research and education, working to improve health and wellbeing through understanding how disease occurs across populations and evaluating the effectiveness of population health interventions.

  • PhD: 3-4 years full-time; 5 years part-time;
  • MD (Doctor of Medicine): 2 years full-time; 4 years part-time;
  • IPhD: 5 years full-time;

Unfortunately our Application and Applicant Self Service systems are currently unavailable. We will post updates on the availability of these systems as soon as possible on our Enquiry and Programme pages. We can assure you that no applicant will be disadvantaged in respect to deadlines as a result of these systems issues.

Research projects

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Adverse health, neurodevelopmental and educational outcomes in offspring following in utero exposure to maternal medication

Background: Pregnancy is a vulnerable period when the foetus undergoes rapid development; therefore, exposure to adverse risk factors can have lifelong implications. Use of medicines during pregnancy is avoided where possible but is sometimes unavoidable. Whilst acute adverse effects following foetal exposure in utero have been assessed for several medicines, possible longer-term effects, specifically offspring neurodevelopmental delay and educational outcomes, are not well understood. Scotland and Wales are both world leading in having comprehensive countrywide health and education data which can be linked at an individual level enabling novel research to answer such questions.

Hypothesis: We hypothesise that some medications taken during pregnancy will be associated with poor child health, child neurodevelopmental and child educational outcomes.

Main aim: The overall research aim is to study pregnancy and long-term adverse outcomes in the offspring associated with antenatal exposure to medication. We aim to link pregnant mothers taking medication for specific conditions to a range of datasets to investigate the impact of antenatal drug exposure on obstetric and foetal outcomes, and longer-term health outcomes in the children.

Objectives: We specifically want to investigate the association between specific medications taken during pregnancy and

1. subsequent pregnancy outcomes
2. subsequent child health outcomes
3. subsequent child neurodevelopmental outcomes
4. subsequent child educational outcomes

Methods: The Scottish maternity database (SMR02) collects data on all births occurring in Scotland and includes maternal, obstetric and child factors and outcomes. Retrospective linkage to national prescribing data (2009-2019) will provide information on all prescribed medications dispensed to women immediately prior to, and during, their pregnancy (2010-2019) including dose and duration; whilst linkage to other health and education datasets will enable us to study a wide range of outcomes. We are specifically interested in pregnant women receiving medication to treat the following conditions: epilepsy, depression, ADHD, psychosis, asthma, diabetes (Type1, Type2 and gestational), hypertension, musculoskeletal pain, migraine, indigestion/heartburn/reflux, nausea/morning sickness, opiate drug withdrawal, and any infection necessitating prescription of antibiotics. Medications of interest therefore include: antiepileptics, antidepressants, antipsychotics, psychotropic agents, antihypertensives, antiasthma, methadone and buprenorphine, NSAIDs/paracetamol, antimigraine, H2 antagonists and proton pump inhibitors, anti-emetics, oral hypoglycaemics and insulin, and antibiotics. We will compare pregnancy, foetal and child outcomes for women receiving medications for specific conditions during the antenatal period compared to those who did not. We will utilise the SAIL Databank to replicate / validate our Scotland-wide research on pregnant women living in Wales using comparable population-wide Welsh data. The Welsh data will enable us to investigate the same outcomes described below and, in addition to national prescribing data, provides the added strength of national primary care data which is not available in Scotland. These data will enable us to additionally identify mother and child conditions recorded through GP records and will enable our comparison group of women not receiving the drugs of interest to be split further into those who have the underlying condition but are not medicated and those who do not have the underlying condition at all. Analysing these groups will enable us to differentiate between associations with the underlying condition and associations with the drugs used to treat them.

Expected outcomes: Demonstration of adverse associations or failure to demonstrate adverse associations would both be informative to clinicians and pregnant women in terms of caution or reassurance regarding use of the specific drug during pregnancy.

Supervisors: 

  1. Dr Michael Fleming
  2. Professor Daniel Mackay
  3. Professor Jill Pell

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Overview

Public Health research plays a vital role in understanding the impact of biological, social, behavioural, economic, cultural and environmental factors on our health. Our interests span medical, environmental and social sciences and offer students an opportunity to train in a unique interdisciplinary culture and environment.

The advent of large scale data sets from health services, the environment, public services and the private sector is heralding something of a revolution in approaches to public health. For the first time, we are potentially able to see both how people’s health is created, maintained or damaged over time, but also the impact of interventions and policies aimed at improving and protecting health.

PGR students in public health can access the researcher training programmes in the Colleges of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences (MVLS) and the College of Social Science (CoSS).  This ensures that PGR students graduate with robust, transferable skills that are relevant to future employment in academia and public, private and third sector organisations. 

Our research objectives are to:

  • understand the natural course and impact of cardiovascular and other chronic diseases
  • contribute to service developments to improve cancer survival
  • contribute to a healthier population and environment through policy-related research
  • reduce health inequalities of the working age population through cutting-edge, policy informing research

Individual research projects are tailored around the expertise of principal investigators within public health and the Institute of Health and Wellbeing. Our supervisors use a variety of approaches to understand complex problems including complex statistical analysis, data linkage, longitudinal epidemiological and advanced meta-analysis, but also in depth qualitative techniques and the analysis of new media and policy documentation. We have excellent engagement with the government, the NHS and local authorities, other statutory public organisations and third sector organisations.

Specific areas of interest include:

  • the potential for different aspects of environment to positively influence population health and reduce health inequalities
  • the differences between chronological and biological ageing and its influence on coronary arterial disease
  • evaluating the effects of legislation on population health, such as smoke free legislation
  • understanding the interaction of genetic and non-genetic risk factors on population health
  • the evaluation of complex public health interventions
  • the impact on health of supporting disadvantaged groups into employment

Studying for a PhD in a vibrant, interdisciplinary environment will equip you with transferable research skills that are relevant to a range of career options in the public, private and charitable sectors. Many students find employment in the University sector after completing their studies or choose to pursue careers in health services, government or NGOs with a focus on global health improvement.

Many of our project supervisors have strong academic connections with international collaborators in universities and research institutes across the world. Funds are available through the college of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences to allow international visits to teams and data centres where part of your project can be carried out, if you and your supervisor decide this would enhance your research and training. This provides an excellent opportunity for networking and increasing your scientific knowledge and skill set.

Study options

PhD

  • Duration: 3/4 years full-time; 5 years part-time

Individual research projects are tailored around the expertise of principal investigators.

Integrated PhD programmes (5 years)

Applications for September 2022 intake are now closed. Applications will reopen in October 2022.

Our Integrated PhD allows you to combine masters level teaching with your chosen research direction in a 1+3+1 format. 

International students with MSc and PhD scholarships/funding do not have to apply for 2 visas or exit and re-enter the country between programmes. International and UK/EU students may apply.

Year 1

Taught masters level modules are taken alongside students on our masters programmes. Our research-led teaching supports you to fine tune your research ideas and discuss these with potential PhD supervisors. You will gain a valuable introduction to academic topics, research methods, laboratory skills and the critical evaluation of research data. Your grades must meet our requirements in order to gain entry on to a PhD research programme. If not, you will receive the masters degree only.

Years 2, 3 and 4

PhD programme with research/lab work, completing an examinable piece of independent research in year 4.

Year 5

Thesis write up.

MD (Doctor of Medicine)

  • Duration: 2 years full-time; 4 years part-time (for medically-qualified graduates only)

Entry requirements

A 2.1 Honours degree or equivalent.

English language requirements

For applicants whose first language is not English, the University sets a minimum English Language proficiency level.

International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic module (not General Training)

  • 6.5 with no sub-test under 6.0. 
  • Tests must have been taken within 2 years 5 months of start date. Applicants must meet the overall and subtest requirements using a single test.

Common equivalent English language qualifications

All stated English tests are acceptable for admission to this programme:

TOEFL (ib, my best or athome)

  • 90 with minimum R 20, L 19, S 19, W 23. 
  • Tests must have been taken within 2 years 5 months of start date. Applicants must meet the overall and subtest requirements using a single test, this includes TOEFL mybest.

PTE (Academic)

  • 60 with minimum 59 in all sub-tests.
  • Tests must have been taken within 2 years 5 months of start date. Applicants must meet the overall and subtest requirements using a single test.

Glasgow International College English Language (and other foundation providers)

  • 65%.
  • Tests are accepted for academic year following sitting.

University of Glasgow Pre-sessional courses

  • Tests are accepted for 2 years following date of successful completion.

Alternatives to English Language qualification

  • Degree from majority-English speaking country (as defined by the UKVI including Canada if taught in English).
  • Students must have studied for a minimum of 2 years at Undergraduate level, or 9 months at Master’s level, and must have completed their degree in that majority-English speaking country and within the last 6 years.
  • Undergraduate 2+2 degree from majority-English speaking country (as defined by the UKVI including Canada if taught in English).
  • Students must have completed their final two years study in that majority-English speaking country and within the last 6 years.

For international students, the Home Office has confirmed that the University can choose to use these tests to make its own assessment of English language ability for visa applications to degree level programmes. The University is also able to accept an IELTS test (Academic module) from any of the 1000 IELTS test centres from around the world and we do not require a specific UKVI IELTS test for degree level programmes. We therefore still accept any of the English tests listed for admission to this programme.

Pre-sessional courses

The University of Glasgow accepts evidence of the required language level from the English for Academic Study Unit Pre-sessional courses. We also consider other BALEAP accredited pre-sessional courses:

Fees and funding

Fees

2023/24

  • UK: To be confirmed by UKRI [22/23 fee was £4596]
  • International & EU: £27,930

Prices are based on the annual fee for full-time study. Fees for part-time study are half the full-time fee.

Irish nationals who are living in the Common Travel Area of the UK, EU nationals with settled or pre-settled status, and Internationals with Indefinite Leave to remain status can also qualify for home fee status.

Alumni discount

We offer a 20% discount to our alumni on all Postgraduate Research and full Postgraduate Taught Masters programmes. This includes University of Glasgow graduates and those who have completed Junior Year Abroad, Exchange programme or International Summer School with us. The discount is applied at registration for students who are not in receipt of another discount or scholarship funded by the University. No additional application is required.

Possible additional fees

  • Re-submission by a research student £540
  • Submission for a higher degree by published work £1,355
  • Submission of thesis after deadline lapsed £350
  • Submission by staff in receipt of staff scholarship £790

Depending on the nature of the research project, some students will be expected to pay a bench fee (also known as research support costs) to cover additional costs. The exact amount will be provided in the offer letter.

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2022/23 fees

  • UK: £4,596
  • International & EU: £23,950

Possible additional fees

  • Re-submission by a research student £540
  • Submission for a higher degree by published work £1,355
  • Submission of thesis after deadline lapsed £350
  • Submission by staff in receipt of staff scholarship £790

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Funding

The iPhD  is not supported by University of Glasgow Scholarship/Funding

Support

The College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences Graduate School provides a vibrant, supportive and stimulating environment for all our postgraduate students. We aim to provide excellent support for our postgraduates through dedicated postgraduate convenors, highly trained supervisors and pastoral support for each student.
 
Our overarching aim is to provide a research training environment that includes:

  • provision of excellent facilities and cutting edge techniques
  • training in essential research and generic skills
  • excellence in supervision and mentoring
  • interactive discussion groups and seminars
  • an atmosphere that fosters critical cultural policy and research analysis
  • synergy between research groups and areas
  • extensive multidisciplinary and collaborative research
  • extensive external collaborations both within and beyond the UK 
  • a robust generic skills programme including opportunities in social and commercial training

Resources

Public health at our School of Health and Wellbeing cuts across the College of Medicine, Veterinary and Life Sciences and the College of Social Science. This offers students an opportunity to train in a unique interdisciplinary culture and environment and to access the researcher training programmes in both colleges.

PhD students working with our supervisors are exposed to cutting edge methodologies relevant to public health research. There is a culture of supporting innovative research ideas and our track record of interdisciplinary working supports students interested in reducing the global burden of disease.

We work with data from world renowned datasets and longitudinal cohorts including MIDSPANUK BiobankScottish Coronary Revascularisation register, Heartstart

 There is an opportunity to work with colleagues from our internationally recognised research centres:

We strive to achieve a global impact in terms of both health improvement and reductions in social inequalities of health. In order to realise this goal, we share knowledge through collaborations with academics and other partners in 73 countries across the world.

How to apply

Identify potential supervisors

All Postgraduate Research Students are allocated a supervisor* who will act as the main source of academic support and research mentoring. You may want to identify a potential supervisor and contact them to discuss your research proposal before you apply. Please note, even if you have spoken to an academic staff member about your proposal you still need to submit an online application form.

You can find relevant academic staff members with our staff research interests search.

*iPhD applicants do not need to contact a supervisor, as you will start your programme by choosing a masters from our Taught degree programmes A-Z [do not apply directly to a masters].

Gather your documents

Before applying please make sure you gather the following supporting documentation:

  1. Final or current degree transcripts including grades (and an official translation, if needed) – scanned copy in colour of the original document.
  2. Degree certificates (and an official translation, if needed): scanned copy in colour of the original document
  3. Two references on headed paper and signed by the referee. One must be academic, the other can be academic or professional [except iPhD applicants, where only one academic or professional reference is required]. References may be uploaded as part of the application form or you may enter your referees contact details on the application form. We will then email your referee and notify you when we receive the reference.  We can also accept confidential references direct to rio-researchadmissions@glasgow.ac.uk, from the referee’s university or business email account.
  4. Research proposal, CV, samples of written work as per requirements for each subject area. iPhD applicants do not need to submit any of these as you will start your programme by choosing a masters.

Notes for iPhD applicants

  • add 'I wish to study the MSc in (chosen subject) as the masters taught component of the iPhD' in the research proposal box
  • write 'n/a' for the supervisor name

Unfortunately our Application and Applicant Self Service systems are currently unavailable. We will post updates on the availability of these systems as soon as possible on our Enquiry and Programme pages. We can assure you that no applicant will be disadvantaged in respect to deadlines as a result of these systems issues.

Contact us

Before you apply

PhD/MSc/MD: email mvls-gradschool@glasgow.ac.uk

iPhD: email mvls-iphd@glasgow.ac.uk

After you have submitted your application

PhD/MSc/MD/iPhD: contact our Admissions team

Any references may be submitted by email to: rio-researchadmissions@glasgow.ac.uk