Institution / Ulster University Coleraine
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Nursing & Health Research


REF 2014 results show that 96% of nursing and health sciences research at Ulster University is of international excellence or ‘world leading’


Postgraduate Research Education within the School of Nursing and the School of Health Sciences is organised and delivered through the Institute of Nursing and Health Research The Institute is well known nationally and internationally for providing high quality research training, which is relevant to nursing and health practice.

Nursing at Ulster University is in the premier league of universities in the UK and in terms of 4* research (i.e. research that is world- leading in terms of originality, significance and rigour) we are ranked among the top 3 universities. The Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014 results show that 96% of nursing and health sciences research at Ulster University is of international excellence or ‘world leading’ and 100% of our research impact and 100% of our research environment are also recognised and world leading or internationally excellent.

The University welcomes applicants interested in researching Health and Rehabilitation Technologies, Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, Chronic Illnesses, Maternal, Foetal and Infant Research, and Person-centred Practice Research.


One of the aims of the Institute of Nursing and Health Research is to train high calibre researchers who can work independently and who can contribute towards the advancement of knowledge in nursing and health sciences and the delivery of health services. We offer excellent supervision and support.

Entry requirements

Entry conditions

We recognise a range of qualifications for admission to our courses. In addition to the specific entry conditions for this course you must also meet the University’s General Entrance Requirements. For general entrance requirements go to:

Entry Requirements

You will need to hold a First of Upper Second Class Honours degree (or equivalent) in an area relevant to your chosen project to be able to apply.

If you have obtained an undergraduate degree from a non-UK institution, we can advise you on how it compares to the UK system.

English Language Requirements

English language requirements for international applicants

The minimum requirement for research degree programmes is Academic IELTS 6.0 with no band score less than 5.5. This is the only acceptable certificate for those requiring to obtain a Tier 4 visa.

Ulster recognises a number of other English language tests and comparable IELTS equivalent scores.


As a full time student, the expectation is that you will work on your project on a daily basis, either on or off campus as agreed with your supervisor. You will be entitled to 40 days holiday per annum.

Part time students are expected to meet with their supervisors on a regular basis, most usually this would be monthly but this is dependent on the project area.

Careers or further progression

Career options

Although academia is considered to be the most obvious path for any PhD holder, with around two thirds of our graduates remaining in the Higher Education or Research sectors, the degree also paves way for a career in industries centred on research and innovation.

PhD graduates are recognised by employers to hold valuable transferrable skills, as the nature of the degree trains candidates in creativity, critical inquiry, problem solving, negotiation skills, professionalism and confidence.

The most recent Ulster survey of PhD graduates found that 92% had secured employment within the first year since graduation (HESA Destination of Leavers Survey 2015).

Further enquiries

Contact: Professor T McCance Director
Tel: +44 (0)28 70124094

Contact: Professor Sonja McIlfatrick
Tel: +44 (0)28 9036 8066

Research areas

Research facilities and groups

There is excellent infrastructure of supervision and support for students both off and on campus. The Research Graduate School supports and monitors postgraduate research education in the Faculty. It is responsible for ensuring high quality supervision. One of the key roles of the Research Graduate School is to organise student conferences, usually at three crucial points during the doctoral programme (at three months, at the end of the first year and prior to submission of the thesis). Regular seminars are also organised by the Institute of Nursing and Health Research at which staff and students present their research and discuss methodological and other issues. The emphasis is on promoting a culture which values research.

The Institute of Nursing and Health Research provides a unique experience for doctoral students who wish to develop their research skills and knowledge in order to make a significant contribution to knowledge in their chosen fields. Within the Institute of Nursing Research there are 5 Research Centres:

Centre for Health and Rehabilitation Technologies
(Head of Centre: Professor Suzanne McDonough,

Centre for Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
(Head of Centre: Dr Laurence Taggart,

Managing Chronic Illness Research Centre
(Head of Centre: Professor Vivien Coates,

Centre for Maternal, Foetal and Infant Research
(Head of Centre: Professor Marlene Sinclair,

Person-centred Practice Research Centre
(Head of Centre: Professor Tanya McCance,

In addition, the Institute of Nursing and Health Research is supporting the development of programmes of research in mental health nursing (as part of a University-wide development in mental health research), nursing and health sciences education and health promotion. The purpose of the centres and evolving programmes is for members to focus on their selected areas of expertise and to support each other, share ideas and resources in order to promote research in their fields, locally, nationally and internationally. MPhil and PhD supervisors are drawn mainly from these groups. We invite applicants to make contact with the relevant Centre leader and/or postgraduate tutor if they want to discuss a project for their study.

Enrolment and start dates

Start Date: September 2017

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