Death, dying and bereavement

Qualifications Duration Start dates Application period
PhD or Professional doctorate PhD:
Full time: 3–4 years
Part time: 6–8 years
Professional doctorate:
Part time: 4–8 years
October November to January
PhD or Professional doctorate
Full time: 3–4 years
Part time: 6–8 years
Professional doctorate:
Part time: 4–8 years
Start dates
Application period
November to January

Death, dying and bereavement has been a major research and teaching theme in the School of Health, Wellbeing and Social Care for over 20 years. Our work in this area spans death, dying and bereavement in all age groups, from before birth and at the end of a long life. It covers theoretical and practice-related dimensions including reproductive and neonatal loss, bereavement and memorialisation. Our work is theoretically driven and aims to inform both theory and practice spanning the social sciences, professional practice, caring, and education. We have strong links with local and national organisations including clinical and third sector partners. We have an innovative Death, dying and bereavement module, which was the first flexible learning of its kind to address the challenging area of death, dying and bereavement, as well as end of life care.

Our research is recognised for its academic excellence and ability to inform health and social care policy and practice. Members of the research group are regularly consulted on a wide range of policy and practice-related issues. In preparation for REF2021, we are currently preparing a number of impact case studies related to our research and public engagement.

Entry requirements

Minimum 2:1 undergraduate degree (or equivalent) and an MA or research methods training at MA level (or equivalent). If you are not a UK citizen, you may need to prove your knowledge of English.

Potential research projects

Sociological, anthropological and professional practice approaches to:

  • Reproductive loss (including abortion, miscarriage, stillbirth and neonatal death)
  • End-of-life care across the life course, from perinatal death to old age
  • Cultural diversity in death, dying and bereavement
  • Ethnographic work on death, dying and bereavement
  • Post mortem care
  • Bereavement care
  • Bereavement after suicide
  • Legal aspects of death and dying.

Current/recent research projects

  • The role of the hospice volunteer
  • Recovery following bereavement
  • The sexuality, relationships and reproductive choices of young people with life-limited conditions
  • End-of-life care at Milton Keynes hospice
  • Psychological support provided by district nurses as part of end-of-life care
  • Miscarriage in the workplace.

Potential supervisors

Fees and funding

PhD fees

UK fee International fee
Full time: £4,786 per year Full time: £12,146 per year
Part time: £2,393 per year Part time: £6,073 per year

Professional doctorate fees

UK fee International fee
Part time: £3,643 per year Part time: £9,250 per year

Some of our research students are funded via The Grand Union Doctoral Training Partnership; others are self-funded.

For detailed information about fees and funding, visit Fees and studentships.

To see current funded studentship vacancies across all research areas, see Current studentships.


Sick women with visitor

How to apply

Get in touch

If you have an enquiry specific to this research topic, please contact:

Dr Jenny Douglas, PGR Convenor in Wellbeing and Health Care Practice
Phone: +44 (0)1908 659205

Apply now

If you’re interested in applying for this research topic, please take a look at the application process.