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Research degrees
Research areas
Health, social work and social care
Death, dying and bereavement

Death, dying and bereavement

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.

Qualifications available

PhD, Professional Doctorate.


For detailed information on current fees visit Research degree fees.

Entry requirements

Minimum 2:1 (or equivalent) plus either a masters degree or research methods training at masters level (or equivalent).

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


Sick women with visitor

Further information

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

Dr Inma Alvarez, Director of Postgraduate Research Studies
Phone: +44 (0)1908 655364