Information for prospective students

Information for prospective students

MSc/PhD students

We provide an excellent academic and training environment for postgraduate and research students.  Students are located within the unit and are included as key members of the research team and we encourage participation and contribution to the wider academic Group.  As such, students are expected to attend, and contribute to, monthly staff meetings, research groups and institutional seminars, and monthly journal club.

There are training opportunities within the Institute of Applied Health Sciences, including generic training courses offered by the university but also including face-to-face or online modules from MSc taught courses, and/or internal training, if appropriate.  We encourage students to develop their presentation skills by presenting ideas and progress to the Epidemiology Group.  We also encourage submission of research methods and findings to the wider scientific community – e.g. conference abstracts, presentations, posters, etc.

Generic training (examples)

  • Presentation skills
  • Small group teaching
  • Public speaking
  • Managing your voice
  • Time management
  • Working with long documents
  • How to use RefWorks
  • Literature searching
  • Statistics for beginners/intermediates

Research group training opportunities

  • Epidemiology module (MSc)
  • Epidemiology group journal club

PhD student training programme

  • How to write a paper
  • How to design and prepare a poster
  • Study protocols
  • How to effectively attend a conference
  • How to make effective presentations
  • How to review a paper

Comments from previous students

Lakrista Morton, PhD student, graduated 2019

Abimbola Ayorinde, PhD Student Graduated 2015

Prior to starting my PhD, I kept gravitating to areas of research where aspects of psychology were intertwined with other health-related disciplines. In the research posts I held, I developed an interest in how individuals mentally frame symptoms and illnesses, and in the effect that different types of communication have on individuals’ illness perceptions and behaviours. I was excited when I saw a PhD studentship in the Epidemiology and Health Psychology groups advertised about the role of media campaigns in supporting people to manage back pain.

During my PhD studentship, I gained much more than solely an understanding of my specific research topic. Through participation in the Epidemiology MSc module at the start of my studies, I learned the core concepts of Epidemiology – giving me a solid methodological basis for my research and a critical lens from which to assess other research. My supervisors, Professors Gary Macfarlane (Epidemiology) and Marijn de Bruin (Health Psychology), encouraged engagement with the wider scientific community early on and I submitted conference abstracts throughout my studies. From this I gained confidence in presenting and defending my work – a particular highlight was travelling to Boston to present my work at the World Congress on Pain. The Epidemiology Group comprises individuals from varied disciplines, and myriad projects are always going on in the group. It was invaluable to learn from these individuals and projects, and to feel truly part of an active research group as a PhD student.

Daniel Whibley, PhD student, graduated 2018

Daniel Whibley, PhD Student Graduated 2018With previous training in physiotherapy and an interest in the biopsychosocial determinants of health, I was aware of the group’s reputation in musculoskeletal epidemiological research. This led me to contact Dr Jones to discuss an opportunity to undertake a PhD. I had a thoroughly enjoyable experience. Support and development within the group has been excellent, allowing me to acquire new skills and broaden my knowledge. My first year culminated in having an abstract accepted for oral presentation at the Society for Social Medicine’s 2014 Annual Scientific Meeting. The professional development programme for PhD students in the department includes public speaking – something I was grateful for when sharing my work at this meeting.

The department is home to PhD students and academics from diverse professional backgrounds. This means there is always someone to provide a fresh perspective and suggest potential sources of further information. Experts from around the world often visit – a reminder of the international reach of the department. The weekly group meetings allow exposure to the group’s other research themes (reproductive health and ageing) and the monthly journal club promotes an appreciation of current epidemiological findings and methodological advances in the field. The addition of cake at the meetings (there’s a rota!) helps to promote a friendly and collaborative working environment.