Course information


2-4 years full time or 4-8 years part time

Course overview

Goldsmiths is home to a wealth of experience and research in social work, spanning areas from social justice to social injustices to sexual and gender diversity.

We provide a thriving research environment in which the research interests of staff are enormously varied, including:

  • Child protection.
  • Learning disability.
  • Mental health.
  • The interconnections between domestic violence and child abuse.
  • Explorations of gender and sexuality in social care.
  • Thanatology (death studies) in social work.
  • Religion and belief.
  • Environmental justice and green social work.
  • International social work.
  • Political and financial social work.

You'll create an independent research project that makes an original contribution to knowledge, enshrined in the form of a written thesis.

At the start of your programme, you'll complete a Learning Needs Assessment to determine what further training would be beneficial to your studies and ongoing career development, which will be discussed and determined with your supervisor.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of the PhD:

  • You'll be competent as an independent researcher in their discipline(s) and capable of continuing to undertake research at an advanced level, contributing substantially to the development of new ideas, techniques or approaches.  As part of this, you should have gained:
    • An ability to evaluate critically the existing literature relevant to their thesis topic.
    • An ability to conceptualise, design and implement a project for the generation of significant new knowledge and/or understanding.
    • An ability to relate theory and concepts to evidence in a systematic way and to draw appropriate conclusions based on evidence.
  • You'll have an understanding of the place of your research in the context of your field of study.
  • You'll gain an awareness of research integrity and any relevant ethical and professional considerations.
  • You'll have effectively managed a project, from identifying research questions, planning interim milestones and timescale, and prioritising activities, through to timely completion.
  • You should also be able to demonstrate that you can:
    • Write clearly and in a style appropriate to the purpose and audience.
    • Construct coherent arguments and articulate and defend ideas clearly to a range of audiences, through a variety of techniques.
    • Manage their training needs, both in relation to their programme and their future career development.

Assessment is by thesis and viva voce.

Methods of enhancing quality and standards

The PhD programme has established a clear and transparent system for monitoring and evaluation, seeking feedback from students, supervisors and other stakeholders. The following methods are used to enhance quality and standards:

  • Standard College Annual Progress Monitoring Report.
  • A framework for effective supervision.
  • Evaluative meetings between students and staff.
  • Departmental Postgraduate Research Committee for monitoring student progress.
  • Progress monitoring mechanisms such as supervision records.
  • Departmental forum for receiving feedback from students.
  • Training and guidance are provided for supervisory teams.

Contact the department

If you have specific questions about the degree, contact Dr Panagiotis Pentaris.

Entry requirements

You should normally have (or expect to be awarded) a taught Masters in a relevant subject area. 

You might also be considered for some programmes if you aren’t a graduate or your degree is in an unrelated field, but have relevant experience and can show that you have the ability to work at postgraduate level.

International qualifications

We accept a wide range of international qualifications. Find out more about the qualifications we accept from around the world.

If English isn’t your first language, you will need an IELTS score (or equivalent English language qualification) of 6.5 with a 6.5 in writing and no element lower than 6.0 to study this programme. If you need assistance with your English language, we offer a range of courses that can help prepare you for postgraduate-level study.

Fees, funding & scholarships

Annual tuition fees

These are the fees for students starting their programme in the 2024/2025 academic year.

  • Home - full-time: £4786
  • Home - part-time: £2393
  • International - full-time: £17690

If your fees are not listed here, please check our postgraduate fees guidance or contact the Fees Office, who can also advise you about how to pay your fees.

It’s not currently possible for international students to study part-time under a student visa. If you think you might be eligible to study part-time while being on another visa type, please contact our Admissions Team for more information.

If you are looking to pay your fees please see our guide to making a payment.

Additional costs

In addition to your tuition fees, you'll be responsible for any additional costs associated with your course, such as buying stationery and paying for photocopying. You can find out more about what you need to budget for on our study costs page.

There may also be specific additional costs associated with your programme. This can include things like paying for field trips or specialist materials for your assignments.

Funding opportunities

Find out more about postgraduate fees and explore funding opportunities. If you're applying for funding, you may be subject to an application deadline.

How to apply

You apply directly to Goldsmiths using our online application system. 

Before submitting your application you'll need to have: 

  • Details of your education history, including the dates of all exams/assessments
  • The email address of your referee who we can request a reference from, or alternatively an electronic copy of your academic reference
  • Contact details of a second referee
  • personal statement – This can either be uploaded as a Word Document or PDF, or completed online
  • Contact potential supervisors from STaCS department and name a supervisor in the application who is willing to oversee your project

          Please see our guidance on writing a postgraduate statement

  • If available, an electronic copy of your educational transcript (this is particularly important if you have studied outside of the UK, but isn’t mandatory)
  • Details of your research proposal

You'll be able to save your progress at any point and return to your application by logging in using your username/email and password.

Before you apply for a research programme, we advise you to get in touch with the programme contact, listed above. It may also be possible to arrange an advisory meeting.

Before you start at Goldsmiths, the actual topic of your research has to be agreed with your proposed supervisor, who will be a member of staff active in your general field of research. The choice of topic may be influenced by the current research in the department or the requirements of an external funding body. 

If you wish to study on a part-time basis, you should also indicate how many hours a week you intend to devote to research, whether this will be at evenings or weekends, and for how many hours each day.

Research proposals

Along with your application and academic reference, you will also need to upload a research proposal at the point of application. 

Your research proposal should respond to each question set out in our STaCS departmental research proposal form.

When to apply 

We accept applications from October for students wanting to start the following September. 

We encourage you to complete your application as early as possible, even if you haven't finished your current programme of study. It's very common to be offered a place conditional on you achieving a particular qualification. 

If you're applying for external funding from one of the Research Councils, make sure you submit your application by the deadline they've specified. 

Selection process 

Admission to many programmes is by interview, unless you live outside the UK. Occasionally we'll make candidates an offer of a place on the basis of their application and qualifications alone.

Find out more about applying.


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