Study options at GCU

We offer a number of opportunities for undergraduate and postgraduate students to work with SPIRU in different capacities and gain experience of applied research and scholarship.


GCU is the University for the Common Good and our mission is to make a positive difference to the communities we serve. SPIRU embraces this mission and affords undergraduate students the opportunity to take part in GCU’s Common Good Award programme. GCU students have the opportunity to work on placement with SPIRU to gain credit for active and global citizenship, working with confidence, displaying responsible leadership and applying an entrepreneurial mind-set.

Students registered on GCU’s BA Social Science degree programme have many options to advance their understanding of poverty, inequality and related issues.  Learning about these issues is central to many modules at Levels 1 and 2 of the degree.  Furthermore, students can choose to join SPIRU on Work Placement at Level 3, can elect for the Poverty, Inequality and Policy module at Level 3, and can undertake supervised original research with SPIRU staff for their undergraduate dissertation at Level 4.‚Äč


We welcome enquiries from prospective MPhil, PhD and ProfD students in any of our core areas of expertise. Members of the Unit have substantial experience in successfully supervising PhDs and ProfDs and would be happy to discuss proposals and ideas.  We are able to work with full-time and part-time students and are equally interested in applied research (either PhD or ProfD) or academic research (MPhil or PhD). 

We also welcome enquiries from organisations who would be interested in sponsoring and part-funding collaborative studentships.

GCU is also a member or the Scottish Graduate School for Social Science - the largest provider of funding, training and support for social science doctoral students in the UK. Applicants interested in studying for a PhD in social policy and social work at SPIRU are eligible to apply to the Economic and Social Research Council for a full-funded studentship.