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  1. Study at the OU
  2. Research degrees
  3. Research areas
  4. Health, Social Work and Social Care
  5. Death, dying and bereavement

Death, dying and bereavement

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An image illustrating studying death, dying and bereavement with The Open University

Death, dying and bereavement has been one of the Faculty of Health & Social Care’s major research and teaching themes for over twenty years. The work in this area ranges from dying through to death and bereavement in all age groups – before birth and at the end of a long life. End-of-life care is a key strand of research and teaching, and includes the underpinning philosophy, care planning and delivery; cultural diversity in death, dying and bereavement; and reproductive loss (abortion, miscarriage and stillbirth). Ethics at the end of life and the development of professional competencies are key aspects of this challenging area. Other research focuses on people whose job it is to deal with deceased people, such as hospital staff and undertakers.

Qualifications available:

PhD or MPhil


For detailed information on current fees visit Fees and funding.

Entry requirements:

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

Potential research projects

  • Reproductive loss (to include abortion, miscarriage, stillbirth and neonatal death)
  • End of life care across the lifecourse
  • Cultural diversity in death, dying and bereavement
  • Ethnographical work on death, dying and bereavement
  • Post mortem care

Current / recent research projects

  • Living with Advanced Cancer in China: A Study of Older People and Their Families' Experiences of End of Life Care

Further information

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

Dr Lindsay O’Dell, Director of Postgraduate Studies

For general enquiries please contact the Research Degrees Team via the link under ‘Your questions’ on the right of the page.