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Accepting PhD Students

Personal profile

Teaching Interests

MA in Social Work


Year 1: Human Growth and Behaviour, Supporting parents of looked after and adopted children


Year 2: Social work with children and families: adoption.


BA in Social Work


Year Two: Human Growth and Behaviour, Supporting parents of looked after and adopted children


Year 3: Social Work with Children and Families: adoption.


Continuing Professional Development courses-Child Placement module.


Post-graduate supervision


Beth Neil is experienced at supervising students at research Masters and doctoral level. Topics her PhD students have explored include:


· adoptive parent recruitment (Emma Ward)


· Foster carers’ experiences of fostering babies (Michelle Pyman)


· experiences of birth fathers in adoption (John Clifton)


· adopted adults experiences of sibling relationships (Heather Ottaway)


· looked after children's use of social networking (Andrew Sach)


-          Family reunification form residential care in Moldova (Irina Sirbu)


-          Grandparents as special guardians (Paul McGrath)


-          Identity and male victim sof internal partner violence. (Cassian Rawcliffe)


Beth welcomes both national and international students interested in researching family placement issues, or the broader field of child and family welfare, particularly students interested in taking a psychological approach to these issues.


Beth Neil is a Professor of Social Work, Director of Research and Chair of the Research Ethics Committee for the School of Social Work. Before joining the Department as a Ph.D. student in 1996 (progressing to lecturer in 1999 and senior lecturer in 2007) she worked for several years in social care in social work. She teaches on qualifying and post-qualifying social work programmes and supervises Ph.D. students. Her research interests are in the field of adoption including post-adoption contact, birth relatives’ perspectives on adoption, post adoption support, and adoptive parent recruitment.


Key Research Interests

Beth Neil has directed a number of funded research projects in the field of adoption. These have included two major studies: the longitudinal “Contact after Adoption” study which has followed a group of adoptive birth families over 18 years from 1996 to 2013, and the “Researching Adoption Support” study which explored support services for birth relatives, and agency support for direct contact arrangements (2005-2010). She is currently directing an ESRC project "From care to adoption to parenting" exploring the experiences of adoptees who become parents, and adoptive parents who become grandparents. Key themes in her research have been around the management of psychological issues for adopted children and young people, birth relatives and adoptive parents. Her research has contributed to policy and practice affecting adopted children and their birth and adoptive families.

Current and recent research research projects:

Success factors in adopter recruitment: Insights from adoption agency social work managers and marketing offices (2013)

Contact after adoption (Three phases 1996-2000, 2002-2004, 2012-13)

Researching Adoption Support (2005-10)



Areas of Expertise

Adoption; adopted children's contact with birth relatives after adoption; post adoption support services.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or