Prof Alys Young PhD., FAcSS.,MSc Oxon., MA Cantab., CQSW

Prof of Social Work Education & Research

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I am Professor of Social Work Education and Research  within the School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work.

I am also the director of SORD - the Social Reseach with Deaf People programme

I am a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences (FAcSS)

I also currently hold the role of Distinguished Visiting Professor in the Centre for Deaf Studies, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa.

I am a Senior Fellow of the NIHR School for Social Care Research.



Following her BA Hons. in English Literature from King’s College, Cambridge (1986), Alys worked as a residential social work assistant. She qualified as a social worker in 1989 with a MSc in Applied Social Studies and a CQSW from Oxford University. She went on to work for Cambridgeshire Social Services as a community mental health social worker, ASW, generic social worker and specialist social worker with Deaf people. She gained her PhD in 1995 from the Centre for Deaf Studies, University of Bristol, on the impact on hearing familes of sign bilingual approaches to early intervention, carrying out her fieldwork in both BSL (British Sign Langauge) and English.

Author of over 150 academic publications, her main research interests are: (i) early intervention with deaf children and their families; (ii) improvements in the provision and effectiveness of health and social care services for deaf chidlren and adults across the life span; (iii)  social science research methodologies in the context of signed languages and d/Deaf people.

She currently leads the Social Reserach with Deaf People group (SORD) which comprises a multidisciplinary, bilingual group of Deaf and hearing researchers working on a range of applied social research projects connected with family, service and community contexts which involve Deaf people.

Formerly international visiting scholar at the National Technical Insititute for Deaf People, RIT, USA and visiting professor University of British Columbia, Canada, she is currently Distinguished Visiting Professor at the Centre for Deaf Studies, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa.

Alys is a Senior Fellow of the NIHR School for Social Care Research. In 2015 was conferred FAcSS (Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences) for her contributions to social work and social research with Deaf people(s)

In 2016 she won the Times Higher Education Award for Outstanding Research Supervisor of the Year





Social responsibility



Our research group SORD regularly provides community outreach activities to the local and national Deaf community to promote better understanding of our research and to increase community particiation in its goals and objectives.  Most of our research work is also summarised in BSL for a lay populaiton and made freely available via the SORD web site.  


  • PhD in Deaf Studies, 1995,  University of Bristol (Centre for Deaf Studies)
  • MSc in Applied Social Studies, 1989, University of Oxford
  • BA Hons. in English Literature, 1986, University of Cambridge (King's College)
  • CQSW, 1989, University of Oxford

Memberships of committees and professional bodies

  • SWE registered social worker
  • FAcSS
  • Senior Fellow of the NIHR School for Social Care Research

External positions

Visiting Professor, University of British Columbia


Distinguished Visiting Professor, University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg

2005 → …

Visiting International Scholar, National Technical Institute for the Deaf, RIT, New York State, USA.

Sep 2000Dec 2000

Areas of expertise


  • deaf, sign language, social work

Education / academic qualifications

  • 1995 - Doctor of Social Science, Family adjustment to a deaf child in a bilingual/bicultural framework, University of Bristol (1992 - 1995)
  • 1989 - Master of Social Science, Applied Social Studies, Oxford University (1987 - 1989)
  • 1986 - Bachelor of Arts University of Cambridge (1986 - 1989)

Related information


Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

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Media coverage and contribution

Press/Media: Research

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Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)

View all prizes (2)