PhD Studentship: Demography and Inequality

University of Essex - Institute for Social and Economic Research

Growing family diversity, and its increasing polarization along class lines, is of increasing policy and scholarly concern (McLanahan, 2004; Putnam, 2014). Susan Harkness is interested in supervising students with an interest in studying the relationship between demographic change and poverty and inequality. A linked Understanding Society studentship is available from Autumn 2017.

You will undertake research, using longitudinal data from Understanding Society, to examine how inequality and poverty influence demographic outcomes. Areas of interest may include research on (i) the economic and cultural context of fertility and partnership decisions, or (ii) parenting behavior and child outcomes in lone parent, step- and couple families. Other topics under the theme of demography and inequality may also be considered.

You will develop your own substantive research questions and methodological approaches, appropriate to analyzing life course transitions. These may include sequence analysis linked to regression based techniques, or hazard rate modelling.


Susan Harkness will join the Institute for Social and Economic Research at the University of Essex as Professor of Social Policy and Associate Director of Policy for Understanding Society in September 2017. Susan would be happy to discuss studentships prior to this, please contact her at

Start Date:

October 2017


Full Home UK/EU fee waiver available over 3 years. A stipend of £14,553 per annum will be awarded.

Academic Entry Requirements:

Relevant Master’s degree in a relevant social science discipline, with the grade of Merit or Distinction, or overseas equivalent.

How to Apply:

Further instructions and link to application form are available at the following address:

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South East England