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PhD Studentship: How and Why Do people Choose to Modify their Body?

University of Hertfordshire

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Hatfield
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students, International Students
Funding amount: £14,777 (standard RCUK rate) in academic year 2018-9 (uprated annually) and fees.
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 10th October 2018
Closes: 4th November 2018

The Department of Psychology and Sport Sciences at the University of Hertfordshire invites applications for a Department-funded PhD studentship entitled, “How and why do people choose to modify their body?” to be supervised by Dr Paul Jenkinson.

The three-year studentship includes an annual tax-free stipend of £14,777 (standard RCUK rate) in academic year 2018-9 (uprated annually) and fees.

Successful candidates should have a degree in Psychology (or equivalent) that confers Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership of the British Psychological Society, although people with other good degrees in relevant subjects may also be considered. A relevant Master’s degree and research experience will be an advantage, although opportunities for further training will be available, for example through our Researcher Development Programme.

Successful candidates will be expected to do some teaching or project supervision, not to exceed an average of 6 hours per week, for which training will be provided.

For an application pack, please email our Postgraduate Research Tutor, Dr Nick Troop (, using the subject line “Psychology PhD Studentship application”.

For enquiries about the PhD project itself, please email Dr Paul Jenkinson (

The closing date for applications is Sunday 4th November 2018. It is expected that interviews will take place in the week beginning 11th November 2018 and that the studentship will start in January 2019.

The project:

How and why do people choose to modify their body?

Supervised by Dr Paul Jenkinson (UH), with co-supervision from Dr Katerina Fotopoulou (UCL)

The overall aims of the proposed PhD are to carry out a programme of research designed to: (1) understand the psychological factors that cause appearance concerns, and particularly the factors that influence decision-making regarding undergoing invasive and non-invasive cosmetic procedures, and (2) apply this knowledge to develop practical interventions that help people make better choices when consenting to cosmetic procedures.

A series of studies will be conducted. These may include (but are not limited to):

Stage 1: Exploring current information-giving and information-receiving practices regarding the costs and risks of cosmetic procedures, and more generally decision-making practices for invasive and non-invasive cosmetic surgery. A mixture of qualitative and quantitative research methods will be employed here.

Stage 2: Using the well-established tradition of computational experimental methods on decision-making to examine the psychological processes underlying appearance concerns and related decision-making processes.

Stage 3: Developing a novel information-giving and decision-making tool (Client Decision Aid; CDA), which can help patients make better choices when consenting to cosmetic interventions.

For further information, please contact Dr Paul Jenkinson,

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