The School of Social Sciences at the University of Westminster is pleased to offer up to three Studentships for prospective PhD researchers starting in September 2023. The School is home to the Centre for Psychological Sciences, Centre for the Study of Democracy and the Centre for Social Justice Research. Research in the School across these fields has an international reputation for excellence, as confirmed by the 2021 Research Excellence Framework (REF), resulting in substantially increased funding from Research England for our School.
Building on these successes, we are offering up to three “impact studentships” to ensure our research continues to be impactful for the next REF exercise in the late 2020s. Located in the heart of London, the School of Social Sciences has an active research culture to which our well-established doctoral research programme makes a vital contribution. The School is fully committed to enabling a supportive and safe learning and working environment which is equitable, diverse and inclusive, based on mutual respect and trust, and in which harassment and discrimination are neither tolerated nor acceptable.
The successful candidates will have exceptional research potential in one or more Social Science disciplines: Criminology, International Relations, Politics, Psychology or Sociology. We encourage multi-disciplinarity.
We are looking for high-quality prospective doctoral students who will select one research project only from the list below.
We highly recommend that you discuss your proposal with potential supervisors before submitting your proposal.
Centre for Psychological Sciences impact projects
- Facilitating empathy and understanding of “the other” through the sharing of autobiographical memories. This studentship provides an opportunity to address and reduce “othering” in real life ways, through the sharing of autobiographical memories cued by music and belongings. The successful candidate will work with the investigators to develop and evaluate an innovative intervention, drawing on both the psychology of memory and the psychology of intergroup relations. Please contact Professor Catherine Loveday to discuss: C.Loveday@westminster.ac.uk
- The Ethics and Acceptability of Suicide Surveillance and Prevention Technology. The acceptability of - and ethical issues relating to - suicide surveillance and prevention technologies are poorly understood. The purpose of this studentship is to establish whether different groups (e.g., people from a range of ethnic and cultural backgrounds, as well as different age groups) consider surveillance for the purpose of suicide prevention as ethical and acceptable, with a view to influencing policy and practices in the area. Please contact Dr Jay Mackenzie to discuss: J.C.Mackenzie@westminster.ac.uk
- Improving access and health care experiences for patients with Long Covid. This studentship is about improving the real-world impact of two prestigious NIHR funded projects in the area of Long Covid: HI-COVE and STIMULATE-ICP. The successful candidate will work with the investigators, stakeholders and patient advisors to collect additional data; analyse new and already collected data; improve conceptualisation of the issues involved; increase awareness of the condition (through further co-creation of artwork/ podcasts/ videos); and improve healthcare practices when it comes to Long Covid. Please contact Professor Damien Ridge to discuss: email@example.com
Centre for the Study of Democracy projects:
- Challenging the Academia-Activism Divide: Supporting Tibetans as Co-Producers of Knowledge. What representational and institutional barriers exist in preventing Tibetans in exile from becoming co-producers, rather than passive recipients, of knowledge on contemporary Tibet and Tibetans? What advocacy opportunities can be explored by the Tibetan diaspora in the face of both Chinese colonisation of their homeland and the precarity of exile? Please contact Professor Dibyesh Anand to discuss: D.Anand@westminster.ac.uk
- Global Challenges in Local Contexts: Specific Issue Area Policy-making at Sub-National levels (Jammu & Kashmir or Kerala in India) or in Small States (Bhutan). This studentship will focus on global challenges in local contexts, seeking to understand what drives policy in smaller South Asian polities. The successful candidate will work with the director of studies to develop a fine-grained account of the dynamics of policy-making in a specific issue area in any one of the following contexts: small state (Bhutan) or at sub-national level in India (Jammu & Kashmir or Kerala in India). Please contact Dr Nitasha Kaul to discuss: N.Kaul@westminster.ac.uk
- Investigating UK National Security in the Context of Counterterrorism: Mapping Covert Practices; Challenging Impunity; Building Accountability. This studentship will focus on investigating the hidden practices of UK national security in the context of counterterrorism, the systematic abuses which often result, and the structures which enable state impunity to be sustained. Supported by a team with an outstanding record in impact-related research in the field, the successful candidate will work closely with our civil society stakeholders in order to help bring a step-change in the transparency of, and accountability for, UK national security practices. Please contact Dr Sam Raphael to discuss: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Participatory climate governance: challenges and opportunities in the face of a global crisis. This Studentship will focus on understanding the variety of forms of participatory climate governance, conditions for impacts and future developments in this field. The successful candidate will work as part of a team engaging directly with policy actors and activists to build their capacity to advocate and deliver new forms of participatory engagement in the face of the climate crisis. Please contact Professor Graham Smith to discuss: G.Smith@westminster.ac.uk
Centre for Social Justice Research projects:
- A comparative study and evaluation of participatory prison higher education programmes in the UK and Western Europe. The research will compare several participatory prison education projects (prison to university pipeline projects), in the UK and Western Europe, and evaluate the effectiveness of these projects, by mapping existing experiences, and highlighting convergences and divergences in approaches taken. Resulting improvements will likely have benefits for the prisoners and university students that engage in the courses, the prison and wider society. Please contact Dr Andreas Aresti to discuss: email@example.com
- The search for an ‘authentic’ Alevism: Reconstructions of Alevi Kurds’ ethno-religious identity in the UK. This studentship will investigate the reconstruction of Alevism as a distinct religion in the UK. It will explore the tensions and divisions between different stakeholders within and beyond the UK community. The outcomes will expand existing research tackling the negative identity of marginalised ethno-religious communities, with inclusive strategies to raise visibility and integration pathways of transnational migrants in the UK. Please contact Dr Umit Cetin to discuss: U.Cetin1@westminster.ac.uk
Please click here for further information on each project listed above.
The studentships will include a comprehensive personal and professional development training, and a mentoring programme, provided through the University of Westminster Graduate School. The researchers will join a School that is strongly committed to decolonising and diversifying policies, practices and cultures within, and beyond, Higher Education.
Candidates should normally have a minimum classification of 2.1 in their Bachelor Degree or equivalent and preferably a Masters degree. Applicants whose secondary level education has not been conducted in the medium of English should also demonstrate evidence of appropriate English language proficiency normally defined as IELTS: 6.5 (overall score with not less than 6.0 in any of the individual elements).
You can read more about what should be in a PhD research proposal here:
You can read more about our entry requirements here:
For queries about any aspect of the application process, or informal enquiries about areas of research, please contact the relevant research centre:
Centre for Psychological Sciences: firstname.lastname@example.org
Centre for the Study of Democracy: PoliticsIRPhDenquiries@westminster.ac.uk
Centre for Social Justice Research: SocCrimPhDenquiries@westminster.ac.uk
* Minimum full-time enrolment before submission is 33 months. Fee waivers and maintenance are in place for the three-year studentship. Following that there is a six month no fee period for writing up. Should a doctoral research student not have submitted by the end of the no fee period then a £1,500 fee is applicable.