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Funded PhD Studentship: Engaging ‘non-traditional’ students for retention and success

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Funded PhD Studentship: Engaging ‘non-traditional’ students for retention and success

Started by M Koole June 7, 2012 - 10:02pm

Engaging ‘non-traditional’ students for retention and success
Funded PhD Studentship

Applications are invited for a PhD studentship which has been funded by the Higher Education Academy on ‘Engaging ‘non-traditional’ students for retention and success’.

The ways in which students engage in higher education is becoming an issue of increasing importance for researchers, higher education institutions and policy makers. This studentship will explore non-traditional students’ experience of engagement, over the course of an academic year, at three universities which are recognised as being successful in promoting student engagement. The studentship will explore the implications of the outcomes of the study for institutional policies on student engagement and widening participation.

The successful candidate will join the vibrant research community within the Department of Educational Research, which currently has over 100 PhD students. They will also be an associate member of here@lancaster (, the Higher Education Research and Evaluation Centre in the department.   The successful candidate will have access to the opportunities provided by the North West Doctoral Training Centre and will be supervised by Dr Paul Ashwin (


The 3-year studentship is funded by the Higher Education Academy. It covers Home/EU tuition fees (overseas applicants would need to cover the difference between Home/EU and Overseas fees) and a maintenance grant of £13,590 per annum (plus an additional £850 per annum to support research training needs).

Entry requirements:


  1. A good undergraduate degree in Education, Sociology or a relevant subject in the social sciences;
  2.  Experience of using qualitative and quantitative research methods;
  3. Excellent oral and written communication skills.


  • Knowledge of issues related to student engagement in higher education;
  • Successful completion of a Master’s degree in a relevant subject.

For more information about being a research student in the Department see


Informal enquires can be made to Dr Paul Ashwin (<>)

To apply, please complete an application online at

In the ‘Source of Funding’ box in the online portal please indicate that you are applying for the HEA Studentship. Please note that if English is not your first language you will be required to submit evidence of English (IELTS – 6.5 for direct entry or TOEFL IBT 93 for direct entry). Please see:

In addition, please send Alison Sedgwick by email (<>) or post (Research Students’ Adminstrator, Department of Educational Research, County South, Lancaster University, Lancaster, LA1 4YD, UK  Tel: +44(0)1524 592685):

  1. A covering letter highlighting: (i) Why you are interested in this particular research topic; (ii) Why you are interested in doing a PhD; (iii) The skills and aptitudes you feel you would bring to the project.

  2. A copy of your current CV (no longer than 2 pages of A4 text) including the names of two referees who can comment on your academic work.

  3. A research proposal of up to 1000 words that outlines how you will address the project’s research questions:

    • How do ‘non-traditional’ students experience student engagement at highly engaged / engaging Higher Education Institutions?

    • How does this influence their intentions to persist?

  4. What are the implications of the answers to the above for institutional policies aimed at aligning their student engagement and widening participation missions? For guidance on writing your proposal see:

  5. The abstract from any research dissertation you have completed


Closing date: Monday, 2nd July 2012

Interviews: w/c 16th July 2012

Start date: 1st October 2012