Psychology PhD Studentship - supervisor M Hurst

Psychology Doctoral Research Scholarship - Exploring the role of socioeconomic status in body image and disordered eating (2020)

Doctoral Research Scholarship - 3.25 years stipend + UK/EU fees + research and training costs + Doctoral Tutor contract for teaching up to 165 hours per year for 3 years (paid in addition to the stipend)

Type of award

Postgraduate Research

PhD project

PhD studentship 'Exploring the role of socioeconomic status in body image and disordered eating - supervised by Dr Megan Hurst

Many public health issues follow a ‘social gradient’, with higher socioeconomic status (SES) predicting better health and wellbeing. However, evidence relating to this trend in the domain of body image and disordered eating is mixed; existing research provides evidence for both benefits and disadvantages to high SES in relation to body image. Most work in this area has been cross-sectional in nature and considered a relatively narrow conceptualisation of body image (e.g., weight dissatisfaction or weight misperception). This PhD will draw on contemporary social psychological work on socioeconomic status (e.g., Manstead, 2018; Stephens et al., 2014) and body image theory (e.g., objectification theory, Fredrickson & Roberts, 1997) to explore the relationship between socioeconomic status and body image.

In designing their research programme, candidates may wish to draw upon primary data collection and/or existing datasets, such as Understanding Society or the Millennium Cohort Study. Qualitative, quantitative, or mixed methods approaches would all be appropriate in this area.

Doctoral Tutor role: 
The successful candidate will also be offered a 3 year fixed term contract, as a Doctoral Tutor, to teach up to 165 hours per year (0.1FTE Grade 5.1 (currently £25,482 p.a. pro rata), covering contact time, preparation, and marking). Doctoral Tutors will begin teaching in the second term of their studies. They will be encouraged to study for a formal teaching accreditation (Associate of the Higher Education Academy), including enrolling on a ‘starting to teach’ module in the first term before they begin teaching. Candidates who demonstrate suitability for, and express interest in, the additional Doctoral Tutor role will be preferred. 



The successful applicant will be awarded a stipend for 3.25 years (tied to the UKRI studentship rates, currently £15,009 p.a.). UK/EU PhD fees and research/training costs are also covered. 

The successful applicant will also be offered a 3 year fixed term contract, as a Doctoral Tutor, to teach up to 165 hours per year (0.1FTE Grade 5.1 (currently £25,941 p.a. pro rata), covering contact time, preparation, and marking). 

International students may apply but must fund the difference between the Home/EU fees and International Fees (approximately £16,000 per year).


  • This award will only pay fees at the Home/EU rate.
  • Candidates must have, or expect to obtain, a First or a high Upper Second Class Honours undergraduate degree, or equivalent qualification, and/or a Master’s degree in Psychology or a related discipline.
  • The University of Sussex believes that the diversity of its staff and student community is fundamental to creative thinking, pedagogic innovation, intellectual challenge, and the interdisciplinary approach to research and learning. We celebrate and promote diversity, equality and inclusion amongst our staff and students. As such, we welcome applications from all, regardless of personal characteristics or background.

Number of scholarships available



20 January 2020 23:59 (GMT)

How to apply

  • Please read our Psychology PhD FAQS before you start your application.
  • Please submit your application online for 'PhD in Psychology' for entry in September 2020.
  • In the 'Supervisor suggested by applicant' section of your application, please put 'Dr Megan Hurst'.
  • In the 'Proposed source of funding' section of your application, please put 'Psychology Doctoral Research Scholarship'.

Candidates should provide: 

  • A research proposal that outlines your knowledge of the research area, hypotheses that could be addressed in your PhD, and an outline of potential methods. The research proposal should be approximately 1,000 to 1,500 words in length and not exceed 3 pages, including references. It should be set at a minimum of 10 font type with margins a minimum of 1cm.
  • Current degree transcript(s) with full details of performance on all completed courses. 
  • Two academic references.
  • An up-to-date CV.
  • A document summarising any teaching experience you have and illustrating your suitability for a Doctoral Tutor role. 
  • International students who are liable to pay overseas fees should also explain their plan to cover the difference between home and overseas fees.

Contact us

For queries with respect to the application process: 

To discuss the details of your research interests further, please contact Dr Megan Hurst



Deadline: Monday 20 January 2020 (23:59)

Interviews (in person or via Skype): week of 3 February 2020

Decisions: end of March 2020


At level(s):
PG (research)

Application deadline:
20 January 2020 23:59 (GMT)
the deadline has now expired


The award is available to people from these specific countries: