Psychology Doctoral Research Studentship - Children's social development (2022)

The studentship covers Home level PhD tuition fees (currently £4500), a stipend (currently £15,609 pa) plus some research and training costs.

What you get

  • A stipend for 3 years (tied to the UKRI studentship rates, currently £15,609 p.a.) to cover living costs
  • UK Home fees and research/training costs are also covered.
  • International students may apply for this Home/UK studentship but must fund the difference between UK Home fees and International fees (approximately £18,500 per year). One option is self-funding.
  • You will also be expected to take up Doctoral Tutoring during your 6 semesters (3 years) of funding. This work is paid at Grade 5.1 (currently £13.88 per hour), and covers contact time, preparation and marking. You will be expected to work approximately 165 hours per year, dependent on modules selected and availability.


Type of award

Postgraduate Research

PhD project

Outside of the family, children’s most important social influence are their peers, and poor peer relationships in childhood have been shown to have a long-term negative impact on later socio-emotional competence and academic performance. Elian Fink is interested in how and why some children come to make and maintain friendships and positive peer relationships, while others find negotiating peer relationships more difficult.

Elian Fink is open to supervising PhD projects in the following areas of children’s social development:

  1. The role of children’s socio-cognitive understanding (e.g., theory of mind, empathy and emotion understanding) for successful peer relationships, and how children use their socio-cognitive understanding in unfolding peer interactions.
  2. The role of play in supporting children’s social competencies and adaptive peer relationships.
  3. The link between school readiness and peer relationships at the transition to formal schooling.


Doctoral Tutor role: 

Doctoral Tutors will begin teaching in the second term of their studies. You 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. 



  • This award will only pay fees at the Home/UK rate. International students may apply but must fund the difference between the Home fees and International Fees (this fee difference is currently £18,500 per year). 
  • 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, Neuroscience 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



14 March 2022 23:59

How to apply

  • In the 'Supervisor suggested by applicant' section of your application, put 'Elian Fink'.
  • In the 'Proposed source of funding' section of your application, please put 'Psychology Doctoral Research Studentship. If you are an International student liable for oversears fees, please also indicate whether you wish to be considered for the Psychology Doctoral Research Studentship (International)

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 upload a document explaining how you will cover the difference between home and overseas fees if you are not awarded the Psychology Doctoral Research Studentship (International)

Contact us

For queries with respect to the application process:  

To discuss the details of your research interests further, please contact Elian Fink.



Deadline: Monday 14 March 2022 (23:59)

Interviews (in person or on Zoom): late March 2022

Decisions: early April 2022


At level(s):
PG (research)

Application deadline:
14 March 2022 23:59 (GMT)
the deadline has now expired


The award is available to people from these specific countries: