Project code



School of the Environment, Geography, and Geosciences

Start dates

October, February and April

Application deadline

Applications accepted all year round

The Portsmouth Creative Census 2016 suggests that more than 30% of creative businesses in Portsmouth are owned by University of Portsmouth graduates. On this PhD programme, you'll research the career trajectories of creative graduates, and understand the experiences of creative self employment/entrepreneurship in a mid-sized city.

The project is supervised by Dr Carol Ekinsmyth and Dr Donald Houston, and there is scope to take the project in the direction that best suits your skills and interests.

The work will involve:

  • using quantitative and qualitative research methods to build a picture of the career trajectories of creative graduates
  • building detailed portraits of graduate experiences of creative self-employment or entrepreneurship in a mid-sized city such as Portsmouth
  • improving your research experience and skills

Graduates are entering the economy at a time of disruption, when technologies such as The Cloud, social media and Big Data are changing who can do what work, and where. This includes the ability to take on self-employment, which has risen rapidly to around 15% of all employment in the UK (Taylor, 2015; D’Arcy and Gardiner, 2014)

The prediction is that self-employed or portfolio careers will become the norm, especially in creative sectors (Gill and Pratt, 2008). There's also speculation that the typical self-employed worker is female, middle-class, home-based, low-earning and economically marginal (Ekinsmyth 2013; Taylor, 2015; Luckman, 2015).

Your research will investigate the career and personal journeys for graduates that lead to self-employment, or the roles of gender, family and geographical mobility.

Fees and funding

Visit the research subject area page for fees and funding information for this project.

Funding availability: Self-funded PhD students only. 

PhD full-time and part-time courses are eligible for the UK Government Doctoral Loan (UK and EU students only).

Bench fees

Some PhD projects may include additional fees – known as bench fees – for equipment and other consumables, and these will be added to your standard tuition fee. Speak to the supervisory team during your interview about any additional fees you may have to pay. Please note, bench fees are not eligible for discounts and are non-refundable.

Entry Requirements

  • A good first degree from an internationally recognised university (depending on the course, minimum second class or equivalent) or a Master’s degree in an appropriate subject
  • Exceptionally, equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications will be considered
  • English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0
  • All applicants are subject to interview

You'll need a background in Geography or a cognate discipline such as Sociology, Social Psychology, Business, Organisation or Communication Studies. An interest in gender theory would be an advantage. Experience with social research methods is desirable, you'll get training.

How to apply

When you are ready to apply, please follow the 'Apply now' link on the Geography (Physical and Human) PhD subject area page and select the link for the relevant intake. Make sure you submit a personal statement, proof of your degrees and grades, details of two referees, proof of your English language proficiency and an up-to-date CV. Our ‘How to Apply’ page offers further guidance on the PhD application process.