Project code



School of the Environment Geography and Geosciences

Start dates

October, February and April

Closing date

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

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).

2022/2023 fees (applicable for October 2022, February and April 2023 start) 

PhD and MPhil

UK, Channel Islands and Isle of Man students 

  • Full-time: £4,596 (may be subject to annual increase)
  • Part-time and part-time distance learning: £2,298 (may be subject to annual increase)

EU students
(including Transition Scholarship)

  • Full-time: £4,596 (may be subject to annual increase)
  • Part-time and part-time distance learning: £2,298 (may be subject to annual increase)

International students

  • Full-time: £18,300 per year (may be subject to annual increase)
  • Part-time and part-time distance learning: £9,150 per year (may be subject to annual increase)

All fees are subject to annual increase. If you are an EU student starting a programme in 2022/23 please visit this page.

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

To make an enquiry about this project, get in touch with the PhD Supervisor for this programme, Dr Carol Ekinsmyth,, or Dr Donald Houston,, quoting the project code GEOG1241015 and title.

When you are ready to apply, you can use our online application form. 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.

You can also visit our How to Apply pages to get a better understanding of how the PhD application process works.

October start

Apply now

February start

Apply now