Project code



School of Education and Sociology

Start dates

October 2020

Closing date

23 January 2020

This project is now closed. The details below are for information purposes only. View our current projects here.

The studentship is funded by the ESRC South Coast Doctoral Training Partnership (SCDTP), a collaboration between the universities of Portsmouth, Southampton and Brighton.

The studentship is available to UK students only and covers tuition fees and an annual maintenance grant of £15,009 (2019/20 rate).

The supervisors are Dr Wendy Sims-Schouten (EDSOC), Dr Laura Hyman (EDSOC) and Professor Kim Bard (Psychology).

This PhD presents a unique opportunity to the successful candidate to be part of the SCDTP cohort as well as the University’s School of Education and Sociology.

The work will look at:

  • How can we better analyse, and thus understand and engage with concepts around ‘success’/’failure’, resilience, wellbeing and mental health of young care leavers?

Despite considerable quantifiable data about the circumstances of care leavers in the UK, there is less qualitative data about how these circumstances are experienced by them. Moreover, there is limited research that centralises their voices and perceptions in relation to mental health, wellbeing and resilience.

This PhD project aims to centralise the voice of young care leavers and draws on the principles of positive psychology (the scientific study of ‘the good life’) with the aim to gain insight into the concepts of success/failure, resilience, and mental health and wellbeing of young care leavers. 

Entry requirements

All candidates must be a UK resident and hold a good honours degree (2:1 and above) from a recognised higher education institution. Please note, students applying without a Master's qualification containing a substantial Social Sciences methods component may be required to complete such a Master's beforehand. The Master's will be fully funded by the SCDTP and will be run from the University of Southampton.

English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.

The successful candidate will have a background in one (or a combination) of the following areas/degrees: Childhood Studies; Sociology; Social Work; Psychology, has knowledge of mental health in childhood, positive psychology and an appreciation of mixed research methods.

The first thing you will need is a university supervisor to support your SCDTP application -- so you’ll need to contact the project supervisors before you submit an application. 

The project will require you to discuss possible methods and research design as well as detailing how your skills, background and research interests match the project. It is therefore very important that you discuss the project with the supervisor.  

Full instructions are given on the SCDTP application form and there are different word limits depending on whether you are applying for a 1+3 (ie Masters in Social Research Methods plus PhD) or +3 (PhD only).  

Please note: you will need to submit an online application to the University of Portsmouth plus an application for funding to the SCDTP. For more details, visit the SCDTP website

When applying to the University, please quote project code: EDSO5000120.