Funded (UK/EU and international students)

Project code



Department of Psychology

Start dates

October 2023

Application deadline

23 January 2023

Applications are invited for a fully-funded three-year PhD studentship to commence in October 2023.

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

It covers University of Portsmouth tuition fees and an annual maintenance grant of £17,668 (2022/23 rate). The SCDTP is able to accept applications from UK and Overseas applicants to all of our accredited disciplines/pathways, however due to UKRI funding conditions, awards to non-UK residents are capped to a maximum of 30% of the total number of studentships awarded.  

The supervisors are Dr Beatriz López and Dr Jessica Massonnie

The work on this project will involve:

  • A systematic review of sensory processing in autistic children, comparing auditory processing with the processing of other sensory modalities. 

  • A mixed-methods approach on children’s reported tolerance to noise and systematic measurement of auditory thresholds, impact on learning across key domains relevant to autism (e.g., language, literacy) and mediating factors (e.g., stress, attention).

This project will document the auditory profile of primary school autistic children aged 6-10, focusing on 1) tolerance to classroom noise and 2) learning. It aims to:

1. Document auditory profiles, and their developmental trajectory

2. Investigate which aspects of the classroom environment are challenging for particular auditory profiles, and how they impact learning

3. Develop policy recommendations of how to tailor support for autistic children in primary school according to their auditory profiles.

The design and methods will be co-produced with the community (i.e., children, parents and teachers).

Entry requirements

You must have qualifications equivalent to a good honours degree (first- or upper second-class level) from a UK academic higher education institution in Education, Psychology or a related area. Degree qualifications gained from outside the UK, or a combination of qualifications and/or experience that is equivalent to a relevant UK degree, may be accepted.  Studentships are open to UK, EU and international students.

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

Curiosity and willingness to learn. 


How to apply

The first thing you will need is a university supervisor to support your SCDTP application – so you’ll need to contact the first supervisor Dr Beatriz López ( you submit an application. 

Please note: you’ll need to submit two applications, an online application to the University of Portsmouth and an application for funding to the SCDTP. For more details, visit the SCDTP website.

When applying to the University, please quote project code:SDTP7810123