Self-funded PhD students only

Project code



Physical and Human Geography

Start dates

October and February

Closing date

Applications accepted all year round

Applications are invited for a self-funded, 3 year full-time PhD project, to commence in October 2020 or February 2021.

The PhD will be based in the School of the Environment, Geography and Geosciences and will be supervised by Dr Carol Ekinsmyth

This project will involve an investigation of the ways in which individuals and/or families earn a living in the contexts of their industries, their locations or their family lives. This could involve ethnographic study of ways of working within an industry (see for example, Ekinsmyth’s earlier work on the magazine publishing industry), the analysis of opportunities for work in a place or labour market, the analysis of changing ways of working through technologies (for example the Internet and social media) or the analysis of work-life balance necessities where caring work needs to be fore-grounded in work-life decisions (see for example Ekinsmyth’s work on mothers who start businesses).

This work could be undertaken within the more specific field of the geographies of entrepreneurship and/or self-employment. This would include the spaces and places where self-employment ‘is done’, and the role of homes, neighbourhoods, policy, family, intersectionality and/or industry sector.

A further focus could be home-based business in neighbourhoods. Here, the predominance, networks, mechanisms and invisibilities of home-based business might be of interest. This could involve a detailed ethnographic study and mapping (a GIS) of the prevalence of home-based business activities in an area. A related interest in the gendered geographies of working and caring could also be the focus of the project. Here, the management of the boundaries between work and family, and the roles of social class, ethnicity, place, neighbourhood or industry sector could be investigated. 

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).

2020/2021 entry (for October 2020 and February 2021 entries)

Home/EU/CI full-time students: £4,407 p/a

Home/EU/CI part-time students: £2,204 p/a

International full-time students: £16,400 p/a

International part-time students: £8,200 p/a

PhD by Publication

External candidates £4,407 p/a

Members of staff £1,680 p/a*

2021/2022 entry (for October 2021 and February 2022 entries)

PhD and MPhil

Home/EU/CI full-time students: £4,407 p/a*

Home/EU/CI part-time students: £2,204 p/a* 

International full-time students: £17,600 p/a

International part-time students: £8,800 p/a

All fees are subject to annual increase.

PhD by Publication

External Candidates £4,407 p/a*

Members of Staff £1,720 p/a*

If you are an EU student starting a programme in 2021/22 please visit this page.

*This is the 2020/21 UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) maximum studentship fee; this fee will increase to the 2021/22 UKRI maximum studentship fee when UKRI announces this rate in Spring 2021. 

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

You'll need a good first degree from an internationally recognised university (minimum upper second class or equivalent, depending on your chosen course) or a Master’s degree in a related area. In exceptional cases, we may consider equivalent professional experience and/or Qualifications. English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.

How to apply

We’d encourage you to contact Dr Carol Ekinsmyth ( to discuss your interest before you apply, quoting the project code.

When you are ready to apply, you can use our online application form and select ‘Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences’ as the subject area. 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.

When applying please quote project code: GEOG1301015.

October start

Apply now

February start

Apply now