Posted on: 7 January, 2019
Application deadline: February 1, 2019

PhD – The Transition to Secondary School for Young People from Economically Disadvantaged Backgrounds, Heriot-Watt University, UK

About This PhD Project


Project Description

This project will explore influences upon the experiences of children around the time of the transition to secondary school. The central aim of this project is to identify the factors associated with better or worse transitions to secondary school for youths from backgrounds of poverty and/or socio-economic disadvantage. This is especially important as a less successful transition often leads to poorer educational outcomes for children, especially for those from backgrounds of poverty and/or socio-economic disadvantage. The project will use data from the Millennium Cohort Study (MCS), a birth cohort study following a large sample of children in the UK born in the year 2000. The experiences of young people will be explored in relation to: (1) individual influences such as family economic circumstances, pre-transition anxieties, post-transition peer social relationships, family relationships, engagement with secondary school, relationships with teachers, academic self-concept and individual wellbeing; and (2) wider influences, such as the different schooling contexts across Scotland and England/Wales/NI (rUK). The project’s results will change the field by addressing the knowledge gap in the processes and mechanisms of the impact of poverty and socioeconomic disadvantage, and of peer and family relationships, on secondary school transitions, within a single theoretical and analytical framework.

Primary supervision will be provided by Professor Megan Treanor, however, Informal enquiries should be directed to the second supervisor, Dr Glen Bramley.

Applicants should have a first-class honours degree in a relevant subject or a 2.1 honours degree plus Masters with merit/distinction (or equivalent). Scholarships will be awarded by competitive merit, taking into account the academic ability of the applicant.

Please complete our online application form. Please select PhD programme Urban Studies within the application and include the project reference, title and supervisor names on your application. Applicants who do not include these details on their application may not be considered.

Please also provide a written proposal, at 3-5 A4 pages, outlining how you would approach the research project. You will also be required to upload a CV, a copy of your degree certificate and relevant transcripts and one academic reference. You must also provide proof of your ability in the English language (if English is not your mother tongue or if you have not already studied for a degree that was taught in English). We require an IELTS certificate showing an overall score of at least 6.5 with no component scoring less than 6.0 or a TOEFL certificate with a minimum score of 90 points.

Applicants MUST be available to start the course of study in October 2019.

Funding Notes

Scholarships will cover tuition fees and provide an annual stipend of approximately £14,999 for the 36 month duration of the project.