Funded PhD Studentship Transitions from higher education into work:

Graduate Experiences within the UK Labour Market

Applications are invited for a PhD studentship on ‘Transitions from Higher Education into Work: Graduate Experiences within the UK Labour Market’. This is a collaborative project between the University of Surrey, the University of Kent and the National Union of Students (NUS), and has been funded by the ESRC’s South East Doctoral Training Centre and the NUS.

The doctoral project will investigate the ways in which specific practices within higher education institutions affect the decisions young adults take about their future work, and the extent to which they feel prepared for the experiences they encounter in work (or when looking for work) during the year after graduation. By employing a longitudinal design, it will explore any changes in perceptions over a twelve month period, and chart in considerable detail the ways in which graduates from institutions with different market positions engage with the labour market.

The successful candidate will be part of vibrant research communities within the Department of Sociology at Surrey and the School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research at Kent, and have access to the training and other opportunities offered by both institutions and the South East Doctoral Training Centre. S/he will be supervised by Professor Rachel Brooks (University of Surrey), Dr Steve Roberts (University of Kent) and Graeme Wise (Assistant Director, NUS).


The 3-year studentship is funded by the ESRC’s South East Doctoral Training Centre and the NUS. It covers Home/EU tuition fees and a maintenance grant of £13,726 per annum (plus an additional £750 per annum to support fieldwork expenses and research training needs).

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Entry requirements:


  • Masters level degree in Sociology, Education, Social Policy or a related subject
  • Experience of using qualitative research methods (particularly interviewing)
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills


  • Knowledge of issues related to higher education and/or graduate employment


Informal enquires can be made to Professor Rachel Brooks (

To apply, please send:

1. A covering letter highlighting: (i) Why you are interested in this particular research topic; (ii) Why you are interested in doing a PhD; (iii) Which specific skills and aptitudes you feel you would bring to the project.

2. A copy of your current CV including the names of two referees

3. A sample of your academic writing (e.g. from a master’s dissertation or essay)

to Rachel Brooks by email to or by post to:

Professor Rachel Brooks, Department of Sociology, University of Surrey, Guildford GU2 7XH, United Kingdom. 

Closing date: Noon, Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Interviews: Monday 22 July 2013

Start date: 1 October 2013

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