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  Intersectionality, social inclusion and engagement in the geographies and planning of higher education learning spaces

   School of Energy, Geoscience, Infrastructure and Society

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  Dr Sacha Hasan  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

The pandemic has brought forward novel in the way people communicate, learn and interact with their environments. New forms of educational practices have emerged, allowing both physical and digital spaces of learning to coexist, merge and transform to overcome traditional geographic boundaries, changing our understanding of place. Yet, these advancements have often assumed a one-size fits all approach to the design of hybrid learning environments, without understanding how experiences of students’ engagement with learning spaces should consider the heterogeneity of the student community across age, disability, gender, ethnicity and socio-economic background. Thus, intersectional frameworks are increasingly recognised as crucial to understanding the ways in which multidimensional and overlapping positions/identities can impact the degree and outcome of student learning and engagement in higher education learning spaces. These frameworks may allow more nuanced understandings of learning and engagement compared to approaches that focus on only a single dimension of identity (e.g. ethnicity or gender).

This PhD will seek to explore how university and HE systems and processes may operate to increase, reproduce and maintain identity-based inequalities or disadvantage some groups of students over others in order to identify the barriers to HE within the context of planning and geography as a discipline. This further contributes to a multidisciplinary understanding of HE spaces and environments and their regeneration through the lenses of urban, social and health geographies. This PhD would expect to engage with a wide range of methods including more experiential, mobile and/or visual (existing and participant-generated) methods, as well as participatory engagement with the student community (an action research process to consider the lived experiences of HE students and co-produce outcomes for key actors), the third sector, service providers and/or government bodies in order to generate a rigorous evidence base which can be analysed to advise on more inclusive educational environments that address intersectional disadvantage in HE.


To be eligible, applicants should have a First-class undergraduate honours degree and/or Masters at Merit/Distinction level (>60%) and/or evidence of significant relevant professional experience equivalent to Masters level. Applicants with a geography/ planning/ architecture/ psychology/ sociology/ education/ urban and environmental studies related qualification and an interest in participatory and action research approaches are particularly encouraged. Applicants should further have a strong motivation to succeed in academic research, excellent presentation, and academic writing skills as well as very good to excellent English language skills (verbally and written). Scholarships will be awarded by competitive merit, taking into account the academic ability of the applicant. 

How to apply

To apply you must complete our online application form.

Please select PhD Urban Studies as the programme and include the full project title, reference number and supervisor name on your application form. You will also need to provide a CV, a supporting statement (1-5 A4 pages) outlining your suitability and how you would approach the project, a copy of your degree certificate and relevant transcripts and an 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 within the last 2 years). 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.

Please contact Dr. Sacha Hasan ([Email Address Removed]) for informal information.


The closing date for applications is 28th February 2023 and applicants must be available to start in September 2023.

Architecture, Building & Planning (3) Education (11) Geography (17)

Funding Notes

This is a full scholarship which will cover tuition fees and provide an annual stipend (currently £17,668) for 42 months. Thereafter, students will be expected to pay a continuing affiliation fee (currently £130) whilst they complete writing up their thesis.
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