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PANAGIOTAKIU19WP: The impact of financial stress on the wellbeing of health professional university students: a comparison between students from Widening Participation (WP) and non-WP backgrounds

Project Description

Project description
Financial stress experienced by university students is a driving factor for poor wellbeing, lower academic performance and retention. This fully funded PhD scholarship will explore the relationship between experience of financial stress and wellbeing with a focus on health professional students from widening participation (WP) backgrounds. It aims to establish the link between these variables, and shape national policy and practice around student support. We seek applicants who are passionate about research, education, mental health and widening participation.

Research Methodology
The proposed study will use a mixed methods approach (questionnaires, interviews and focus groups). We seek candidates with an excellent understanding of the research process and skills in both quantitative and qualitative data handling.

Supervision and training
This is a supervisor-led PhD and the student will be mentored by two experienced academic researchers. The successful candidate will have the opportunity to attend excellent postgraduate training in a number of areas including research methodology, statistics and academic writing. They will be strongly encouraged to gain experience in conference presentations and writing for peer-reviewed journals, while working closely with the supervisory team and UEA’s widening participation group.

Candidate specification
We are looking for an enthusiastic and independent graduate student in social sciences (e.g., Psychology, Sociology, Education or Management Studies) with a minimum 2:1 undergraduate degree and a Masters with considerable research methods content. Experience in conducting quantitative and/or qualitative research, and an excellent standard of academic writing is desirable.

For more information on the supervisor for this project, please go here:

Type of programme:

Project start date:
October 2019

Mode of study:
Full time

Entry requirements:
Acceptable first degree - Social Sciences (e.g., Psychology, Sociology, Education or Management Studies), Masters with considerable research methods content or an MRes. The standard minimum entry requirement is 2:1.

Funding Notes

This studentship is being funded by UEA, as part of UEA’s commitment to the Office for Students to supporting Widening Participation. This studentship is funded for 3 years and comprises home/EU fees, an annual stipend of £14,777 and £1,000 per annum to support research training. Overseas applicants may apply but they are required to fund the difference between home/EU and overseas tuition fees (which for 2018-19 are detailed on the University’s fees pages at View Website . Please note tuition fees are subject to an annual increase).


Andrews, B., & Wilding, J. M. (2004). The relation of depression and anxiety to life‐stress and achievement in students. British Journal of Psychology, 95(4), 509-521.

Cooke, R., Barkham, M., Audin, K., Bradley, M., & Davy, J. (2004). Student debt and its relation to student mental health. Journal of Further and Higher Education, 28(1), 53-66.

Harris, P.J., Campbell Casey, S.A., Westbury, T. and Florida-James, G., (2016). Assessing the link between stress and retention and the existence of barriers to support service use within HE. Journal of Further and Higher Education, 40(6), pp.824-845.

Richardson, T., Elliott, P., Roberts, R. et al. (2017). A Longitudinal Study of Financial Difficulties and Mental Health in a National Sample of British Undergraduate Students. Community Mental Health Journal 53: 344.

World Health Organization (2014). Social determinants of mental health. World Health Organization.

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