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The impact of strength-and-conditioning exercise programmes on body image

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Monday, October 28, 2019
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About This PhD Project

Project Description

PhD Studentship (Fee waiver and Bursary)
School of Psychology and Sport Science
Cambridge Campus
Fixed term contract for 3 years, commencing 16th January 2020
Bursary of £16,000 per annum and a full fee-waiver for UK/EU tuition fees.
Closing date: Monday 28th October 2019
Interview date: Week beginning 11th November 2019

About Anglia Ruskin University:

Anglia Ruskin is a vibrant workplace and our University is gaining prominence both nationally and internationally. We have ambitious plans for the future and we are determined that our students and staff will realise their full potential. Our main campuses in the cities of Cambridge, Chelmsford and Peterborough have been transformed with major capital investment. With an annual turnover of over £200m, we are a major force for higher education and one of the largest universities in the East of England.

About the position:

Strength-and-conditioning exercise programmes, such as CrossFitTM, have become increasingly popular because of their combination of health- and skill-related fitness. Recent research by our team has shown that participating in a CrossFitTM programme of exercise has the potential to promote more positive body image in novice athletes (Swami, 2019, International Journal of Sport Psychology), but more work needs to be conducted to better understand the impact of such programmes on body image.

As part of this PhD studentship, you will have the opportunity to develop a multi-method programme of research examining the impact of CrossFitTM on body image. Specific objectives of this project are to: (1) utilise qualitative research methods to better understand the impact of CrossFitTM on body image in female and male athletes; (2) utilise quantitative research methods to study short-term, prospective, and longer-term impacts of CrossFitTM on multiple dimensions of body image; (3) develop a randomised controlled trial to examine the impact of CrossFitTM on body image in comparison to other sports modalities.

Applications from a wide range of disciplines are welcomed, including psychology, sports science, or other life sciences. Previous experience in, and knowledge of, qualitative and quantitative research methods is essential. An awareness of the CrossFitTM programme and experience of ethnographic research and/or intervention design is desirable. Candidates will have access to a wide range of cutting-edge facilities at Anglia Ruskin University.

The successful applicant will benefit from strong supervisory and peer support. This project sits within the Body and Self and Emotion and Well-Being Research Areas in the Division of Psychology. The supervisory team is led by Prof Viren Swami (Anglia Ruskin University and Perdana University), who offers expertise in body image. Other members of the supervisory team include Dr James Johnstone (Sport Science, Anglia Ruskin University), Dr Lewis Goodings (Psychology, Anglia Ruskin University), and Dr David Barron (Perdana University).

About the Studentship:

A three-year studentship is offered, intended to start in January 2020, providing a tax-free stipend of £16,000 per annum plus tuition fees at the UK/EU rate. Due to funding restrictions, this studentship is only available to UK/EU candidates.

This studentship is funded by Perdana University (Malaysia). Candidates for this PhD Studentship must demonstrate outstanding qualities and be motivated to complete a PhD within 3 years.


Applicants should have, or expect to achieve, a first Honours degree (or equivalent; a 2:1 degree qualification would be the minimum) in a relevant discipline and a relevant Masters degree at the time they begin the studentship. The ideal candidate will have experience in body image and/or sports science research, and will be adept at quantitative research design and methods, as well as qualitative research methods. An IELTS (Academic) score of 6.5 minimum (or equivalent) is essential for candidates for whom English is not their first language.

In addition to satisfying basic entry criteria, the University will look closely at the qualities, skills and background of each candidate and what they can bring to their chosen research project in order to ensure successful and timely completion.

How to apply:

To apply, please complete the application form available from the following website:

Please ensure the reference 'Division of Psychology Studentship: The impact of strength-and-conditioning exercise programmes on body image’ is clearly stated on page 4 of the application form, under the title ‘Outline of your proposed research’. Within this section, applicants must include a 500-word outline of the proposed research in relation to the research title.
Your application must also include your CV and a covering letter addressing your suitability for the position and the project.

Interested applicants should direct initial queries about the project to the principle supervisor, Prof Viren Swami, Professor of Social Psychology, via email: . For enquiries regarding the process and eligibility please contact .

Interviews are scheduled to take place during the week beginning 11th November 2019.

We value diversity at Anglia Ruskin University and welcome applications from all sections of the community.

Closing Date – Monday 28th October 2019

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