a woman exercising

Building strength in the menopause

Eligibility: UK/International (including EU) graduates with the required entry requirements

Funding details: Bursary plus tuition fees (UK/International (including EU) at international rates from Sept 23)

Duration: Full-Time – between three and three and a half years fixed term

Application deadline: 25 October 2023

Interview dates: Will be confirmed to shortlisted candidates

Start date: January 2024

To find out more about the project, please contact Dr Maxine Whelan maxine.whelan@coventry.ac.uk


This PhD project is part of the Cotutelle arrangement between Coventry University, UK and Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia.

The PhD Student is anticipated to spend at least 6 months of the total period of the program at Deakin University, with the remainder of the program based at Coventry University.

The supervision team will be drawn from the two Universities.

Project details

There is not seen to be a one size fits all approach to managing midlife changes in women, but rather a tool kit of synergistic strategies is needed. Women should understand the powerful impact of health-related behavioural approaches to help menopause-related symptoms, as well as long-term disease risk reduction. Doing so will give women a better chance in preventing type 2 diabetes and other health concerns, such as cardiovascular disease. An integrated ‘sitting less and moving more’ message is a key component for midlife women. People spending >4 hours sitting and <5 minutes doing physical activity each day are at greatest risk of all-cause and cardiovascular disease mortality. Intervening using a staircase approach encourages manageable increases in physical activity and interruptions to sitting. The staircase approach could be a beneficial strategy and with an even greater emphasis on building muscle strength. Slowly building strength-related activity into daily routine would help increase functional capability today and for later years, and also see physiological improvements in glycaemic health. This PhD will explore the ‘sitting less and moving more’ strategy with an emphasis on the incorporation of strength development for midlife women at risk of type 2 diabetes.


Tuition fees and stipend (£18,622 per annum).


The successful candidate will receive comprehensive research training including technical, personal and professional skills. 

All researchers at Coventry University (from PhD to Professor) are part of the Doctoral College and Centre for Research Capability and Development, which provides support with high-quality training and career development activities.

Candidate specification

Applicants must meet the admission and scholarship criteria for both Coventry University and Deakin University for entry to the cotutelle programme.

  • Applicants should have graduated within the top 15% of their undergraduate cohort. This might include a high 2:1 in a relevant discipline/subject area with a minimum 70% mark (80% for Australian graduates) in the project element or equivalent with a minimum 70% overall module average (80% for Australian graduates). 

  • A Bachelor's degree in a relevant field requiring at least four years of full-time study, and which normally includes a research component which is equivalent to at least 25% of a year’s full time study in the fourth year, with achievement of a grade for the project equivalent to a H1 standard or 80%.


a Masters degree, with a significant research component, in a relevant subject area, with overall mark at minimum Distinction level. In addition, the mark for the Masters thesis (or equivalent) must be a minimum of 80%. 

Please note that where a candidate has 70-79% and can provide evidence of research experience to meet equivalency to the minimum first-class honours equivalent (80%+) additional evidence can be submitted and may include independently peer-reviewed publications, research-related awards or prizes and/or professional reports. 

  • Language proficiency (IELTS overall minimum score of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in each component).  

The potential to engage in innovative research and to complete the PhD within a prescribed period of study.  

For an overview of each University’s entry requirements please visit:



Please note that it is essential that applicants confirm that they are able to physically locate to both Coventry University (UK) and Deakin University (Australia).

Additional requirements
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills.
  • Ability to work independently and also as part of a multidisciplinary team.
  • Interest in menopause and diabetes prevention


How to apply

To find out more about the project please contact Dr Maxine Whelan maxine.whelan@coventry.ac.uk in the first instance.

All applications require a covering letter and a 2000-word supporting statement is required showing how the applicant’s expertise and interests are relevant to the project.  

All candidates must apply to both Universities. 

For the Deakin application, please visit: http://www.deakin.edu.au/research/become-a-research-student/how-to-apply-research-degrees

Apply to Coventry University
 Queen’s Award for Enterprise Logo
University of the year shortlisted
QS Five Star Rating 2023