Fully-funded PhD studentships for Higher Education Research

Fully-funded PhD studentships for Higher Education Research

Eligibility: UK/EU/international graduates with the required entry requirements. Candidates that meet requirements for both Coventry University and Aarhus University regulations.

Funding details: Bursary plus tuition fees

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

Application deadline: 15 November 2020

Interview dates: Via Skype, will be confirmed to shortlisted candidates

Start date: January 2021

Global Learning Education and Attainment logo.png


For an informal discussion and queries, contact Prof Lynn Clouder and/or Prof Sue Wright

Coventry University and Aarhus University are inviting applications from suitably qualified UK or EU graduates for PhD studentships fully-funded by Coventry University for research into higher education.

The successful candidates will enrol at Coventry University as their home institution and will undertake a collaborative doctoral research programme under the supervision of academic experts from both universities, spending a minimum of one year or up to two years at Aarhus University in Denmark.


The programme offers researchers the opportunity to advance their skills and expertise in the higher education field, whilst developing their intercultural and international skills, and creating international networks and collaborations.

Interested applicants are invited to submit research proposals addressing one of the research themes within either research centre.

Centre for Global Learning: Education and Attainment research themes:

Systematic and strategic approaches to addressing inequities in education

This theme focuses on researching the differential student outcomes in higher education. The nature of this theme means that students from disadvantaged groups will be more represented and supported. Applications are invited in the areas of exploring impact of policy, encouraging widening participation in education and making education inclusive (particularly for students in protected characteristic groups).

Intercultural engagement in education and global learning

Applications are invited in conducting research on the effects of strategies, initiatives and practices aiming to develop intercultural engagement, and a global outlook among higher education students and staff.

Centre for Higher Education Futures research themes:

The role and positioning of universities and higher education in the world

This area for research considers the positioning of Universities in a multifaceted ecology involving a wide range of stakeholders. Applications may, for example, focus on the Europeanisation, internationalisation or privatisation of higher education, or how Universities evolve as students' needs change or as the geopolitics between countries and world regions shifts.

Universities’ organisation and inner life

This research theme explores the internal workings of higher education. Applicants are invited to investigate issues such as changing relations between managers, administrators and academics, precarious employment and inequalities, or boundaries between work life, private life and extra-curricular professional networks. Topics also include how academics navigate multiple and diverse performance demands (e.g. research standards, quality indicators, performance management) versus academic freedom and autonomy.

Building alternative university futures

Research in this area considers the evolving concept, organisation and practice of higher education. Applications are welcomed on areas such as the impact of COVID19 on higher education, sustainability issues, the roles of universities in their communities and in fostering social equality and democracy, and other factors that shape and influence the future vision of higher education.

Potential candidates are encouraged to discuss their ideas for proposals that fall within one of the above themes with one of the centre directors. Please see contact details for further information.


Coventry University, UK and Aarhus University, Denmark jointly offer fully-funded PhD studentships to UK/EU fee payers as part of a collaborative Cotutelle programme of study. Each studentship will include:

  • full tuition fees (funded through both institutions)
  • stipends for up to 3.5 years (c.a. £15000/year) depending on satisfactory progress (funded through Coventry University)


Training and development

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.

Entry requirements

To apply for this cotutelle PhD programme, you must fulfill the admission requirements from Coventry and Aarhus University.

Entry requirements include:
  • A research proposal. Guidance on what to include is available in CU’s Research Proposal Guidelines and in AU Faculty of Arts’ PhD Project Description Guidelines;
  • A Personal Statement (please see the guidance);
  • Two academic (or one academic and one professional) references. If you need help identifying a suitable referee, please use our guide.
  • A first degree (180 ECTS) and a Master’s degree (120 ECTS)* in a relevant subject area with minimum overall marks at merit level (60%).
    Note - holders of 1-year Master's degrees are required to submit research publications and evidence of substantial research experience.
  • In addition, the mark for the Masters Dissertation (or equivalent) must be a minimum of 60%.
If you are an EU (non-UK) or overseas national, you are also required to provide:
  • A copy of your latest IELTS / SELT qualification certificate awarded in the two years immediately preceding your proposed course start date (an overall ‘Academic’ IELTS score of 7.0 or above with a minimum of 6.5 in each of the four components, or a UKVI accepted equivalent English language qualification).
  • Applicants who do not require a UK Tier 4 visa will be eligible to be HEI assessed on their English Language competence
  • Or TOEFL iBT minimum score of 95 (minimum 21 in each component)

How to apply

To find out more about the project, please contact Prof Lynn Clouder and/or Prof Sue Wright.

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