Skip to main content

Department Funding Opportunities

PhD Studentship: Physical Activity, Moving Professionals, and Disability

Closing Date:  2nd May 2024

Funding amount:  The studentship is for 3 years providing a tax-free stipend of £19,237 per annum plus UK tuition fees

Funding for: UK students only

Mode of study: Full Time

A fully funded 3-year PhD studentship is available to start in October 2024 within the Department of Sport and Exercise Sciences at Durham University. The focus of the PhD is to conduct research on multidisciplinary/interprofessional physical activity promotion. It aims to advance knowledge and create guidance for social care and health professionals to effectively work together to promote physical activity to and with disabled people. The PhD will be part of the award winning project ‘Moving Social Work’. Working in partnership with Disability Rights UK, Moving Social Work is a co-produced programme of research that aims to embed physical activity advocacy with and for disabled people into the education, training, and routine practice of social work.

Our PhD students enjoy close supervision by internationally renowned staff that specialise in their research areas. The PhD studentship provides a significant number of other benefits and opportunities, including access to research methods training, participation in departmental seminar series and conferences, and opportunities to work with partners and major external organisations to make a difference regarding physical activity. The PhD is open to home applicants only.

The Department

The research within the Department of Sport and Exercise Sciences addresses inequalities, social justice, and health and wellbeing within and through sport, exercise and physical activity. We are an established World top 100 sport and exercise sciences department (QS World Rankings, 2023). We have been named Sports University of the Year by @thetimes and are proud to be ranked 2nd in the UK in the Complete University Guide 2023, and 10th (grade point average) in the 2021 UK Research Excellence Framework. As a global leader in the sport and exercise sciences, we pioneer and carry out research that shapes the field, moving it in new directions that make a difference.  

Essential criteria

Applicants should have:

  • A 2:1 Honours degree (or equivalent) in one of the following subject areas: Sport and Exercise Sciences, Social Work, Psychology, Sociology, Health Sciences, or Public Health
  • Evidence of conducting mixed method research in the context of physical activity and/or social work
  • The ability to work independently, as part of a wider team and with members of the public
  • Strong communication and excellent inter-personal skills
  • Enthusiasm, passion and interest in the topic area

How to Apply

Applications should be made via the Durham University applicant portal, quoting program code B6A101

Please state on your application under the section on Finance and Funding which scholarship you are applying for – please select ‘Other’ and state Physical Activity, Moving Professionals, and Disability Studentship'.

Selection will be based on application documents and interview.

Applicants should submit the following documents:

  • A research proposal, which is no longer than 1,500 words in length (excluding bibliography). This proposal should demonstrate how the PhD research is aligned with personal qualities and expertise that the applicant would bring to the project and how this may be informed by relevant theoretical and empirical literature, identify potential methodological approaches and challenges.
  • Current Curriculum Vitae/Resumé (no more than 2 pages).
  • Two letters of reference, at least one able to comment on academic expertise.
  • Transcripts of previous degrees.

Enquiries regarding the studentship should be made to Professor Brett Smith: 

Enquiries regarding the application process should be forwarded to 





University Funding Opportunities

The following scholarships are either funded by Durham University through partnerships with external organisations, or through generous donations from alumni and friends of Durham. The following opportunities are available to apply for when submitting an application to Sport and Exercise Sciences.

Scholar-Athlete Performance Scholarships

We have a great track record of supporting elite scholar-athletes to complete both our Masters by Research and PhD programmes.
Athletes racing

North East and Northern Ireland Doctoral Training Partnership

We are part of The North East and Northern Ireland Doctoral Training Partnership (NINEDTP).

Chinese Scholarships Council

The scholarships are open to applicants from China wishing to study for a PhD at Durham.
A mannequin with brain mapped on it



Further Scholarship Opportunities

Find out more about additional scholarship and funding opportunities available for postgraduate study.