PhD Studentship (3 Years): Using a Theory of Change Approach to Evaluate Aston University’s Access and Participation Plan

Aston University

Deadline: 14th April 2023 [GMT 11.59pm]

Aston University is looking to appoint a PhD candidate, who will work with a team of experienced supervisors and sector-leaders in the field of widening participation, to review and evaluate the University’s Access and Participation Plan (APP), and develop an area of evaluation research as a PhD research project.

About the role

The successful candidate will work with Professor Helen Higson, Professor Liz Thomas and Dr Uche Ogwude to review the APP plan, make recommendations for the future, and to identify an area of evaluation research to focus on for the PhD thesis.  The candidate will be able to select the specific focus, informed by the first year of work, and personal interests etc, and with guidance from the supervisory team.  For example, the thesis may focus on a specific lifecycle stage or activity, or using evaluation to improve practice, promote equity, or inform organisational change.  This will however be an applied study, that will draw on evaluation theory, and other relevant theoretical frameworks (e.g. from education, sociology, psychology, organisational change, social policy); the learning from the research will be utilised within the University, and the candidate will be encouraged and supported to disseminate the findings more widely in the HE sector.

Person Specification

The successful applicant should hold the equivalent of a UK First or Upper Second Class Honours undergraduate degree from an approved university or higher education institution. They should also hold, or expect to achieve, a Masters degree with an overall weighted average of 65% in a relevant subject.

The successful candidate will demonstrate:

  • An interest in and commitment to student diversity and success in higher education and social justice.
  • Experience of designing, undertaking and managing a research project (e.g. a dissertation project).
  • Ability to critically review and evaluate literature.
  • Excellent written skills to communicate with different audiences.
  • Excellent communication and facilitation skills, including working with senior and experienced colleagues.
  • Ability to work independently and as part of teams.

Submitting an application

As part of the application, you will need to supply:

  • A copy of your current CV
  • Copies of your academic qualifications for your Bachelor degree, and Masters degree;
  • A research proposal statement*
  • A personal statement
  • Two academic references
  • Proof of your English Language proficiency

*The application must be accompanied by a “research proposal” statement. An original proposal is not required as the initial scope of the project has been defined, candidates should take this opportunity to detail how their knowledge and experience will benefit the project and should also be accompanied by a brief review of relevant research literature.


This studentship includes a fee bursary to cover the home fees rate, plus a maintenance allowance. The maintenance allowance for the academic year 2023/4 are yet to be confirmed, but for reference, in 2022/3 this was £17,668 per year. Overseas applicants may apply for this studentship but will need to pay the difference between the ‘Home’ and the ‘Overseas’ tuition fees. Currently the difference between ‘Home’ and the ‘Overseas’ tuition fees is £10,504 in 2022/3. As part of the application, you will be required to confirm that you have applied for, or secured, this additional funding.

View or Apply
To help us track our recruitment effort, please indicate in your cover/motivation letter where ( you saw this job posting.

Job Location