Job offer in london PhD Studentship on Selection into Medicine: Widening Participation and Medical School Choice – University College London

Duration of Studentship: 3 years from January 2018.

Stipend: £16,785 per annum.

Vacancy Information:

Applications are invited for a fully-funded full-time three year PhD studentship starting in January 2018 at UCL Medical School, ranked 9th in the world in 2016.

The studentship is part of a prestigious National Institute for Health Research funded fellowship. The project is designed to have a significant positive impact on patient care by improving how medical schools attract and select future doctors from diverse backgrounds, and by providing the foundation for research on how selection shapes the medical workforce.

The studentship aims specifically to examine how university applicants choose which UK medical schools to apply to, and why the choices of applicants from widening participation/non-traditional backgrounds might differ from the choices of applicants from non-widening participation/traditional backgrounds.

At a minimum, the project must address the following research questions (although there may also be scope for the successful student to investigate others): ‘Which factors influence applicant choice of medical school?’ and ‘Do factors influencing choice vary by applicant background?’

The methodological approach is qualitative and quantitative, and will include the following activities (although there may be scope for the successful student to undertake others):

  • Collection and analysis of qualitative interview data from medical applicants and first year medical students across the UK in 2018;
  • Development, piloting, and administration of a questionnaire to UK medical applicants in 2019;
  • A systematic review of the literature on applicant choice in higher education.

This post will be funded for 3 years from January 2018 in the first instance.

Studentship Description:

The studentship includes tuition fees at the UK/EU rate, a tax-free annual stipend of £16,785, and up to £1,000 per year for expenses (e.g. laptop, conference fees). The student will benefit from the varied training and development opportunities offered by UCL Medical School and The UCL Doctoral School, and will be expected to take part in the UCL Doctoral School Development Programme.

The primary PhD supervisor will be Dr Katherine Woolf who is the overall project lead. The student will be a key member of the project team, as well as being part of the excellent and inclusive interdisciplinary research team at UCL Medical School’s Research Department of Medical Education. RDME’s priority is to ensure policy and practice in educational and healthcare is evidence-based. For example, read how our research has improved transparency, fairness, and standards in medical examinations and is influencing change to improve outcomes for minority ethnic and overseas-trained doctors.

Person Specification:

  • Essential: Good honours degree (first class or 2.1 degree minimum) in Psychology, Education, Sociology, Anthropology, Geography, or similar relevant social science.
  • Desirable: Master’s degree in a relevant social science.
  • Essential: A high degree of motivation and intellectual curiosity, and excellent organisational skills.
  • Essential: Excellent verbal and written communication skills in English.
  • Essential: The ability to work alone and as part of a team.
  • Desirable: Since data need to be collected early on in the project, some experience of qualitative data collection and analysis is highly desirable, although not essential.
  • Essential: The ability to do some travelling (staying overnight for one or two nights at a time) within the UK during the first year is essential for data collection.
  • The successful candidate must have achieved a level of research training which would allow them to progress to a PhD and be able to fulfil the requirements for UK residency such that fees are paid at UK/EU rate.

We welcome applications from individuals with a clinical background who meet the essential criteria, but this studentship forms part of a larger full-time three year project and therefore cannot be undertaken part-time alongside clinical training or practice, and no clinical salary is available.


The successful applicant will be expected to have DBS check carried out before they start in post.

If you are interested in applying, please email Marcia Rigby ( with your CV (including the names of two referees) and covering letter (1,000 words maximum) outlining your research interests, what you hope to achieve from the PhD, and your research experience to date. Please include your contact details (telephone and email).

If you have any questions or would like any further information, please email Katherine Woolf ( in the first instance.

Contact name: Dr Kathrine Woolf

Contact details:

Closing Date: 20 Nov 2017

Latest time for the submission of applications: 23:59

Studentship Start Date: January 2018

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