Accessibility statement

PhD Studentship in Ageing with Long-Term Chronic Disabling Conditions (PHDKASN1)

The Department of Health Sciences and the Department of Sociology, University of York, are inviting applications for a funded PhD studentship, available on a full-time basis to start in January 2020The successful candidate will be jointly supervised by Professor Karl Atkin (Department of Health Sciences) and Professor Sarah Nettleton (Department of Sociology).  

Project details

The purpose of this studentship is to explore the sociological consequences of ageing with long-standing chronic disabling conditions, developed at birth or early in life. Increases in life expectancy mean many people who experience such conditions are now reaching later life. Sociological research on their experience is not extensive.

Drawing on key theoretical concepts associated with disability and ageing, in addition to the sociology of health and illness, the PhD thesis will help develop, refine and interpret ways of understanding the experience of adults, who have lived with chronic disabling conditions over a long period of time. Issues likely to be addressed include how people give meaning to their experience and locate it within an ageing trajectory, alongside the social negotiation of living with a long-term condition, which may include exploring family relationships, employment, education, physical environments and disadvantage. We anticipate the thesis to be qualitative, although we are open to proposals adopting mixed-method approaches.

The successful candidate may choose to focus on either one particular condition and/or disability or a range of conditions/disabilities, from which to generate an understanding of how people negotiate long-term disabling conditions across the life course.

The studentship would suit candidates who have studied social science at an undergraduate and/or postgraduate level and have an understanding and commitment to theoretically informed sociological approaches. This studentship provides a unique opportunity to help shape a major international research programme conducting high profile research, which furthers our understanding of ageing with a long-term condition.


This studentship is open to all applicants on a full time-basis (3 years) and provides a tax-free stipend per annum in line with RCUK standard rates (currently £15,009 for 2019/20) and tuition fees at the UK/EU rate.    

Essential and desirable requirements

Applicants need to hold, or expect to gain, at least an upper second class honours (2:1) degree or equivalent in sociologyor related social science. Students whose first language is not English must have a minimum IELTS score of 6.5 in each component and an overall score of at least 7.

Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact Professors Atkin or Nettleton before applying ( /

A Masters in a relevant subject (see above) with a core element of research methodology is highly desirable. Applicants should also be theoretical minded with a strong potential for creative critical thinking and have well-developed time management skills.

Process for Application

Applications should be received no later than Monday 7th October 2019 before 16:00h UTC. Applications will not be considered for the studentship after this date.

Applications can be made using either: The Department of Health Sciences on-line application process

The Department of Sociology on-line application process

Please read ‘How to apply’ tab before submitting your application. To apply you will need to provide a current CV, a sample of your written work and a brief 500 word summary of your proposed doctorate.

When completing the electronic form, applicants will need to state that they are applying for the advertised scholarship and include reference: [PHDKASN1] under the ‘How studies will be funded’ section.

Shortlisting: Shortlisting will take place as soon as possible after the closing date and successful applicants will be notified promptly.

Start date: January 2020.


Individuals with the strongest academic record, relevant experience, and research proposal will be shortlisted and invited to interview. Interviews will be conducted face-to-face or via Skype or similar communication tools, if required. The date for interviews will be Thursday 24th October.  

Informal enquiries

For informal enquiries please contact Professor Atkin or Professor Nettleton.

Department of Health Sciences

The Department of Health Sciences includes over 280 academics, teachers, researchers and support staff engaged in delivering research, professional development, education and training. Our core aim is excellence in research and teaching, while contributing to improving health and healthcare through the application of our research to policy and practice. We are a multidisciplinary department, involving clinicians from a range of health professions including medicine, nursing and midwifery alongside disciplines such as statistics, health economics, health services research, psychology, sociology and epidemiology. In the most recent assessment of research quality in the UK (the 2014 Research Excellence Framework), the Department was ranked equal first nationally for its research environment and all aspects of our research environment was judged to producing research of world-leading quality in terms of vitality and sustainability.

Our research activity is organised around six core themes: mental health and addiction; trials and statistics; public health and society; cancer epidemiology; cardiovascular health; and health services and policy.

The successful candidate will join a vibrant community of over 200 postgraduate students in our Graduate School, including over 40 PhD students. Our PhD students are embedded in one of our research groups and have the flexibility to tailor their studies to pursue their own research interests, and a bespoke training programme is designed in conjunction with the supervisory team to support the development of essential subject-specific and transferable skills for their future careers.

Department of Sociology

The Department of Sociology ( was the top-rated UK Sociology department for research in both REF 2014 and RAE 2008, and is driven by excellence in both research and teaching. We produce world-leading, transformative research that makes a difference both within and beyond the academy, and we organise our research into four clusters: Gender, Sexuality and Inequalities; Language and Social Interaction; Culture, Values and Practices; and Science, Health and Technology. We deliver outstanding teaching and learning to our students at all study levels in order to develop their sociological expertise and to equip them for employment. Our graduates take the skills, experiences and unique insights of York Sociology to forge successful careers all over the world.  

The University

The University of York is one of the foremost Universities in the UK and a member of the Russell Group of leading UK Universities. It has an outstanding record of research, teaching, and training across a full range of disciplines. In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, The University ranked 10th on the impact of our research and 14th overall. The University has a particular strength in health-related research.

The main campus is a 200-acre landscaped park, with colleges and academic buildings within walking distance of each other. Proximity to the historic city of York makes the University a popular choice and provides a pleasant working environment. Transport connections to York are fast and effective.

University of York Graduate Research School