AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Partnership (CDP) PhD: Listening to the Listeners: An Oral History of Talking Therapists

The University of Essex and the British Library invite applications for a collaborative doctoral studentship in the history of the talking therapies.  The studentship is fully funded for 45 months (3.75 years) full time or part-time equivalent under the AHRC’s Collaborative Doctoral Partnership Scheme. Candidates must be domiciled in the UK or EU. 

The successful applicant will research, record, catalogue, and analyse twenty in-depth oral history interviews with individuals who trained and worked as talking therapists from the 1960s. Within this broad structure, they will develop their own approach, guided by the supervisory team. 

The student will be co-supervised at Essex by Professor Tracey Loughran (History) and Professor Michael Roper (Sociology) and by Mary Stewart and Rob Perks (British Library), benefitting from being embedded in the oral history team, receiving training, mentoring, and ongoing support.

Entry requirements and application procedures  

This studentship is open to Home and International applicants. Either status can apply for a studentship. 

Further guidance on residential eligibility is provided in Annex B of the UKRI Training Grant Guidance

Candidates should hold an undergraduate degree in a relevant discipline, and  hold, or be close to completing, a Masters degree in a relevant discipline or equivalent professional experience. They should be able to demonstrate an interest in the history of psychology and/or related fields, experience of qualitative research, and ideally some experience in oral history or related methods.   

We are keen to encourage diverse backgrounds, particularly those currently underrepresented in doctoral student cohorts. 

The award pays your PhD tuition fees and a full stipend (maintenance grant). The National Minimum Doctoral Stipend for the academic year 2021/22 is £15,609. This is a tax-free training grant. In addition, the successful candidate will receive a maintenance payment of £550/year and an allowance of £1000/year towards costs associated with travel between London and Essex.

Further details on UKRI funding for doctoral training can be found on the UKRI website

In addition, the successful student will be eligible for an additional research allowance courtesy of the British Library, up to £1,000 per financial year or part-time equivalent, for the duration of the project. 

If you have any questions about the studentship, please send them to history-office@essex.ac.uk 

Applying for the PhD studentship  

Please send the following documents to Lisa Willis, history-office@essex.ac.uk

  • A current CV 
  • A covering letter clearly stating how you meet the requirements
  • A 1,000 word overview explaining your interest in this PhD topic, including: previous expertise in relation to this topic, a summary of some key literature, study aims and possible research methods.  

The application documentation should be submitted by the deadline of 23 May 2021. 

We will interview shortlisted applicants via Zoom.  

You do not have to apply formally for admission to the University of Essex as a part of this process. The successful applicant must apply after selection.  

The University of Essex 

The University of Essex is one of the few UK universities to excel in both research and teaching. We are gold rated for teaching excellence (TEF 2017) and 25th in the UK for research quality (The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide). We are top 5 in the UK for social science research (REF 2014). We offer world-class supervision and training opportunities to our research students, who benefit from membership of an internationally-acknowledged and well-connected research community. 


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