Self-funded PhD opportunities

Understanding/shaping space and society through playful activities

  • Application end date: Applications accepted all year round
  • Funding Availability: Self-funded PhD students only
  • Department: Department of Geography
  • PhD Supervisor: Dr T Woodyer

Research Project Code - GEOG1321015

The Department of Geography, University of Portsmouth has a position for doctoral (phD) research available for three years (full-time) for a suitably qualified candidate to start in February or October 2016 (UK or EU students only). Applicants are invited to submit a research proposal in the area of ludic -or playful- geographies. 

Dr Tara Woodyer (Senior Lecturer in Human Geography) and head of the Geographies of Health, Wellbeing and Lifecourse group ( is interested in supervising a student in the following research area: 

Understanding/shaping space and society through playful activities – This work focuses on how individuals and collectives, of any age, use play as a way of making sense of the world around them and/or thinking about how society and everyday life might be structured or function differently through play. There is currently a specific focus within the department on the constitutive role of play within geopolitics and how children understand geopolitics and conflict through play. We are particularly interested in qualitative approaches to this research theme, and there are possibilities for the use of video technologies and web authoring. Subject to ethical approval, there is the possibility of research with children and young people. 

Staff web pages also provide more information on individual research interests and the specific projects that staff members have recently undertaken 

The department also advertises research themes for Masters projects (MRes Science) – see the pdf for Geography under Course structure at 

Applicants for the phD programme are expected to have a good first degree (minimum upper second class Honours degree or equivalent) and ideally a Masters (or equivalent) in a relevant subject area. Non-accredited research and skills training is available through the University-wide Graduate School. If you so wish, you may discuss your ideas informally with Dr Tara Woodyer (tel: 02392 842507: e-mail: ) or email We will also be happy to answer any questions regarding the application process. 

How to apply:

To apply or make an enquiry, please visit postgraduate research: Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences

Applications should use our standard application forms and follow the instructions given under the ‘Research Degrees’ heading on the following webpage:

When applying please note the project code - GEOG1321015

Alternatively you may receive a hard copy by contacting the Faculty of Science, Postgraduate Admissions Office, St. Michael's Building, White Swan Road, Portsmouth, PO1 2DT. Tel: +44 (0)23 9284 5550. 

Application Deadline: As appropriate 

Funding Notes:

This is currently for self-funded applicants. Periodically, funded positions (including tuition and maintenance grant) become available, and when this is the case, the funded positions will be advertised on this website. For other applications (welcome at any time) tuition fees will be payable for three years, full-time study (£3,996 per year – UK and EU students only).