MPhil/PhD studentship in decolonising university curriculum by learning ‘beyond discipline’

Investing in excellence: studentship opportunities

The University of Derby is seeking to recruit Studentships in Learning, Teaching and Academic Practice. Seven projects have been identified to support the pedagogic core of the University’s learning and teaching. The projects aim to ensure that we are research led in our practice and have a strategic approach to the evaluation of the impact of our approaches to student support, developing skills and employability, education for sustainable development, inclusivity, and generative AI. Of the seven projects, we will recruit to three.

The following full-time postgraduate research studentship is one of the seven possible projects available. This full-time postgraduate research studentship is in the public services area of research in the College of Arts, Humanities and Education.

Qualification type: Location: Funding amount: Hours: Closes: Interview: Start date:
MPhil/PhD Derby, UK £18,622 stipend pa + UK home tuition fees (£4,712) full time Friday 5 January 2024* 24 January to 31 January 2024 March 2024

The successful applicant will receive a maintenance stipend (based on the minimum stipend defined by UKRI, currently £18,622 for the academic year 2023/24) and home MPhil/PhD tuition fees (£4,712 - subject to amendment) only up to the target submission date.

The intended intake period is March 2024.

The successful applicant will be expected to complete their MPhil/PhD within 3 years on the MPhil/PhD route, contribute to the College REF submission and get involved in the wider research activities of the College.

Applicants will become part of a friendly and welcoming team and will be supported and managed by their supervisors.

The vacancy details are as follows:


The purpose of this studentship is to research pedagogy, and teaching practice, that utilises learning opportunities from beyond an undergraduate student’s home discipline in order to decolonise university curricula.

Its main objectives are:

Project description

The urgent need to decolonise university curricula, in order to tackle awarding gaps and promote equity and belonging through modes of inclusive teaching and learning, has prompted a wave of progressive pedagogy—much of it advocating shifts in the subject matter and perspectives embraced within particular disciplines, or changes to teaching tonality and style.

A small but developing body of research has begun discussing the impetus that engagement in learning beyond a home discipline can bring to decolonisation. Opportunities for interdisciplinary working, for example, have been found to encourage learners (and teachers) to reflect on their own discipline-centric understanding of what counts as knowledge, and on the hierarchies of legitimacy and value informing this, promoting diverse and inclusive approaches to knowledge-making and decolonisation of received pedagogic practice. This project will develop the emerging pedagogy in this area, making original contributions to knowledge—partly in its findings about existing and potential new learning modes, and partly in the recommendations it makes for specific applications of the research to curriculum development at the University of Derby.

Potential project impact

The project has the potential to impact directly upon the inclusivity of provision at the University, offering disciplines and programmes one route toward meaningful decolonisation of teaching and learning—thereby helping implement key facets of the University’s Curriculum Design Framework (CDF) and Learning Teaching & Assessment Framework (LTAF):

In the original recommendations it will make about development of defined opportunities for learning ‘beyond discipline’ at Derby, the project also has the potential to drive other key aims of the CDF and LTAF, helping shape curriculum that:

By contributing to knowledge via its three main objectives, the project also has the potential for publication and wider impact within national and international sectors.

The project aligns to the core principles and values of the University’s Strategic Framework.

Principal accountabilities and responsibilities

In this project, successful applicants will be required to:

The successful applicant will become adept at managing research projects and adhering to timeframes for key milestone deliverables.

The project will require ongoing engagement with multiple stakeholders. This provides successful candidates with unparalleled opportunities to develop in-demand skills and experience and develop a strong institutional network that will enhance their future employment prospects.

Applicants will need to evidence the following essential attributes, skills, and abilities:

To apply

Please review our entry requirements before submitting your application and check out the 'Getting Started' section below.

Completed applications should be submitted via our online application system quoting funding reference: AHE_Decolonising University Curriculum 07_1123

Closing dates for applications: Friday 5 January 2024.*

*(Please note, we encourage applicants to apply as soon as possible as we reserve the right to close before 5 January 2024 if a high volume of applications is received.)  

Interviews: 24 January to 31 January 2024. 

If you have not been invited for an interview by the interview date, please assume your application has been unsuccessful.  

For other enquiries which are subject-specific please contact:

Find out more about our Public Services.

Apply for this SE studentship post

Getting started

Before you begin your application, make sure you have:

Studentship funding reference code

This is provided on the individual studentship advert and must be specified in your application.

Personal statement

A 500-word personal statement outlining your suitability for the studentship project. This is a mandatory requirement and you must upload it into your application. You should include your reasons for applying for the studentship, your experience in the field, how you feel you would benefit from studying and relevant information about your previous studies.

Your CV

A CV outlining your academic and professional experience.


Your qualification details including grades and dates taken. You will have the opportunity to upload scanned copies of your qualification certificates and transcripts in the application. If you have no formal qualifications, you can also state this in your application.

Passport/birth certificate

A scanned copy of your passport or full birth certificate. This will help us verify your application to study with us.

Academic references

Two signed academic references. This is optional at application stage but highly encouraged. If successful in your application, two academic references will be a mandatory requirement of admission. The references should be in written format, signed and dated from either a supervisor or tutor from your most recent studies.