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PhD Studentship opportunity

Pedagogies of Punishment: The Morality of School Discipline and Punishment - Education Studies & Psychology

Location: Liverpool, UK

Funding for: UK Students, EU Students, International Students

Funding amount: The studentship has a total budget of £30,000 (for fees and stipend) provided by the Philosophy of Education Society of Great Britain and Liverpool Hope University. For international students, full budget will be contributed towards your tuition fees. The successful candidate may be able to work some hours as Graduate Teaching Assistant for which there would be a separate payment.

Hours: For UK students, three years Full-Time or five years Part-Time. For international students, three years Full-Time.

Supervisory Team: Lead/Primary supervisor: Dr. John Tillson (School of Education, Liverpool Hope University, UK) Secondary Supervisors: Dr. Winston C. Thompson (College of Education and Human Ecology, The Ohio State University, USA), and Dr. Lorna Bourke (Department of Psychology, Liverpool Hope University, UK). External Advisor: Dr Julie A. Hadwin (School of Education, University of Birmingham, UK).

Start date: February 2024.

Project description: Liverpool Hope University is delighted to invite applications for a doctoral studentship. The successful applicant will join the Pedagogies of Punishment Project ( They will utilise existing frameworks and research from philosophy and psychology to develop an empirically informed and normatively defensible framework for disciplinary practices and policies in schools.

Key questions guiding the doctoral project will focus on:

  1. What behaviours may schools and teachers properly require of their pupils?
  2. When (if at all) are children and adolescents morally liable for punishment?
  3. What justifications (if any) make punishment appropriate in schools?

The successful candidate is likely to have or expect to achieve:

  • A relevant Undergraduate degree or Masters degree (in e.g., philosophy, psychology, education policy)
  • A Masters degree with Distinction from a UK university OR;
  • A Masters degree with Merit from a UK university, including a Distinction grade for the Dissertation [or equivalent] OR;
  • An equivalent qualification – equivalency to be judged by Liverpool Hope’s Registrar.

Excellent written and oral communication skills in English are prerequisites of any successful application. International applicants must produce appropriate IELTS or TOFEL scores. Please refer to the International Unit website at for more information.

Administrative contact and how to apply: Applicants should apply via the Online Application System located at – please refer to the ‘How to Apply’ (‘Apply Online Now’) links.

Applicants will be able to upload copies of official academic achievements, plus copies of official transcripts of all degree subjects taken, proof of English fluency (for non-native English speakers only). Two writing samples will be required.

Informal enquiries relating to the project or candidate suitability should be directed to Dr John Tillson: ( Inquiries related to administration should be directed to the Research Administrator on quoting ‘2023 Pedagogies of Punishment Studentship’.

Closing date: 31 August 2023.

Interviews will be held in late September 2023 and decisions will be communicated to candidates by early October 2023.