Promoting Excellence In Psychological Health & Wellbeing

UCLan Funded PhD studentships from September 2023

02 Mar 23

The location of self-injury on the body in individuals with and without borderline personality disorder

PhD (via MPhil) Studentship in School of Psychology and Computer Science

Reference Number: DTC12-22-61

Applications are invited for a PhD (via MPhil) studentship in the School of Psychology and Computer Science. The studentship is funded through the UCLan Doctoral Training Centre for Industry Collaboration and is tenable for up to 3.5 years full-time [subject to satisfactory progress]. Both Home and EU/International Applicants may apply but EU/International Applicants will be required to pay the difference in tuition fees between the UK and EU/International fee rates. The studentship will provide successful applicants with an annual stipend in line with UKRI rates (Currently £17,668 per year), subject to satisfactory progress.

Project Description: Self-injury is one of the strongest predictors of suicide but can also occur for non-suicidal reasons, with injuries to the wrist, arm, and legs being common. The location of the injury on the body is clinically important and potentially associated with a multitude of psychological processes (e.g., functions of the self-injury) and/or practical factors such as accessibility. Yet, little research has been conducted in this area. This mixed methods PhD aims to examine the clinical and psychological significance of injury location in nonclinical and clinical samples of individuals who self-injure, including those diagnosed with borderline personality disorder/emotionally unstable personality disorder.

The PhD will combine different methodologies, including semi-structured interviews, self-report questionnaires and Ecological Momentary Assessment (EMA). Essential criteria for the studentship, therefore, include a good honours degree in Psychology or other relevant subject areas, experience in undertaking qualitative and quantitative research studies, and excellent communication skills. Experience working in clinical psychology/mental health (e.g., supporting individuals who self-injure) is a desirable criterion.

As this studentship is part of a collaboration between the School of Psychology and Computer Science and Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust, the clinical studies must be designed to be clinically useful i.e., to NHS service users and therapists working with individuals with personality disorders. In addition, to facilitate international applicability of the research we have embedded an opportunity to collect data from an international sample and work with a leading international self-injury expert. This studentship therefore requires a strong commitment to working with a range of people to co-produce studies that will produce clinically important and generalisable results.

Further information

Informal project-related enquiries about the post can be made to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Applications should be completed on our online application system, selecting the following options:

  • Type of Study – Research Degree (Postgraduate)
  • Course - Master of Philosophy/Doctor of Philosophy
  • Campus – Preston Campus
  • Mode of Study – Full Time

Please quote the Studentship reference number DTC12-22-61 on the online application form in the personal statement section. You will not be able to enter the number in the Studentship reference section.

Closing Date: 31 March 2023
Proposed Interview Date: TBC
Expected Start Date: September 2023

Become a Member

Becoming a member of the Psychological Professions Network gives you access to a wide variety of resources and opportunities to contribute and influence