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Refugee children, 1960s-present: a study of the exploitation of children separated from their parents by war, conflict or environmental disaster


Funded PhD


3 years (full-time)

Application deadline:

Wednesday 23 January 2019

About this project

This project seeks to examine the problems experienced by refugee children whose movements, like those of the other children in this application, put them beyond the protection of any one national body so that they are reliant for their protection on international agreements.

The 1951 Convention on Refugees (extended in 1967), described as ‘the centrepiece of international refugee protection’ and grounded in human rights law, makes no reference to the rights of children as separate from those of adults, beyond providing guardianship and adoption to unaccompanied children.

Moreover, nothing is said about the journey: refugee children have to rely on inter-state agreements and non-government organisations in undertaking what might be a difficult and prolonged passage. As a result the safety of refugee children relies heavily on the ability of the voluntary sector to recognise and access the procedures that are necessary to deliver the correct support, or provide that support themselves.

The theme here is environmental, and the focus is on the failure of international co-ordination to protect children travelling across borders as a result of natural or man-made catastrophes.  

The University's Postgraduate Training Scheme (PGTS) provides a range of generic and discipline-specific modules to support research students through their programme. 

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The library has an exclusive lounge for postgraduate research students and a dedicated Skills Team to provide a wide range of study and research skills help.

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The Graduate School provides support to postgraduate research students. Offering skills development opportunities and dedicated facilities, the school is here to help you achieve your potential. 

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Research at Hull tackles big challenges and makes an impact on lives globally, every day. Our current research portfolio spans everything from health to habitats, food to flooding and supply chains to slavery. 

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Full-time UK/EU and International PhD Scholarships will include tuition fees and maintenance (£14,777 in 2018/19) for three years, depending on satisfactory progress.

Entry requirements

Applicants should have a 1st class undergraduate degree or Masters level research qualification in a relevant discipline. A 2:1 may be considered, if combined with relevant experience.

A knowledge of twentieth century international law and environmental disaster is desirable but not essential.

You will be jointly supervised by academics in the Wilberforce Institute and the Energy and Environment Institute. 

We welcome applicants with a background in Law, Environmental Science, Geography, Social Sciences or equivalent experience in a related subject.

Interviews will be held between 7 and 27 February 2019.

Successful applicants will be informed of the award as soon as possible and by 15 March 2019 at the latest.

Studentships will start on 16 September 2019.