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Accepting PhD Students

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Personal profile

Research interests

Prior to joining the University of Bath, I was based at the University of Sheffield, and before that Cardiff University (where I gained my PhD). My research interests are broad and I take an interdisciplinary approach, in particular drawing on theories and ideas from education, human geography, and sociology. I am particularly interested in developing new innovative approaches to combining quantitative and qualitative methods. My work has been funded by the UK-based Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) as well as the International Baccalaureate Organisation (IBO).

I currently lead an ESRC-funded programme of research ( Spatial and Social Im/Mobilities ) which commenced in 2016 and runs until 2019 (award no. ES/N002121/1). The Spatial and Social Im/Mobilities project, funded through the ESRC's Future Research Leader scheme, is a far-reaching study of the links between spatial and social (im)mobilities in UK society, through the lens of young people's universities choices. The project explores the significance of place in young people's lives and future trajectories through a detailed spatial mapping and analysis of their higher education choices along with rich qualitative research in 10 geographical locations.

My doctoral research (also funded by the ESRC through a 1+3 scholarship) was a quantitatively framed, qualitative study, which examined the relationship between schools and the shaping of young people's university choices. This work involved developing a new approach to researching school effects, drawing on and combining insights from school effectiveness research and the sociology of education.

Research interests

  • Geographies of education
  • Place, space and identity
  • Youth transitions and (im)mobilities
  • 'home international' comparative research
  • Cultural and social dimensions of schooling
  • Education policy and social mobility

Current projects

Willing to supervise PhD

I am interested in supervising new PhD students researching these topics:

  • Internationalisation of education
  • Schooling experiences
  • Higher education
  • Social class and education
  • Sociology of education in general

I can support prospective students with applications for funding, with a variety of sources available (see funding guidance)

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics where Michael Donnelly is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • 46 Similar Profiles
school Social Sciences
education Social Sciences
participation Social Sciences
university Social Sciences
regional structure Social Sciences
geography Social Sciences
national identity Social Sciences
indebtedness Social Sciences

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Projects 2016 2020

Research Output 2010 2019

2 Citations (Scopus)

A 'home-international' comparative analysis of widening participation in UK higher education

Donnelly, M. & Evans, C., 1 Jan 2019, In : Higher Education. 77, 1, p. 97-114 18 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
educational inequality
social inequality
1 Citation (Scopus)

A Sociolinguistic Perspective on Accent and Social Mobility in the UK Teaching Profession

Donnelly, M., Baratta, A. & Gamsu, S., 23 Jan 2019, In : Sociological Research Online.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access

Dibujando paralelos con las desigualdades de clase social en el Reino Unido: límites, poder y (no)reconocimiento de talento

Sandoval-Hernández, A. & Donnelly, M., 2019, Entre lo propio y lo ajeno: diálogo y conflicto inter-epistémico en la construcción de una casa común. Santorello, S. (ed.). Ciudad de México : Universidad Iberoamericana

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Mapping the relational construction of people and places

Donnelly, M., Gamsu, S. & Whewall, S., 17 Oct 2019, In : International Journal of Social Research Methodology. p. 1-18 18 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Reading Buddies: Cross-Age Tutoring as Empowering Pedagogy for Young English Language Learners

Author: Moriarty, K., 21 Mar 2018

Supervisor: Donnelly, M. (Supervisor) & Carr, S. (Supervisor)

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Education (EdD)


The subject beyond culture: An examination of change in educator subjectivity(s) on becoming ‘international’

Author: House, K., 6 Dec 2017

Supervisor: Donnelly, M. (Supervisor) & Hayden, M. (Supervisor)

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Education (EdD)