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Completing a PhD - Frequently Asked Questions

Peter is an active researcher and a PhD supervisor and acts as a mentor to a variety of students and professionals. He has outlined the answers to some frequently asked questions about PhD supervision below. 

PhD supervision


I often receive enquiries from people who want to conduct research under my supervision. To make it easier for you to find the answers to the most commonly asked questions I have listed these below. Working with PhD students, researchers and writers on innovative projects are one of the most enjoyable parts of my job. These questions are simply meant to help interested students in putting together an application, so please don’t be put off by them. Before you contact me please read and consider the following points: 

Are you currently accepting new PhD students?


I want to study for a PhD with you specifically. What should I do?

Firstly you need to be sure that I am the right person to supervise your PhD. There are many talented academics within Liverpool John Moores University working on a diverse range of topics.


You can find a more detailed profile of my research and interests here. My work focuses very broadly on practice issues in counselling and psychotherapy, and social work. I am interested in issues of power, harm, boundaries, exploitation and reflective practice. I also have an interest in how practitioners develop and maintain their professional identities, as well as how we represent our professional selves online. I use qualitative methods for all of my research. 

I am currently supervising a PhD student who is exploring how empathy, congruence and unconditional positive regard are understood and experienced by school-based counsellors. 

Do you have any funding?

I have no personal funds for PhD students, if I do I will advertise them. LJMU usually advertises PhD scholarships once per year. These scholarships are very competitive so you will need to have a strong academic background (demonstrated by previous degrees, experience, maybe even publications) in order to stand a chance. 

What should I work on?

In order to apply, you will need to agree on a research topic with me. Therefore, before you contact me think about particular problems that you would like to work on, and some potential solutions to these problems. It will be easier if you contact me with a draft research proposal, or at least by saying “I want to examine this problem…” rather than “I want to do a PhD – what should it be about?”.  To contact me about being your PhD supervisor, please email me at

What should I include in my email to you?

Please include an overview of your proposed research topic (see above). It is also useful if you can demonstrate that you are capable of conducting research. So along with your research proposal please include your CV, links to previous papers (if you have any) and projects you have worked on. In addition, mention, that you have read these FAQs! 

How do I apply?

Once you have agreed on a topic with me you will need to write a research proposal, which provides a description of the issue you want to research, and a brief breakdown of potential tasks along with a timeline. You should mention on your application form that you want me to supervise your research. Full details of how to apply are here. 

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