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The University of Southampton
The Learn With US Transition Programme

Dr Emma Thompson 

Head of Enhancement (Widening Participation and Social Mobility)

Dr Emma Thompson's photo

Emma is Head of Enhancement within the University's Widening Participation and Social Mobility directorate. Prior to taking up that role, she led the Learn with US Transition Programme from September 2014 until January 2021, having previously taken up the role of Learn with US Transition Officer in May 2013.

Her background is as a social scientist, having undertaken a BSc in Politics in 2008, followed by an MSc in Social Statistics in 2010, finally completing her PhD in Social Statistics in 2014. Emma’s thesis sought to distinguish between political apathy and disengagement, analysing the conditions under which politics does not penetrate the conscious mind. Having been especially interested in the Teaching and Learning of undergraduates whilst completing her PhD, Emma was keen to use her experience of academic research to facilitate the smooth transition of students as they make their way into Higher Education, supporting the acquisition of the necessary research and academic skills demanded of degree level study.

To this end, Emma has worked with students undertaking a number of different research based projects including the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ), IB Extended Essay, IBCP Reflective Project and The Welsh Baccalaureate’s Individual Project, undertaken as part of the Skills Challenge Certificate. She can provide support for the taught element of these programmes, offering a range of research skill sessions, particularly given her experience as a moderator for the EPQ for OCR. In addition, she is more than happy to deliver talks to staff and senior management regarding the value of these qualifications from the perspective of a university, drawing upon collaborative research undertaken with AQA.


Research interests

Emma’s current research interests include:

  • The value of the EPQ for enhancing other A level and degree progression and outcome (in collaboration with AQA)
  • Further improving the re-conceptualisation of political apathy using a variety of quantitative and qualitative methods
  • Looking at the rise of populist parties and political movements, examining especially their effective use of social media and the way this affects political rhetoric
  • Providing citizenship education guidance from impact and lessons learned from political science

Previous research interests have included:

  • Distinguishing political apathy from political disengagement using latent class analysis
  • Innovating research methods teaching in Politics and International Relations by introducing experiential learning



Emma has taught on a number of undergraduates courses in the Social Sciences, Politics and International Relations and Social Statistics including:

  • Social Science Academic Skills
  • Political Systems
  • Issues in Contemporary Politics
  • Research Skills in Politics and International Relations
  • Introduction to Quantitative Methods
  • Research Methods in the Social Sciences
Dr Emma Thompson
The Learn with US Transition Programme, George Thomas Building 37, Room 4113 University of Southampton Highfield Southampton SO17 1BJ

Room Number : 37/4113

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