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School of Social and Political Science: Graduate school



Applicants are strongly encouraged to secure funding for their PhD studies. There are a range of different funding sources available, each with their own eligibility conditions. The main sources of funding are listed below for prospective applicants to view. We recommend that applicants begin planning funding applications well in advance of the deadlines, and familiarise themselves with the specific requirements of the funder. Some funders will require an offer of acceptance on the PhD programme from the University of Edinburgh in advance. Securing this offer can take some time, as it involves writing a proposal that meets our required standards and finding suitable supervisors (See ‘How to apply’). Applicants should leave at least one month for this.

In addition, all of the major funding applications are highly competitive and being successful requires a finely honed and carefully thought through proposal. This takes time to produce.

Interested applicants are strongly advised to contact potential supervisors and the PhD in African Studies Postgraduate Advisor, Andrew Bowman about suitability for the awards in advance of any applications.

ESRC Studentship, open competition

The PhD in African Studies is eligible for studentships funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). The application process for ESRC awards has a number of stages and deadlines, as follows:

Prior to Monday 3rd December 2018 | submit your application for admission to the University of Edinburgh programme of study; apply online for the appropriate programme here. You will then receive a student University number (UUN) and a password, which will give you access to the Applicant Hub.

Prior to Friday 11th January 2019 | submit your funding application to the Scottish Graduate School of Social Science (SGSSS) GradHub. Guidance on how to apply can be found here.

The award decision will be communicated to applicants by the 1st May 2019.

This is just an overview of the application process, for full details and guidance notes please see the Scottish Graduate School of Social Science (SGSSS) website:

If you intend to apply for ESRC funding for the 2019 intake, please contact the Postgraduate Advisor, Andrew Bowman, as soon as possible for advice - ideally well in advance of these deadlines.

University of Edinburgh (UoE) funding opportunities

The University of Edinburgh offers a range of different scholarships, each with their own elligibility requirements, conditions and deadlines. A full list of those available to applicants for the PhD in African Studies is available here. Interested applicants are encouraged to examine these carefully, noting the following:

The application deadline for these scholarships is either 1st February or 5th February 2019, depending on the specific scholarship (here). You must have your application submitted by this date.

- It is possible to apply for more than one of these competitions.

If you intend to apply for the 2019 intake, please contact the Postgraduate Advisor, Andrew Bowman, as soon as possible for advice.

Commonwealth PhD Scholarships

Commonwealth PhD Scholarships: Commonwealth Scholarships for PhD study in the UK are offered for citizens of Commonwealth countries. These scholarships are funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID). Please note, you must apply to your in-country nominating body in the first instance. 

- Details on application procedures for scholarships for citizens of low and middle-income Commonwealth countries can be found here.

- Details on application procedures for scholarships for citizens of high-income Commonwealth countries can be found here.

The deadline for 2019 will be announced in October.

Other funding opportunities

Carnegie PhD ScholarshipsThe scholarships cover tuition fees, maintenance allowance, research and travel allowance. The awards are tenable for three years for full-time study and up to six years for part-time study. Applicants must hold a First Class Honours undergraduate degree from a Scottish University. Students in their final year of an undergraduate degree who are expected to obtain a First-Class Honours degree may also apply,  but they will be required to withdraw from the competition if they fail to graduate with a First. Further details here.

Commonwealth Scholarships for PhD and split-site (PhD) study – developing Commonwealth country citizens: Commonwealth Split-site Scholarships support one year’s study at a UK university as part of a PhD being undertaken in your home country, under the joint supervision of a home country and UK supervisor. You must apply directly to the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission using their Electronic Application System (EAS). Further details here.

Graduate Discount: University of Edinburgh graduates receive a 10% discount in postgraduate tuition fees. The scheme applies to both home and overseas students.

Do also explore other possibilities at the University's Scholarships and Student Finance Office website. The website includes a facility to search by region, with the listing including a range of opportunities for Africa-based students.