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School of Social and Political Science: Graduate school




Financial support is available from a variety of sources: the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) for UK and EU students, the Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland, the University of Edinburgh as well as the School of Social and Political Science. Further information and details can be found at Funding Opportunities for Postgraduate Students at the University of Edinburgh.

Please note that, if you wish to apply for some awards (including ESRC, AHRC, and School and University of Edinburgh scholarships), you must first apply to the University for a place on the PhD in Politics. Deadlines for the University of Edinburgh scholarship/studentship funding can be found here preceding the start of the academic year for which they are available. Students who wish to apply are invited to check whether they are eligible for funding before making full inquiries about the suitability of their project and academic background. Students seeking advice on their funding applications should contact potential supervisors well in advance of deadlines.

More information about available funding in the School can be found at Funding Opportunities for Postgraduate Students in the School of Social and Political Science.

ESRC Awards

The ESRC is the main British funding body for research in the social sciences, offering studentships for research students. These studentships are offered through the Scottish Graduate School of Social Sciences, the ESRC Doctoral Training Partnership (SGS-DTP) for Scotland. 

The SGS-DTP, based at the University of Edinburgh, offers studentships across a variety of pathways, including under the People and Place hub - Politics and International Relations. The SGS-DTP is a collaborative venture between University of Edinburgh, University of Glasgow, University of St Andrews, and the University of Strathclyde. Although awards will be shared among the four universities, interested applicants should apply directly to the university where they believe their research interests are best represented in staff research activity.

Students are not permitted to apply to more than one of these four universities within this pathway. The numbers of studentships are likely to vary each year. In view of the limited number of awards and the very high standard of applications received, ESRC studentship funding is highly competitive.

Candidates may apply for two types of studentships in Politics and International Relations at the University of Edinburgh:

  1. 1+3 awards: Students will be funded for a one year MSc by Research in Politics, with an emphasis on research methods, followed by three years of research for a PhD on a topic matching the research interests and expertise of staff in the subject area.
  2. +3 awards: Students demonstrating sufficient training in research methods will be funded for three years of research for a PhD on a topic matching research interests and expertise in the subject area. Note that students in any field of politics (including political theory), who have completed an ESRC-recognised MSc elsewhere in all fields of politics, would be more than welcome to apply to us for a +3 ESRC studentship.


ESRC Studentships are only available to UK and EU nationals who have been recently resident in the EU. UK and EU nationals resident in the UK for the last 3 years (including for the purposes of education) are eligible for full studentships that cover both fees and maintenance. Fees-only awards are available for EU applicants without UK residency. Fuller details of eligibility can be found in the ESRC Postgraduate Funding Guide.

Application Process
The application process for ESRC awards has a number of stages and deadlines, as detailed here.

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