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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 School of Social and Political Studies, the College of Humanities and Social Sciences and University awards. The School of Social & Political Science offers further information.

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. Note that deadlines for the University of Edinburgh scholarship/studentship funding are usually set for 1st February preceding the start of the academic year for which it is 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.

** Please note: information on deadlines for funding schemes will be posted here shortly.  They are always set for the early weeks of the New Year. **

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 Centre (SGS-DTC) for Scotland. The process of applying for and securing an ESRC studentship contains several deadlines and the following should be noted carefully:

18 January 2016 - date by which you should submit your application materials if you wish to be considered for an ESRC studentship.

5 February 2016 - if you are selected to be put forward for an ESRC studentship then you must complete the registration form on the SGS-DTC website by this date.

17 February 2016 - date by which you must upload all of your application materials to the SGS-DTC Studentship Application Portal.

6 May 2016 - date by which the SGS-DTC will communicate decisions regarding the awarding of ESRC studentships.


The SGS-DTC, based in the University of Edinburgh, offers studentships in the pathway for Politics and International Relations, which is governed by representatives from the Universities of Edinburgh, Glasgow and St Andrews. Although awards will be shared among the three universities, interested applicants should apply directly to the university where they believe their research interests are best represented in staff research activity. They are not permitted to apply to more than one of these three universities within this pathway. The numbers of studentships are likely to vary each year. For entry in 2012, there were two studentships available.  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 the 1+3 awards, through which students are 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. Please note that ESRC studentships are not available solely for an MSc, you must be applying to undertake a PhD with the MSc as the first component.


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

Students who are eligible for ESRC funding must first apply for a place on the MSc by Research. To do this consult the application process for the University of Edinburgh's Graduate School of Social and Political Science.

If you wish to apply for an ESRC studentship then please contact, well in advance of the deadline, either the Postgraduate Adviser for Politics & International Relations, Dr Juliet Kaarbo (, or the Programme Director of Postgraduate Research for Politics & International Relations, Dr Lynn Dobson ( Inform them that you wish to be considered for a studentship. The deadline for submitting application materials to us, if you wish to be considered for an ESRC studentship is 18 January 2016.

Decisions about which applicants will be put forward for ESRC studentships are made by Politics & International Relations. Dr Juliet Kaarbo (Postgraduate Adviser) will contact those who are being put forward for a studentship. Students should then complete the online registration form on the website of the SGS-DTC, available here. Students must register no later than 5 February 2016.

During your registration and application for an ESRC Award you will also be required to:

  1. Provide the names and contact details of two references.
  2. Complete an Equal Opportunities Monitoring form.

Once your registration has been accepted by the SGS-DTC you should upload application materials directly through the SGS-DTC Studentship Application Portal. The required materials are:

  1. A research proposal of 1500 words maximum (excluding references and proposed timetable). If you have already applied for the programme and been offered a place, you have the opportunity to re-submit a proposal that takes into account your potential supervisors' expertise, which needs to be sent directly to the Postgraduate Adviser (see below).
  2. A supporting statement from your prospective supervisor/s at the University of Edinburgh, including an explanation or demonstration of the adequacy of their supervision.
  3. An up-to-date Curriculum Vitae.
  4. If you intend to utilise Advanced Quantitative Methods (AQM) as part of your research, you may also apply for an AQM Award in addition to a Politics & International Relations pathway award. If so, you will also need to submit additional information about the nature of the quantitative work you plan to undertake.

Please note that application materials to the ESRC are in addition to the normal application materials required by the Graduate School of Social and Political Science.

The deadline by which completed applications must be uploaded to the DTC's online portal is 17 February 2016. Immediately afterwards the governance committee of the Politics and International Relations pathway will meet and make recommendations to the SGS-DTC, which will announce the decision by 6 May 2016.

Comprehensive details and guidance notes about the application process for ESRC studenships can be found on the SGS-DTC website, available here.


Other Funding Sources

Chevening Scholarships

The Chevening Scholarship Scheme, funded by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, provides funding for international students to pursue 12-month Masters at UK universities.

Ford Foundation International Fellowships

The programme may fund citizens of participating countries to complete up to three years of postgraduate study at a UK university.


You should explore other possibilities at the University's Scholarships and Student Finance Office website

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