School of Social and Political Science

Alice Brown PhD Scholarship

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The scholarship application system for academic year 2024/25 closed at 23:59 (GMT) on Thursday, 1st February 2024. Late applications cannot be accepted.

As a guide to competition levels, in the 2023/24 cycle 11 applicants (future and current students) applied for 1 scholarship. The number of available awards may change each year. For 2024/25 we are offering a minimum of 1 Alice Brown PhD Scholarship.

Follow in the footsteps of Alice Brown, one of Scotland’s most influential modern figures in social and political science, with this six-year part-time PhD scholarship. It offers a programme of advanced study, ongoing research, professional training and development.

Application deadline

In order to gain access to the scholarship application system, applicants must have applied for admission to the University of Edinburgh.  Applicants must submit two separate applications by the deadline:

  • Application for admission to a PhD degree in the School of Social and Political Science (must be submitted at least 5 working days before the scholarship deadline)
  • Application for Alice Brown PhD Scholarship

Updated or additional documents or information for your PhD programme application cannot be accepted after you have received an offer for the programme. Before then, any updated or additional documents must be uploaded directly to your PhD application via your MyEd account.

Updated or additional documents or information for your scholarship application cannot be accepted after you have submitted your scholarship application.

Late applications cannot be accepted.

Application process (future PhD students)

Ensure you visit the Important Information and Recommendations section before you apply. We consider this section to be essential reading.

The scholarship award application process involves two main applications:

  1. Apply for your chosen PhD degree programme
  2. Apply for the Alice Brown PhD Scholarship 

Application for admission to a PhD degree

Please note: you will only be able to apply for a scholarship after you have submitted an application for a PhD programme. 

The application to study is made via the University's online applications system EUCLID.

You must submit a full application by the scholarship deadline, including:

  • research proposal
  • final or interim official undergraduate and postgraduate transcripts (note - PhD Social Anthropology applications require undergraduate only)
  • name of proposed supervisor
  • references

References and research proposal for the application to study are also used for the scholarship application and will be automatically pulled through to the scholarship system.

The application to study must be submitted at least 5 working days prior to the scholarship application deadline. This allows your University Username (UUN eg s1234567) to be activated in time for you to submit your scholarship application before its deadline.

You do not need to wait to receive an offer to study before applying for the Alice Brown PhD Scholarship. However, you must submit a complete application to study by the deadline or your scholarship application will not be considered.

Please note that the Alice Brown Scholarship application process is competitive, and every year demand far outstrips supply. 

For further information on PhD study please see our PhD Programmes webpage.

For further information on the application process, please see our how to apply page.

Application for the Alice Brown PhD Scholarship

Once you have submitted your application for study, you can then submit your funding application(s). You must submit a separate application for each individual funding scheme you are applying to.

Application to the Alice Brown PhD Scholarship for future students is via the University's online scholarships application form located within the EUCLID applicant hub.

After submitting your application for your programme of study, you will receive a University Username (UUN) and access to MyEd where you can reach the scholarship application system.

Before applying, please read the self-assessment page, which provides helpful information about the factors that help make a successful application.

Supporting documents

The supporting documents submitted with your application to study (research proposal, academic transcripts and references etc.) will be used to assess your funding application. We recommend you follow the guidance on writing research proposals.

Conditional offers

If you are in receipt of a conditional offer (including conditional on English language), you are still eligible to apply for the Alice Brown PhD Scholarship. 

Should you receive an award, but not meet the conditions of your offer, you would not be able to take up the award.

Personal statement

The scholarship application system will ask you to provide a personal statement (up to 500 words/3500 characters including spaces).

In your scholarship application, please tailor your personal statement to this scholarship. This should include:

  • why you wish to study at this School
  • why part-time study appeals to you and how you plan to successfully maintain this
  • why you are a desirable candidate for this scholarship
  • how you intend to contribute to the School’s strategic aims

Contributing to the School's strategic aims may, for example, mean participating in digital skills development, contributing to widening participation enhancement, or other development activities.

Additionally, we are interested in you as a whole person, not just academically. Please tell us about your preparedness to undertake and complete a PhD and to flourish as a result of PhD funding, and how you will contribute to a positive and diverse PhD community within the School. This could include diversity of identity, experience, or viewpoint. You may also wish to include any experience of overcoming adversity.

Help and guidance

Information on the Student Systems website may help you with guidance on the scholarship application system.

Applying for a postgraduate scholarship

Technical support and guidance

You can also view our applying for scholarships frequently asked questions: 

Frequently asked questions - applying for scholarships in the MyEd portal

Applications and eligibility

Broad research areas

Applications are welcome for PhD projects in the following broad areas:

Prospective candidates are encouraged to explore the range of expertise and research and teaching strengths across the School.

Eligibility criteria

You must meet the eligibility criteria for admission to the to the PhD programme, and the following would be desirable in a subject relevant to the scholarship:

  • a first class honours degree (or equivalent)

Or

  • a taught Master's degree at distinction level (or equivalent)

Conditional offers can be made to applicants currently enrolled on a postgraduate degree programme on the basis of anticipated results.

As comprehensive research training is integrated in the programme of this PhD, there will be no automatic preference given to those holding MSc qualifications covering research training.

Part-time study

Year 1 or 2 part-time PhD students already at the School of Social and Political Science may apply and funding would be provided to the completion of the 6-year part-time programme.

Year 1 full-time students may also apply if they convert to part-time study on award of the scholarship.

International students

Due to constraints on part-time study for international students on visas, this award is only open to:

  • nationals of the UK, or
  • those whose visa allows for part-time study
Confirming eligibility criteria

Your submission infers your confirmation that you meet the eligibility criteria for part-time study.

If you are unable to access the scholarship application system following your PhD programme application submission, please email pgresearch.sps@ed.ac.uk to advise your University Username (UUN eg s1234567), your visa type, and that you wish to apply for the Alice Brown PhD Scholarship.

Is this PhD for me?

The 6-year part-time programme of combined PhD study and development activity will require a high level of personal commitment and engagement, in addition to the potential to undertake cutting-edge research in the social and political sciences.

While the skills gained during the programme will have wide applicability, the studentship is especially intended for those who envisage an academic career, and have a passion for advanced teaching and learning.

The aim is to support scholarship holders not only towards the attainment of a PhD qualification, but to equip them by the end of their programme of study with the skills and knowledge required to be competitive in the 21st century academic labour market.

Value of award

The scholarship covers:

  • full payment of PhD tuition fees and provides
  • an annual stipend of minimum £11,594 (uplifting at the UKRI percentage increase annually)

Awards are made for 1 year in the first instance and are renewable for up to a further 5 years (pro-rata for current students), subject to satisfactory academic progress. 

PhD students in the School of Social and Political Science can apply to the PGR Research Support Fund for help with fieldwork and other research-related costs throughout their period of study providing they meet the fund's criteria. Alice Brown scholars may apply for this fund.

Assessment process and results

Stage One

Postgraduate Advisors and supporting Subject Area academics assess scholarship applications for their Subject Areas.

Scholarship applicants are then ranked and the top candidates are put forward to the next stage. Applicants not progressing to Stage Two will be notified by the end of April.

Stage Two

A panel of assessors, comprising of the Director and Deputy Director of Postgraduate Research Programmes and at least one other senior School academic, assess all ranked scholarship applicants and rank them individually.

The ranks are then collated and agreement on interview selection is made. Candidates who are selected for interview will be contacted with an invitation to attend either in-person or remotely. If available, Professor Alice Brown will join the interview panel. Awards, reserves, and unsuccessful applicants are then decided upon with notifications to follow. Awardees are given 7 calendar days to respond to the scholarship offer. If no response is received by the given date, the offer will be rescinded and awarded to the next reserve candidate.

Assessors will use the SGSSS Marking Framework for their ranking process in both stages.

The School selection panel will meet in the Spring, and results will be communicated to candidates by email shortly thereafter. 

Note that we also hold a reserve list; in the event that a successful candidate later declines their award, for example because they obtain different funding. In this case, the award will be offered to the top candidate on the reserve list. 

We aim to have contacted all Alice Brown PhD Scholarship candidates to let them know the outcome of their application by the end of May.

Due to the volume of applications we receive and the lengthy assessment and ranking process, we are unable to answer individual responses until then.

Application process Year 1 (full-time equivalent) SPS PhD students

Year 1 or 2 part-time PhD students already at the School of Social and Political Science may apply and funding would be provided to the completion of the 6-year part-time programme.

Full-time Year 1 students may also apply if they convert to part-time study on award of the scholarship.

Application is via your MyEd account. The scholarship application section for current students is via the MyEd 'Student Self-Service' channel.

Details on how to find the scholarship section can be found on the Student Systems website.

Applying for a scholarship through MyEd Student Self-Service channel

Technical support and guidance

You can also view our applying for scholarships frequently asked questions: 

Frequently asked questions - applying for scholarships in the MyEd portal

Academic references

The default position is that we will look at the two references and your original research proposal provided on your EUCLID application for PhD study.

However, we would recommend that current Year 1 (full-time equivalent) students request assistance from their supervisors, who can comment on your progress to date, to provide updated references (maximum of 2 new references). 

These can be emailed to the PGR Support team (pgresearch.sps@ed.ac.uk) by either yourself or your referee no later than the scholarship closing date. Guidance for referees can be found in our request for an academic or non-academic reference document.

Please ensure you name the scholarship you are applying for and provide your UUN in the email.

Research proposal

We also strongly advise that you update your research proposal (3-4 pages).  These must be emailed (from your University account) to the PGR Support team (pgresearch.sps@ed.ac.uk) no later than the scholarship closing date.

Please ensure you name the scholarship you are applying for and provide your UUN in the email.

Personal statement

The scholarship application system will ask you to provide a personal statement (up to 500 words/3500 characters including spaces).

In your scholarship application, please tailor your personal statement to this scholarship. This should include:

  • why part-time study appeals to you and how you plan to successfully maintain this
  • why you are a desirable candidate for this scholarship
  • how you intend to the School's strategic aims

Contributing to the School's strategic aims may, for example, mean participating in digital skills development, contributing to widening participation enhancement, or other development activities.

We are interested in you as a whole person, not just academically. Please tell us about your preparedness to undertake and complete a PhD and to flourish as a result of PhD funding, and how you will contribute to a positive and diverse PhD community within the School. This could include diversity of identity, experience, or viewpoint. You may also wish to include any experience of overcoming adversity.

Other funding opportunities

This funding form is also used for several other awards, including:

Important - please ensure you check each scholarship deadline as they may differ.

You must enter a separate funding application for each award you wish to be considered for.

Scholarship holders expectations

We would expect successful candidates, within their programme of training, to contribute to the School’s strategic aims. This could be through participating in digital skills development, contributing to efforts to widen participation and access to higher education for students from non-traditional backgrounds or other development activities.

In combination with their time commitment on studies, training, and participation, scholarship holders will be expected to take up paid work opportunities in teaching and research assistance, to gain experience and consolidate their training.

Working with the School

Successful candidates will also work with the School and relevant research clusters/centres to gain professional academic skills, and hands-on experience of knowledge exchange and public engagement activities with communities, policy makers, and other stakeholders.

Professional development

In combination with your research methods training, subject specific training, and doctoral studies successful candidates will also work with supervisors, the Student Development Office, and the Alice Brown PhD Scholarship Programme Coordinator to participate in a comprehensive ongoing programme of professional development.

There will be a particular emphasis on digital skills, including the opportunity to develop expertise in online design and content creation and blended learning.

About Alice Brown

Professor Alice Brown CBE, FRSE, AcSS, FRCP Edin, FRSA, CIPFA (Hon) was the first female Vice-Principal of the University of Edinburgh and one of its first female professors.

In 2002 she was appointed as the first Scottish Public Services Ombudsman, and in 2013 became the first female to chair the Scottish Funding Council.

Alice Brown left school at 15, later gaining university entrance qualifications through part-time study at college. She went on to graduate from the University of Edinburgh with first class Honours in Economics and Politics, winning the D.P. Heatley Prize for excellence. She then combined work and family with PhD studies, gaining her doctorate in 1990.

Alice Brown is a passionate advocate that Universities should produce “useful knowledge”, be open and inclusive, and engage with politics and society. She was one of the architects of Scottish devolution and has worked to improve standards in public life at Westminster, and to promote gender equality and widening participation in educational, political, and public life.

 

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