School of Social and Political Science

Alice Brown PhD Scholarship


The scholarship application system for 2022/23 entry will open in December 2021.

Information on scholarship application opening and closing dates will be advised.

The Alice Brown PhD Scholarship is a 6 year part-time PhD scholarship offering a programme of advanced study, ongoing research, professional training and development.

Application deadline

Applicants must submit two separate applications by this deadline (further information about both is given below):

  • Application for admission to a PhD degree
  • Application for Alice Brown PhD Scholarship

We cannot accept applications or additional information or documents after the deadline.


Alice Brown PhD Scholarship application process

Ensure you visit the Important Information and Recommendations section before you apply.

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:

  • references
  • research proposal
  • all supporting documents

References and research proposal for the application to study are also used for the awards application.

The application to study must be submitted at least five 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 is extremely 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 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.

Please note that applications for the Alice Brown PhD Scholarship are extremely competitive, and every year demand outstrips supply. 

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.

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 (3500 characters).

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.

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

In order to be eligible for the Alice Brown PhD Scholarship, you must either have:

  • a first class honours degree (or equivalent) in a subject relevant to the studentship


  • a taught MSc degree at distinction level in a subject relevant to the studentship.

Conditional offers can be made to applicants currently enrolled on a 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.

Applications are encouraged from those nearing the end of an undergraduate degree in a subject relevant to the scholarship.

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
  • countries of the European Economic Area or Switzerland
  • 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 to advise your University Username (UUN eg s1234567), your visa type, and that you wish to apply for the Alice Brown 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 £10,000 each year

All PhD students in the School of Social and Political Science can apply to the PhD Research Support Fund for help with fieldwork and other research-related costs throughout their period of study.

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. 

Assessment process and results

Stage one

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

Scholarship applicants are then ranked and the top candidates are put forward to the next stage.

Stage two

A panel of assessors, comprising the Postgraduate Research Programmes Director and two senior School academics, assess all ranked scholarship applicants and rank them individually.

The ranks are then collated and agreement on awards, reserves, and unsuccessful applicants are documented and actioned.

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

The School selection panel will meet in 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 are aiming to contact Alice Brown PhD Scholarship candidates to let them know the outcome of their application in early April.

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

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

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 by either yourself or your referee. Guidance for referees can be found in our request for an academic or non-academic reference document.

We also strongly advise that you update your research proposal (3-4 pages).  These should be emailed (from your University account) to the PGR Support team ( by the funding application deadline.

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

An updated personal statement of up to 500 words/3,500 characters should be submitted to the email address above. Please ensure you follow the personal statement guidance in the information above.

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 Graduate School

Successful candidates will also work with the Graduate 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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