Postgraduate Students

Economic and Social Research Council Studentships

ESRC applications for 2024-25 entry are now closed.

The University of Edinburgh is a member institution of the Scotland-wide Graduate School of Social Science Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP), which is funded and accredited by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).

The SGSSS DTP provides world-class postgraduate research and training in the social sciences across a wide range of disciplines, known as 'Units of assessment', including History (Economic and Social History is within the ESRC subject remit). Scholarships are available for study of the PhD in Economic and Social History, either on its own (known as '+3.5' funding) or as part of a package of funding including a year studying for the Masters by Research in Economic and Social History (known as ‘1+3’ funding).


If you wish to apply for this funding, we strongly encourage you to contact the Unit of Assessment lead for History, Dr Felix Boecking.

Dr Felix Boecking

Programme Director

Contact details


Depending on your previous master's study, you may need to apply initially for the MScR in Economic and Social History, as well as the PhD in Economic and Social History, Dr Boecking will be able to advise you.



Please ensure that you read and satisfy the eligibility criteria of the ESRC before applying:

 Scottish Graduate School of Social Science webpage


IMPORTANT: Please note that prospective students applying for a PhD by Distance programme are not eligible to apply for the ESRC award.

All study undertaken as part of the ESRC award must be carried out within the UK, except as part of overseas fieldwork, which is an integral part of the study, conferences, or training. Students may not, for example, write up their thesis whilst resident outside the UK during the period of their ESRC award. In such a case fees and/or maintenance grant will not be payable in respect of the student award. Students must be resident close to the RO at which they are registered and we would expect there to be direct contact between the student and supervisor. This applies to full-time and part-time students.

ESRC Postgraduate Funding Guide


Information session

The Dean of Postgraduate Research is hosting a 1-hour online information session about the SGSSS Open PhD competition for prospective applicants on 17 October 2023 at 10:00 AM BST. You can access it through the link below; no registration is needed.

SGSSS Open PhD Competition Information Session 



Please note that the funding applications have their own separate timelines and rules for both the study and the scholarship applications, which differ from the deadlines generated automatically by the application portal when submitting your study application. 

To be considered for the ESRC funding, you must complete the following two steps:


Step One: Application for PhD study

Apply for your study programme

Your completed PhD study application must be submitted through the University’s online application system by Wednesday, 15 November 2023, 23:59 UK time. This means that all your supporting documentation must also be uploaded, including the research proposal of 1,000-2,000 words, copies of undergraduate and postgraduate degree certificates and transcripts (and their official translations if not in English), and two academic references. For instructions on uploading additional documents after submitting your application, please follow the support guidance available here

The scholarship panel will not consider incomplete applications. Please see the below guidance on what to do if any of your documents are missing or pending:

  • Academic references

Please liaise closely with your referees to ensure they supply the required reference within five working days of your submission and no later than 20 November 2023, 23:59 UK time.

  • Postgraduate degree result

Please note that you must submit your undergraduate and postgraduate degree certificates and transcripts to be considered for PhD admission. If you are still studying towards your postgraduate qualification, we will require you to submit an interim transcript or a certificate of matriculation so we can consider your application and, where appropriate, make you a conditional offer on the condition of successful completion of your current master's degree.

  • Proof of English competency

If a degree result or test of English competency is pending, we can consider your application and, where appropriate, make you a conditional offer on the condition of supplying these at a later date.


IMPORTANT: If you are unsure about the eligibility of any of your documents, please email the Postgraduate Research Office well ahead of the submission deadline.

Email the Postgraduate Research Office


Step Two: Application for ESRC Scholarship

Eligible candidates must submit a funding application to the Scottish Graduate School of Social Science (SGSSS) Apply system by Friday, 1st December, 17:00, UK Time. Guidance on how to apply can be found hereAny queries about registering or logging into Apply can be directed to the SGSSS.


Do I need a study offer before applying for the ESRC scholarship?

You may apply for the ESRC scholarship before receiving a decision on your application for a PhD place, but if you do not receive an offer of a place, your application cannot proceed.


Applications which do not meet the deadlines stated above won't be considered.


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