Scholarships and Student Funding

Economic and Social Research Council

The University of Edinburgh is part of a consortium of Universities in Scotland which have been awarded funding from the Economics & Social Research Council (ESRC) to support postgraduate studentships and trainin

The Scottish Graduate School of Social Science (SGSSS) hosts this Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP) and considers applications for doctoral studentship awards. Further details can be found at Scottish Graduate School of Social Science


ESRC PhD Studentships 2023/24

There are two types of PhD studentship available from the SGSSS – Supervisor led projects and Student led projects (Open competition).

In the Supervisor led competition, students are recruited to a defined PhD project and the SGSSS will advertise all available Supervisor led PhD projects from early March each year.

In the Student led Open Competition, you propose a project which can be supervised by the University of Edinburgh.  To be considered for this funding, you will first need to secure an offer to study a PhD with us and a funding nomination from the relevant University Pathway.

SGSSS Online Webinar – Starting Your Journey Towards a PhD: First Steps in the Application Process - 4 October between 2pm and 3pm

The SGSSS will host a webinar for honours and masters students in social science subjects considering postgraduate research. Topics which will be covered include ‘what is a PhD?’ and ‘what opportunities are available to me?’ In addition, they will discuss tips on designing a research project, including how to approach a potential supervisor and how to get started with the application process. If you would like to attend this webinar, please click here at the relevant time and date. 


The Dean of Postgraduate Education is also holding an online information session about the ESRC funding, offered by the Scottish Graduate School of Social Science, for the 2023/24 academic year. This is an opportunity to hear about the funding on offer, how to apply to the University for a funding nomination, what information is required in the funding application and an opportunity to ask questions.


SGSSS PhD funding Tues 18th October 2022, 3.00 pm – 4.00pm (UK time)                   


The SGSSS Studentship

Each award will cover the PhD tuition fee and a stipend at the UKRI level. Where applicants do not already meet the minimum MSc ESRC training requirements, a 1+3 award is available for specific MSc training followed by PhD study.



  • Candidates must meet University of Edinburgh PhD entry requirements and all ESRC eligibility requirements.  
  • Candidates will normally hold a relevant First Class Honours degree (such as BA, BMus, BSc, or LLB) and preferably a similar calibre of Masters degree but the SGSSS do consider a ‘whole person approach’ when considering applicants for funding.  
  • PhD students who are currently in their first year of study and within eligible subject areas are welcome to apply.  
  • Awards are available to Home fee applicants and limited awards are available for International applicants. The University is able to nominate up to two International applicants per subject Pathway. Please check the full UKRI eligibility criteria here.  
  • To qualify for Home status an applicant must:
    • Be a UK National (meeting residency requirements), or
    • Have settled status, or
    • Have pre-settled status AND meet residency requirement (3 years residency in the UK/EEA/Gibraltar/Switzerland immediately before the start of their programme) or
    • Have indefinite leave to enter or remain

As part of the funding application, the SGSSS are interested in each applicant as a ‘whole person’. Rather than solely looking at your academic achievements (for example, it is not necessary to have a first-class degree to be assessed as an excellent PhD student and to receive funding), we will consider what each applicant can bring to a PhD through work and life experiences too (including challenges and resilience). 

The SGSSS want applicants to be able to demonstrate and articulate potential to undertake and complete a PhD, to flourish as a result of PhD funding and to be a proactive contributor to a positive research culture.

The SGSSS application form will ask you to 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.



Step 1 –Contact and seek advice from the relevant SGSSS Pathway Representative and potential PhD supervisor at the University. Pathway Rep contact details are listed within the School webpages below. We also recommend that you view all of the helpful applicant information videos on the SGSSS website here. You must also register on the SGSSS Apply system.

Step 2 - Apply for a PhD programme at the University of Edinburgh. Full admissions requirements and application deadlines can be found on the relevant School webpage below. If you are a first year PhD student at the University, see Step 3.

Step 3 - Before 5pm 8th December 2022 prepare and submit the SGSSS Open Competition application form, academic transcript and CV to the Apply system.  

The University Pathway representative will consider the information on the Apply application and PhD admission application to select candidates for a University nomination.

Step 4 – By early February, applicants will be notified if they have been nominated by the Pathway. Nominated applicants will then be invited to submit a full funding application to the SGSSS by early February in order to proceed to the next stage of the competition.  The SGSSS will announce the final award decisions in May.

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