Scholarships and Student Funding

PhD European Research Studentship

This European Research Council award offers one studentship to an academically outstanding candidate who is intending to study on a PhD programme starting in January 2022.

ERC project: The Finances of the Caliphate: Abbasid Fiscal Practice in Islamic Late Antiquity (CALIPHAL FINANCES)

The studentship will be funded by the European Research Council and will cover UK or International level of tuition fees for the PhD in Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies depending on the applicant’s status.


The Award will cover the UK or International level f tuition fee and an annual stipend of £15,285 and will be awarded for a maximum of three years of study and a fourth year for writing up; subject to satisfactory annual progress.

Applicants are encouraged to get in touch with the project principal investigator, Dr Marie Legendre before applying.


The award is open to UK and overseas students commencing a PhD degree in the academic year 2021-2022.

It is imperative that the candidate has previously studied Classical Arabic at the undergraduate and/or postgraduate level. They will select a topic of Abbasid fiscal history for their dissertation, based on the study of published papyrus documents written in Arabic dating to the 8th-10th century CE.

Only applications to year one of the PhD programme of study will be considered.

CALIPHAL FINANCES offers an ambitious new account of a seminal period in Islamic history. It will for the first time provide a view from below on Abbasid fiscal history through a study of papyrus documents in Greek, Coptic and Arabic written in Egypt. This project will refocus scholarship on the totality of Abbasid administration. It will be the first large-scale research project on Abbasid administrative and fiscal history to make use primarily of documentary sources. Egyptian papyri are concerned with everyday arrangements for fiscal collection in secondary urban centres and villages of the Nile valley. Capitalising on this material, the project will study the organisation of tax collection, tax rates and categories of taxpayers (Muslims/non-Muslims, landowners, merchants, among others). The project team will trace how provincial revenues reached the caliph, incorporating information found in provincial chronicles with that in the papyri. Connections between administrators and local elites, religious and linguistic communities, their convergence on fiscal questions, their loyalty or resistance to the caliphate will all be assessed. In a field largely dominated by religious history, CALIPHAL FINANCES will renew our understanding of the dynamics of change in pre-modern state structures, with a focus on the complexity of local agency.

For more information on the project please see Caliphal Finances


In order to be considered for the scholarship, please ensure that you have applied for the PhD programme in the first instance and then use the application form to apply for the scholarship.

Applications for the 2021-2022 academic session are no longer being accepted for this scholarship as the 16th of August deadline has now passed. 

Applications for the PhD can be made via the online admissions portal.

Successful applicants will be advised by no later than the end of September 2021.