Doctoral Research Scholarships and funding

The University has a number of awards for UK/EU and overseas candidates starting a one-year Masters programme and for PhD study, some of which are region- and country-specific scholarships. Interested candidates are strongly urged to apply. More information on these awards can be found on the scholarships and grants page.

Home/EU Scholarships

Economic and Social Research Council funding
The University of Birmingham is part of the ESRC Midlands Graduate School that includes Aston, Birmingham, Leicester, Loughborough, Nottingham and Warwick. 

Details of the competition for ESRC scholarships to which eligible students beginning their studies in September 2020 may apply may be found on our website. The deadline for applications is 22 January 2020.

Information about the Midlands Graduate School, training pathways and eligibility for studentships, as well as the application form and guidance notes, can be found on the new Doctoral Training Partnership website. Prospective students wishing to know more about the scheme can email

International Scholarships

To award outstanding achievement and to attract students of the highest calibre from around the world, the University of Birmingham is pleased to offer a number of international scholarships. Scholarships for international students.

For information and updates on possible further sources of funding for overseas applicants, see the webpage for the University of Birmingham Brazil Scholarships.

Central University Scholarships

These are one-year Scholarships which offer fees and - subject to availability of funds - maintenance. Some of these scholarships are subject-specific, for international students and for home students. All scholarships listed below are offered subject to available funds, and are open to both EU and international students in addition to home students, unless otherwise stated. For information on deadlines – including the date by which you must hold an offer of a place on the doctoral research programme.

Postgraduate students may use the Postgraduate Funding Database to search for scholarships and bursaries. In addition, some of the scholarship schemes open to those within the School of Education are listed below. Please read any documentation carefully for eligibility and closing dates. 

General funding advice may also be found on the Student Funding Office webpages.

School of Government Doctoral Studentships

School scholarships are available to candidates of the highest academic calibre who wish to conduct doctoral level study in the research areas of Politics, International Studies, International Security, International Development or Local Government Studies.

Each year the School is able to offer individual scholarships that cover all or part of PhD fees and, in some cases, a stipend for living expenses.  Limited funds are available, meaning the scholarships are allocated on a competitive basis and are not open to existing PhD students.

A successful applicant will be expected to have a very good undergraduate degree (minimum of a 2:1 but, preferably, a first class honours). They should also hold, or expect to achieve, a very good Masters degree (at a distinction level) in a relevant social science subject. Their references will attest to qualities of academic achievement and research potential that make the candidate stand out above their peers. They may have already won academic prizes within their home institutions and /or internationally.

Applications will be assessed on (a) the quality of the student’s academic achievements and preparedness for doctoral level study; (b) the quality of the research proposal; (c) the potential to contribute to cutting edge research; and  (d) the match of the proposal to areas of research strength within the School of Government.

Since we are particularly keen to build on existing areas of research strength, all applicants are strongly advised to contact potential supervisors and to discuss their proposal with them prior to online submission. Scholarships are open to new offer-holders only.

How to apply

Potential candidates for the School of Government Doctoral Scholarship must have an offer of a place to study for a PhD. If you do not already have an offer, you must apply by 30 November 2019. At the same time, you should send a separate School of Government Scholarship application form, which can be downloaded along with your research proposal, to Dr Emma A. Foster, Head of the Doctoral Programme (to and mark your email ‘School of Government Scholarships’. 

If you already have a place to start the doctoral programme in September 2020 and are interested in being considered for these awards, please contact your supervisor to discuss the opportunity and submit a completed Scholarship application and your research proposal to Dr Emma Foster, as explained above. If you are currently a Masters student an offer of a scholarship will be conditional on the successful completion of your studies at the required level.  

To apply to the Doctoral Programme, please go to the subject specific page listed below:

Find out more about the areas of research in the School of Government.


Funds for current Doctoral Researchers

The School offers DR funding for the following:

  • Conference funding.  Grants are available for the travel expenses and registration fees for postgraduate research students delivering a paper at an academic conference. These are allocated competitively in three rounds each year. Deadlines for application are circulated by email before each round.
  • General research funding.  Funding from the School is available for small requests from doctoral researchers in order to cover general research costs that cannot be covered by funding from other sources. This fund will be allocated competitively by the same committee which allocates conference funds. Application process and deadlines will be advertised by email.

Further information

Tricia Thomas - Doctoral Research Student Administrator
Tel: +44 (0) 121 414 3497, Email: