How to apply for PhD scholarships in the College of Social Sciences


Each of the Schools within the College of Social Sciences are offering a selected number of School Scholarships and in addition, applicants to the College can apply for ESRC-funded studentships from the Midlands Graduate School Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP). 

  • The deadline for applications for all School Scholarships is 24 January 2023 (23:59 GMT)
  • The deadline for applications for ESRC Scholarships is 24 January 2023 (23:59 GMT)

If you intend to apply for both, the School Scholarship and the ESRC-funded Scholarship, you will need to submit two separate applications (although the format is very similar). In order to have time to prepare for that deadline, we have provided an indicative timetable below. Please note, to be considered for funding you must have an offer of a place to study at the University of Birmingham by the 24 January 2023. Conditional or unconditional offers are allowable.

School Scholarships are to support students who will commence their studies in September 2023. As such, only new applicants (and not existing PhD students) are eligible to apply. These scholarships cover Home fees for 3 years full time (or 6 years part time), subject to satisfactory progress. In some cases, Schools may also offer a stipend or cover fees for international students. However, please note that school scholarships cannot be used to support distance learning PhD programmes.

If you require more information, please contact individual Schools to get details of what they are offering.  

ESRC Studentships will cover fees (at home student rates) for 3 years full time (or 6 years part time), plus some research and training expenses. If you are an international student with an ESRC studentship commencing 2023, the University of Birmingham will cover the difference between the home and international fees rate. In addition, both home and international students will receive a stipend at ESRC rates. The ESRC awards require you to complete a Masters in Social Research before you commence your PhD research. For students who have not completed a Masters in Social Research, you can apply for a 1+3 scholarship, which includes a Masters year, prior to commencing the PhD.  Please see the Midland Graduate School website for more details on how to apply. In this College we will be nominating students in the following pathways: Applied Linguistics; Area Studies; Economic and Social History; Economics; Education; Health and Well-being; Human Geography;  Business and Finance; Political Science and International Relations; Psychology, Social Policy and Social Work; Socio-legal Studies, and Sport and Exercise Science.


Expressions of interest should be made as soon as possible. You should make initial contact with the School that is closest to your proposed research topic. Feel free to approach specific academics directly to enquire whether they would be willing and able to supervise you, but please also inform the School PGR team that you are planning to make an application so that they can support the process. If you are planning to also apply for ESRC Midlands Graduate School funding, then you would be advised to contact the pathway lead at Birmingham as soon as possible to check that you project falls within the remit for that pathway.

You should include in your email:

  • a short covering letter providing information about your background, qualifications and motivation for undertaking a PhD and whether you plan to apply for the School scholarship, the ESRC Midlands Graduate School scholarship or both.
  • a 1-2-page summary of your proposed research, including a brief overview of the existing literature and potential gaps in knowledge, the research questions, and an outline of the methods that you might use to answer these questions.

Formal application for a place to study

In order to be offered scholarship funding you must have an offer of a place from the University of Birmingham by 24  January 2023. Please note it can take a few weeks for the application process (including interview) to be completed and an offer made. You will need to submit an application for the appropriate doctoral programme in your chosen School. 

School Scholarship applications

The deadline for applications for School Scholarship funding is 24 January 2023.

PLEASE NOTE: If you wish to apply for both School and ESRC funding, you must submit two separate applications.

School scholarship applications should be submitted by email to the appropriate School PGR team email address.

Download the application form (Word doc)

ESRC Studentship applications

The deadline for applications for ESRC funding is 24 January 2023.  However, if you wish to apply for both School and ESRC funding, you must submit two separate applications.

ESRC funding applications are managed by the ESRC Midlands Graduate School Doctoral Training Partnership.

Decisions on scholarships

Decisions on School Scholarships vary between Schools but will usually be announced between late February and early April.

Decisions from the ESRC Midlands Graduate School are usually made by the beginning of April.

If you are offered both a School and an ESRC scholarship, you will be expected to accept the ESRC one. The School scholarship can then be made available to other candidates on a waiting list.