At a glance
ESRC grants are available for students who:
- meet the residency criteria (see below for details)
- have engaged a first supervisor/supervisory team, within an accredited SGSSS pathway at an ESRC eligible institution
- hold a conditional or unconditional offer of a place in a relevant discipline on a PhD programme at an eligible institution (some institutions confirm offers of a place once the award of a studentship has been made)
Eligibility in more detail
SGSSS funds postgraduate students with outstanding academic backgrounds and research potential. All applicants are expected to meet the ESRC Eligibility criteria summarized in the ESRC Postgraduate Funding Guide (for a more detailed version of student eligibility criteria, please see the UKRI guidance published in October 2020). Applicants must hold or be predicted a First or a good 2:1 undergraduate degree in the social sciences, or have relevant comparable experience. Additionally, if you are applying for a +3 award then you must also hold or be completing a Masters degree in the social sciences, which satisfies the ESRC 2015 methods training requirements.
If a first year student (or part-time equivalent) is self-funding their PhD, or they are in receipt of financial support not in excess of an ESRC award, they can apply for ESRC funding from their second year, i.e. they must be in their first year when applying. The precise length of award will be determined by SGSSS based on the stage of progress (but may be +2 or +3).
Part-time awards are permitted and the funding and award lengths are pro-rated accordingly, in accordance with the ESRC Postgraduate Funding Guide.
As announced in August 2020, UKRI are opening up their studentships (including ESRC-funded studentships) to international students from academic year 2021/22. All students will receive a full award, to include a stipend and fees at the home level. However, the proportion of international students appointed each year is a maximum of 30% of the total studentships. In SGSSS, this accounts to approximately 16 awards across the supervisor-led and open competitions. As such, some highly ranked international students may not be able to receive an award due to the 30% cap.
The full residential eligibility guidance is available within the ESRC Funding Guide, which also covers the full studentship package. To be classed as a home student, applicants must meet the following criteria:
- Be a UK national (meeting residency requirements), or
- Have settled status, or
- Have pre-settled status (meeting residency requirements), or
- Have indefinite leave to remain or enter.
If an applicant does not meet the criteria above, they would be classed as international.
For a more detailed version of student eligibility criteria, please see the UKRI guidance published in October 2020.
Further Information for International Applicants
The funding arrangements for international students are the same as that of home students, i.e. you are eligible for the full ESRC studentship package and are not required to pay any additional international tuition fees (top up fees). This is because all of our partner institutions have agreed to waive the difference between home and international tuition fees.
- If you are applying to the University of Stirling, full fee waivers will be offered, however the number of fee waivers is limited to an institutional cap (30% of the total number of studentship awards). Applicants are advised to seek confirmation of the funding position from the University of Stirling directly by contacting the HEI Admin Lead at email@example.com.
- If you are unsure of your fee status (home or international) and/or if you will require a student visa to study in the UK etc., please check with the relevant institution’s admissions team.