ESRC Studentship Funding

The White Rose Social Sciences Doctoral Training Partnership (WRDTP), accredited by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) in 2016, is a collaboration across the social sciences at the Universities of Leeds, Sheffield, York, Bradford, Sheffield Hallam, Hull, and Manchester Metropolitan.

We offer a range of social sciences PhD studentships starting in September/October each year at our partner universities.

The awards on offer are either/or:

+3 programme: funding for a three-year PhD (assumes that a student has already met the majority of the core social sciences research methods training requirements and that the PhD focus is largely on more advanced training)

1+3 programme: an integrated Masters programme precedes the three-year PhD which will deliver the core social sciences research methods training requirements (e.g. MA Social Research)

ALL awards are available for study part-time.

Applications for the following WRDTP ESRC Awards competitions will be welcomed from November 2021:

  • WRDTP Pathway, incorporating 2 x Interdisciplinary Research Awards and 2 x WRDTP/Stuart Hall Foundation Awards for Black British students (50% funded by DTP and 50% funded by Dept/School etc)

  • WRDTP Advanced Quantitative Methods Awards (100% funded by DTP)

Academic colleagues, please note that WRDTP Collaborative Awards have been phased out over the past few years and as of this cohort, are no longer available

Further information on the training programmes can be found here.

Links to MA Social Research programmes offered at our partner Universities can be found below:

How to apply

Students do not apply to the WRDTP directly.

First, applicants must contact the relevant school/department at the University in which they wish to study, to find out how to apply for a research degree programme (and Masters programme if applying via the 1+3 route), and a scholarship. The process for applying for a PhD place and a scholarship varies according to your institution – if you need further advice, email us at and we can put you in touch with colleagues at your university who can help.

Students must have submitted their application for a PhD study place to their department/school by 17:00, 26 January 2022 in order to be considered for an ESRC WRDTP PhD studentship award. 

Following this deadline, if you receive an offer of a study place and have applied for a scholarship with your university, your department/school will assess whether to put you forward for an ESRC WRDTP studentship, and will confirm their decision with you directly.

If you are successful in being put forward for a studentship, your department/school will complete a ESRC WRDTP Studentship Nomination pack and submit this to the WRDTP on your behalf. Your potential supervisor, or your department’s PGR Director or PGR Administrator may liaise with you in order to gather the information required for the nomination form.

The deadline for departments/schools to send Nomination Forms to the WRDTP is 17:00, 23 February 2022.

Once received by us, the nominations are assessed, and the WRDTP will notify the Scholarships Officers at each university of the outcomes. Scholarships Officers then have until 22 April 2022 to inform all studentship nominees if they have been successful.

Applicants who are interested in applying for a WRDTP studentship are invited to attend an information session for guidance on the application process. These will be held on a virtual basis, using Blackboard Collaborate, on the following dates:

Standard WRDTP Pathway/AQM Awards

  • Thursday 14 October 2021, 10am-11am
  • Thursday 18 November 2021, 5.30pm-6.30pm

WRDTP/Stuart Hall Foundation Pathway Awards 

  • Wednesday 13 October 2021, 2-3pm
  • Tuesday 16 November 2021, 5.30pm-6.30pm

Sessions will include a slideshow presentation and time for questions, which can be submitted via the Blackboard Collaborate text-based chat function. A reminder email including a link to the session and instructions on how to use Blackboard Collaborate will be sent nearer the time of your workshop.

To book your place on either session, please follow this link.

Potential supervisors of applicants are also welcome to attend these sessions for further information.

If you can’t attend any of the sessions but would like to know more, please select this option on the form, and we will email the slides/recordings from the event to you when they are available.

Key information for Applicants, Postgraduate Directors and Supervisors

Eligibility criteria

  • For 1+3 and +3 awards, applicants must hold at least a UK upper second class honours degree or equivalent.
  • Applicants applying for a +3 award must demonstrate that they have already completed the full social sciences research methods training requirements at masters level. i.e. to be eligible for a +3 award, the student must demonstrate that they have already completed substantial social sciences training in research methods which would enable them to undertake an independent research project in a particular discipline or interdisciplinary field. A candidate must have at least 60 credits at M level of core social sciences research methods training acquired in the last five years. This must include a broad range of methods, including quantitative, qualitative and mixed methods and the use of appropriate software/tools for their application, and comprehension of principles of research design and strategy, and an appreciation of alternative approaches to research.  For more details on +3 eligibility see the FAQs above.
  • All UKRI-funded PhD students will be eligible for the full award – both the stipend to support living costs, and fees at research organisations’ UK rate. Further details can be found in the documents above, and the UKRI website
  • International students are eligible for all UKRI-funded postgraduate studentships. UKRI will normally limit the proportion of international students appointed each year through individual doctoral training programmes to 30 percent of the total (for the WRDTP this equates to 11 awards in total, across the Pathway and AQM competitions). Schools/departments should speak to their institution’s WRDTP AQC member(s) to confirm the process for nominating international candidates for a WRDTP studentship.

WRDTP Pathway Awards 2022/23

The WRDTP ESRC is pleased to announce 35 interdisciplinary Pathway Awards starting September/October 2022.  The WRDTP is required by the ESRC to offer awards through open competition and not based on internal discipline/departmental quotas.

Our allocation of Pathway Awards incorporates 2 x Interdisciplinary Research Awards and 2 x WRDTP/Stuart Hall Foundation Awards for Black British students. The overall number of Pathway Awards is 35.

WRDTP AQM Awards 2022/23

The White Rose Doctoral Training Partnership is pleased to announce 4 fully funded Advanced Quantitative Methods Awards starting September/October 2022.