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Study as a South West Doctoral Training Partnership (SWDTP) student at Bath

You can study disciplinary and interdisciplinary PhD pathways with SWDTP studentship funding as a humanities, social sciences or management student.

If you're a Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences or School of Management doctoral student, you may be eligible for an Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)-funded studentship. The South West Doctoral Training Programme (SWDTP) provides these.

The SWDTP brings together the established research excellence of its five partner institutions: the Universities of Bristol, Bath, Exeter, Plymouth and West of England (UWE). This makes it one of the largest groups of social scientists in the UK.

As a member, we offer ESRC/SWDTP-funded studentships across a range of different subjects.

The benefits of being an SWDTP-funded student

There are many unique benefits to being an SWDTP-funded PhD student.


The SWDTP studentship also offers a range of additional funding to support activities, including:

  • overseas fieldwork
  • overseas institutional visits
  • language training

You'll benefit from access to opportunities such as placements, enhanced training, conference support and other events too.

Overseas study

As an SWDTP-funded student, you’ll also have the opportunity to integrate professional placements, overseas institutional visits, overseas fieldwork, and difficult language training as part of your PhD programme.

This will give you the opportunity to apply your knowledge and skills in a professional environment, and/or travel to another country to collaborate with and learn from leading international scholars in your field.

For example, you may want to conduct fieldwork overseas, but don’t have the language skills or funding to support the research. The SWDTP provides funding to support both.

These opportunities are ideal if you want to conduct research that is collaborative, impactful, and with global significance.

Networking and collaboration

The SWDTP offers a wealth of opportunities for higher level research training, and opportunities for networking and collaboration. Through membership of the SWDTP, you’ll have access to all of the ESRC’s regional and national levels training events.

The SWDTP also provides funding to support student-led initiatives, including training events, and activities to support collaboration, networking, and impact.

Our SWDTP pathways

We offer eight disciplinary and five interdisciplinary PhD pathways that are eligible for SWDTP funding. Each has a ‘pathway lead’ to provide support for PhD students, post-doctoral fellows, and their proposed academic mentors.


Disciplinary Pathways and Pathway Lead

Interdisciplinary Pathways and Pathway Lead

To apply for an interdisciplinary pathway, you must have at least two academic supervisors from separate disciplines. Ideally, these supervisors should also be from different SWDTP Institutions.

Studentship awards

It's important that you have a broad range of master's-level, social-science research skills training to help you develop and implement your research activities.


+3 award

If you already have an appropriate master's-levels training 1, and if you are successful in your application for ESRC funding, you may be awarded a +3 award (three years of funding).

1+3 award

If you have not completed a master’s degree, or have limited graduate-level training in social science research, but are successful in your application for ESRC funding, you may be offered a 1+3 award.

This provides an additional year of funding (fees and stipend) for the completion of a pathway-specific Master’s in Research (MRes) degree. You will need to complete this to a sufficient standard for your three years of PhD funding to continue.

The 1+3 option offers the opportunity to broaden your knowledge and understanding of a topic and/or field, refine your research questions, and develop and focus your research skills. This will help to prepare you for your PhD studies.


Studentship value

Find out how much funding is available.


If successful, you will benefit from:

  • three to four years' tuition fee funding
  • a training support fund of £750 a year
  • a maintenance stipend of £15,609 a year (2021/22 rate)

Eligibility criteria

Find out if you are eligible for this award.


This award is open to all applicants (Home and International); however, in line with guidance from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), the number of awards available to International students will be limited to 30% of the total.

Find out more about your tuition fee status.

Studentships available: Approximately 45 across the partnership.


Application deadlines

Find out when you should submit your application.


Scheme opens

Applications are accepted from October each year.

Application deadline

Applications close on 14 January 2022 at 12:00 Noon GMT.

The application process is competitive. Due to the number of applications likely to be received, only complete applications will be considered. We can't guarantee that all applicants will be successful.

Apply for an SWDTP studentship

Find out how to apply

Contact us

If you have any questions about this funding, please get in touch.


(1) An appropriate master's is defined as including a minimum of a third of the taught stage of the programme entailed research methods elements. This is normally roughly divided equally between social sciences research design, quantitative and qualitative research methods elements, and includes a dissertation.