There are several sources of funding available for PhDs in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences and the School of Management, including the ESRC South West Doctoral Training Partnership (SWDTP) studentships, and internal University studentships (URSA).

Find out more about how to apply for other available Research Council funding schemes.

You may wish to browse this list of PhD research opportunities for Humanities and Social Sciences that academic staff have suggested. If you find a project that interests you, please get in touch with the associated staff member (your potential supervisor), as having a discussion with them before you apply should strengthen your application.

Funding may also be available for excellent candidates who propose a project of their own, following discussion with a potential supervisor.

To apply for URSA or ESRC SWDTP funding, indicate on your application that you wish to be considered for funding, and we will steer your application to the most appropriate funding competition. The majority of funding available is for Home/EU students. Applications from any field of research in the Faculty or School are eligible.

Please follow the steps below. (Psychology applicants, please note the preliminary deadline information at point 4).

  • Contact a potential supervisor or lead academic for a project idea, to discuss the opportunity and they will advise if you can apply. Please note that it will not be possible to put applications forward for funding where a supervisor has not been identified and contacted.

  • Ensure you meet the entry requirements for a PhD in the relevant department or interdisciplinary stream.

  • Complete the online application form for the relevant department or interdisciplinary stream. You must include all the necessary supporting information as listed on how to apply for doctoral study.

  • ALL applicants applying for SWDTP or URSA funding MUST complete the Student Statement Form and submit this as part of their online application to study by the 12 noon GMT 21 January 2020 deadline. Either cut and paste your 1,000 word research proposal into the Student Statement Form OR adapt it to the specific criteria on the form.

PSYCHOLOGY APPLICANTS please note : you will need to submit your completed online application to the department by a preliminary deadline of 1 December 2019. Applications received after the preliminary application deadline (but prior to the University deadline of 12 noon GMT on 21 January 2020) will be reviewed in exceptional cases, but we cannot guarantee that they will be given full consideration by the departmental panel in this case.

  • If you would like to complete the SWDTP Equal Opportunities Student Data Form, please click here. Information will be held confidentially and reported anonymously to the ESRC. Completed forms should be emailed to

You will be notified if you have been shortlisted for interview by mid February 2020. Interviews will be held in early March. If successful, you will be notified by early to mid April 2020. Successful applicants will be expected to commence their studies on 28 September 2020.