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Applying for ESRC funding or the Humanities & Social Sciences URSA

How to apply for the University Research Studentship Award or the Economic and Social Research Council South West Doctoral Training Partnership funding.

ESRC South West Doctoral Training Partnership funding

The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) is the UK's largest organisation for funding research on economic and social issues. South West Doctoral Training Partnership (SWDTP) studentships are available for discipline-specific study or interdisciplinary study that will involve collaboration with a partner institution.

ESRC SWDTP funding is now available to all students (Home and International).

Find out more about funding from the ESRC SWDTP.

University Research Studentship Award funding

This guidance is for applying for URSA funding for PhD programmes in the Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences.

Apply for funding for a PhD programme in Engineering & Design, Management, or Science.

You can apply for this studentship if you are a Home student. Very limited opportunities may be available for academically excellent international students to receive an award. Given the highly competitive nature of these awards, international candidates are advised to discuss opportunities with their intended Bath supervisor before applying.

Find out more about URSA funding and what it covers.

How to apply

Applications for URSA and ESRC SWDTP funding are considered in tandem. If you wish to be considered for both of these streams of funding, you MUST indicate on your application that you wish to be considered by selecting ‘ESRC’ and ‘URSA’ on the drop-down menu in the funding section of the online application form If you do not follow these steps then your application may not be considered.

Applications close on 12 January 2024 at 12:00 Noon GMT. Please note that late or incomplete applications will not be considered.

1. Contact a supervisor

You must contact a potential supervisor to discuss your own research ideas. They will let you know if you can apply. You cannot put your application forward for funding if you have not identified and contacted a supervisor.

2. Check entry requirements

Make sure you meet the entry requirements for a PhD in the relevant department or interdisciplinary stream.

3. Complete the application forms

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

In addition to the application for study, you must also include:

Equal opportunities

As part of your application you can complete the optional SWDTP Equal Opportunities Student Data Form. Information will be held confidentially and reported anonymously to the ESRC.

Send your completed form to


If you are shortlisted, you will be invited for an interview by mid-February 2024. Interviews will be held online in late February and early March.

If successful, you will be notified by mid-April 2024. You will be expected to commence your studies on 30 September 2024.

Contact us

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

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