ESRC Industrial Strategy Studentships

We are delighted to announce the availability of fully-funded studentships for the UK Government’s Industrial Strategy in the ESRC accredited South West Doctoral Training Partnership (SWDTP).

To apply we recommend you first make contact with your identified supervisor and then to apply for a scholarship, you must complete an application form for the programme you wish to apply to. In the funding section of the form, please tick 'UK Research Council' and specify Industrial Strategy Studentship.

In addition to submitting your application to your institution of choice, please also send an e-mail to to confirm to which institution and pathway you have applied.

For any further queries please contact

Students applying to research programmes in the Faculty of Social Sciences and Law may apply for funding from a range of sources including the University of Bristol PhD Scholarships, the ESRC (SWDTP pathways only), from the Sasakawa Japanese Studies Postgraduate Studentship Programme, the Zutshi Smith Award, Alumni funding and the China Scholarship Scheme.

Those applying to the University of Bristol Law School may also be able to apply for funding from the AHRC. For more information on AHRC funding, please visit the South, West and Wales Doctoral Training Partnership website. For other possible sources of funding, please see the Student Funding Office website.

The Faculty of Social Sciences and Law receives a set amount of funding for scholarships each year and the competition for awards is very high. Students must have submitted a full application and all relevant additional documentation by 12 noon on the day of the deadline to be considered. We regret that we cannot consider applications for funding received after the deadline.

Discount on postgraduate study

Current University of Bristol students could benefit from a ten per cent reduction in postgraduate tuition fees. The Alumni scholarship is available to students starting a degree on or after Tuesday 1 August 2017.

How to apply

In order to apply for a scholarship, you must complete an application form for the programme you wish to apply to. In the funding section of the form, please tick any of the following boxes that apply to your application: 'University of Bristol scholarship' (for UOB scholarships), 'UK Research Council' (for ESRC scholarships) or 'other' and specify the award. This will highlight to our admissions tutors that you wish to be considered. Further details for each competition are below.

University of Bristol and Alumni scholarships - Now closed for 17/18

The Faculty of Social Sciences and Law is pleased to be able to offer a number of fully-funded and/or half-funded PhD scholarships to UK, EU and international applicants showing exceptional research potential. Scholarships are renewable for up to three years (where offered full-time) subject to satisfactory progress.

Scholarships are available to students who meet the requirements for entry to their chosen programme and who have received an unconditional offer from the school they have applied to. For international and EU students, this includes the provision of documentation which demonstrates that you have met our English Language Policy entry requirement. Details of the entry requirements for each programme can be found in our prospectus, along with contact details for enquiries and admissions statements.

Awards are made as either a full scholarship (fees plus a maintenance grant) or a partial scholarship (fees plus part of the maintenance grant) but the minimum amount awarded is normally no less than 50 per cent of the overall cost (fees plus maintenance grant). Where a maintenance grant is provided, the value of this normally matches the amount recommended by Research Councils UK (RCUK) but may vary depending on the funds available. If you have been nominated for an award by your school, the admissions administrator in that school will be able to confirm what type of award you have been nominated for.

ESRC scholarships

NB: ESCRC scholarships are only open for Industrial Strategy Studentships; please see the top of the page for more information.

The SWDTP receives a number of scholarships from the ESRC each year to award to students on SWDTP pathways at the universities of Bristol, Bath, Exeter, UWE and Plymouth. Students who apply to the University of Bristol will be primarily based in Bristol and will receive their award from the University of Bristol but may take classes or have co-supervisors at partner institutions.

Scholarships are available as either a 1+3 award (a one year MSc plus three years funding for a PhD) or for those able to provide evidence of having undertaking postgraduate research methods training at an ESRC recognised institution or equivalent, +3 funding (three years funding for a PhD only). Further details will follow shortly. PhD students receive three years of funded study plus one additional unfunded year to write up their thesis (four years in total). Part time study is available for some programmes, please see the prospectus for details.

Students wishing to undertake PhD study only (+3 awards) must meet the ESRC criteria in terms of previous Masters level study.

Scholarships for International students are only available on the Advanced Quantitative Methods (AQM) pathway and the Economics pathway. International students who are awarded scholarships on either of these pathways will receive a full scholarship.

EU students may apply to any pathway but in order to be eligible for a full scholarship (fees plus a maintenance grant), students must be able to provide evidence that they meet the ESRC's eligibility guidelines and have been settled and resident in the UK for at least three years prior to the start of their scholarships. EU students who are not able to provide evidence that they are settled in the UK will be eligible for a fees only award.

UK students may apply for a full award for the scholarships of their choice. International students who are awarded scholarships must be present in Bristol during the funded period of their study.

Students applying for ESRC funded scholarships are encouraged to speak to their chosen school prior to application in order to discuss their research ideas with a suitable supervisor. Students are also encouraged to look at ways of incorporating collaboration with external partners into their research proposal. Collaboration does not always have to be a financial arrangement and could take the form of a placement, voluntary work, data sharing or other payment in kind opportunities.

Students considering overseas fieldwork, overseas institutional visits or difficult language training should also mention this in their application where possible.

The full studentship process is now available SWDTP Studentship Recruitment Process 17/18 (Office document, 477kB). Successful shortlisted applicants will need to be interviewed at one of the partner institutions and will need to be available the week commencing the 6th March 2017. Specific dates and locations by pathway to be confirmed.

Cross-Council Remit Studentships

The SWDTP has funding from the ESRC to support a number of cross-council studentships. These are studentships that cut across subjects and disciplines and in some cases are also jointly funded. All projects under these calls will be interdisciplinary by nature and will include substantive interaction between the relevant scientific areas. In this first year all opportunities will be awarded as +3 awards and the information on each call and details of how to apply can be found at:

The Sasakawa Japanese Studies Postgraduate Studentship Programme - Now closed for 17/18

The Sasakawa Studentship is offered to nurture the successor generation of UK specialists and experts on Japanese Studies in the Faculty of Social Sciences and Law.

The Studentship is £10,000 per annum (for 2017/18) for one year only initially, with a possibility of extending it to one more year.


It is open to students of any nationality. However, given the objectives and spirit of the programme, home (UK) students are particularly encouraged to apply. Both full time and part time students are eligible.

Selection criteria

The criteria against which applications will be assessed are:

  • previous academic qualifications/experience
  • the quality, content and coherence of the research proposal
  • relevance to the objectives of the Programme
  • the School’s capacity to provide appropriate supervision.

To apply

There is no separate application form for the Sasakawa Studentship Programme. Please complete an online application form for PhD programme. Please tick ‘other’ and specify as ‘the Sasakawa Japanese Studies Studentship’ in the funding section of the online application form. This will highlight to our admissions tutors that you wish to be considered for an award.

Prior to application, please contact Dr Misa Izuhara ( at the School for Policy Studies for further details.

The Zutshi-Smith Scholarship - Now closed for 17/18

This award covers the full cost for an Indian student to undertake a PhD course at the University of Bristol.

For full details and how to apply please visit the fees and funding pages.

The China Scholarship Scheme - Now closed for 17/18

This award is for Chinese students who are citizens and permanent residents of the People’s Republic of China at the time of application.

For full details and how to apply please visit the fees and funding pages.

Student funding guidance

More information can be found from the Student Funding Office.

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