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, 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.

Students applying for an ESRC scholarship will also need to complete an application for SWDTP in addition to the University application form.


University of Bristol and Alumni scholarships - closing date: 12pm (GMT), Tuesday 21 January 2020 *Applications Now Closed*

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.


The China Scholarship Scheme - closing date: 12pm (GMT), Monday 20 January 2020 *Applications Now Closed*

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

The University of Bristol provides the full tuition fee for each PhD. The China Scholarship Council provides:

  • a stipend (as specified by the Chinese Government)
  • a return international airfare between China and the UK
  • funding to cover passport and visa fees.

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


ESRC scholarships - closing date: 12pm (GMT), Tuesday 21 January 2020 *Applications Now Closed*

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.

For further details on ESRC Scholarships and the application process visit the SWDTP website. Students applying for an ESRC Scholarship should also read the Admissions Statement and information on applying to the SWDTP on the university website.

Successful shortlisted applicants will need to be interviewed at one of the partner institutions. 


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. Information on each call and details of how to apply can be found at:


The Sasakawa Japanese Studies Postgraduate Studentship Programme - closing date to be confirmed

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.


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.


Student funding guidance

More information can be found from the Student Funding Office.

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