How to apply for a doctoral studentship

Applications for 2018 studentships are now closed.

Details of studentships starting in October 2019 will be advertised once known, and this is likely to be around October/November. Please check back on a regular basis for updates.

The Application Process

The application process will involve applying to the CDT via on online form, and also sending a copy of your CV and a covering letter to the CDT by a deadline (tbc). This application is for the studentship itself, also known as the ‘offer of funding’. You will also be required to apply to the institution of the project lead supervisor for admission there, or an ‘offer of a place’; see below for further details.

After the closing deadline all applications and CVs will be forwarded to the lead Supervisor of the project(s) you have selected. They will interview you at a mutually convenient date in December (tbc) and submit their preferred candidate to FRESH CDT. Shortlisted candidates will be invited to a CDT panel interview in Cardiff in February 2019 (date tbc).


Application Tips

Your application form and CV should cover:

  • Your academic qualifications
  • Any research experience to date
  • How your experience fits you to the project(s) to which you have applied
  • Why you are interested in doing a PhD with a CDT and these  projects in particular


Applying for an ‘Offer of a Place’

Applying for an ‘Offer of a Place’ is largely a formality and mostly to check you meet all eligibility requirements of the host institution. It is not part of the selection process.

Applicants to Bath, Bristol and Exeter based projects will only need to complete this stage if they are successful and offered a studentship. Further information on this will be provided at the time.

However, if you are applying for a Cardiff-based project you will need, in addition to the online form mentioned  above, to submit an application for postgraduate study via the Cardiff University Online Application Service (sims) at the same time as applying to the CDT: you should apply to the eligible research programme at Cardiff University for your chosen project, with qualification ‘Doctor of Philosophy’ and with a start date of October 2019. In the research proposal section of your application, please specify the project title and supervisors of this project and copy the project description in the text box provided. In the funding section, please select “I will be applying for a scholarship / grant” and specify that you are applying for advertised funding from GW4 FRESH CDT.

If you are applying for more than one Cardiff University project please note this in the research proposal section. If you have any difficulties with this application please email the School Research Admission Tutors.


What happens next?

The lead supervisor of the project(s) to which you applied will interview you sometime in December (dates tbc). He/she will then nominate one candidate per project for consideration by the GW4 FRESH Management Board Interview Panel .

The GW4 FRESH Panel will then consider your application form and CVs and interview you; selection will be based on consideration against the following criteria:

  1. Why you are keen to pursue a freshwater PhD
  2. What experience you have of freshwater research and interdisciplinary work
  3. Whether you have the necessary personal and academic skills to complete a PhD project
  4. Whether this scheme is suited to you and likely to best contribute to your career.


Interviews will take place in February (date tbc) 

Candidates will be notified of the outcome of the selection process by mid March 2019 and must accept or decline the studentship by the universal acceptance date set by NERC in Mid-March (date tbc).

Studentships start on 1 October 2019.


Student Eligibility

Studentships will last for 3.5 years full-time or the equivalent period part-time.

Applicants must demonstrate an outstanding academic record: at least a 2:1 undergraduate degree or equivalent, or relevant masters degree.

NERC-funded studentships are subject to UKRI eligibility requirements. In short, you should be a citizen of the UK or other EU country and have been residing in the UK for the last 3 years (apart from temporary or occasional absences).



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