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 November. Please check back on a regular basis for updates.


The following text applies to the selection process for October 208 projects and has been left here for your information, but the process for next year may differ in both time frame and process.

2018 Project Application Process 

Applying for one of our studentships is a three step process comprising of 1) an application direct to GW4 FRESH CDT (via an online form); 2) an application to the Supervisor (via CV/Covering letter); and 3) an application to the institution. For more details see below:


Applying for an ‘Offer of Funding’:
Step 1: Fill in a short application form here, outlining a few personal details and selecting one (or two projects maximum) for which you wish to be considered. The application form will be open from 15 January to 15 February. (A sample version of the form is included here to help you plan your answers but the online version ONLY will be accepted). This form is to collect your contact details for the CDT and for diversity monitoring purposes, but without completing this step your application to the supervisor (see step 2 below) will not be valid.

Step 2: Apply directly to the Lead supervisor of up to two of the projects listed here. You should send your CV (max 2 pages), a covering letter (max 1 page) and the names and e-mail addresses of two academic referees (at least one of them should have supervised you on a previous research project).

Your CV should also 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’:
Step 3: 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 in Step 1 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 or by 15 February at the latest: 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 2018. 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 between 15 and 23 February. He/she will then nominate one candidate per project for consideration by the GW4 FRESH Management Board Selection Panel .

The GW4 FRESH Selection Panel will then consider your CVs and application forms and draw up a shortlist for interview.

Candidates will be shortlisted/selected based on consideration against the following criteria:

i. Why you are keen to pursue a freshwater PhD

ii. What experience you have of freshwater research and interdisciplinary work

iii. Whether you have the necessary personal and academic skills to complete a PhD project

iv. Whether this scheme is suited to you and likely to best contribute to your career.


Interviews will take place on 7th March 

Candidates will be notified of the outcome of the selection process by 12 March 2018 and must accept or decline the studentship by noon on 14th March.

Studentships start on 1 October 2018.


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 RCUK 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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