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PhD in Social Research in the Sheffield Methods Institute

  • Funded PhD Programme (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Programme (European/UK Students Only)

Profile Description

 The Sheffield Methods Institute (SMI) at the University of Sheffield invites applications to two fully-funded 3-year PhD scholarships. The projects will focus on the application and/or development of robust research methods (qualitative, quantitative, or mixed methods) to an interdisciplinary social science project. A member of staff within the SMI will be the primary supervisor for the project, although it may be appropriate for second/third supervisors to be from other departments in the university.

The PhD project should be related to one or more of the SMI's research themes:
• Inequality
• Social Justice and Inclusion
• Mobility and Migration
• Participation
• Methods and Methodology

More information about these themes, and how the research of SMI academics is aligned with them, can be found here.
Applications will be assessed based on the candidate's qualifications, the strength and innovation of their research proposal, and the fit of the project proposal within the SMI. Applicants should emphasise the research methods contribution and the interdisciplinary nature of their proposed project.

About the SMI

The SMI is a department within the Faculty of Social Sciences, with a range of academic staff engaged in interdisciplinary social research using robust quantitative and qualitative methods, and linked with the other social science departments in the Faculty. We also deliver interdisciplinary undergraduate and postgraduate social science degree programmes. We are home to the Sheffield Q-step centre, one of 15 centres around the country delivering specialist undergraduate programmes in quantitative social sciences. The academic staff in the SMI have a range of social science backgrounds (Sociology, Geography, Politics, Economics, etc) but all work on research areas that do not fit neatly into those disciplinary silos.

Award Details

The studentships available are +3 (PhD only) programmes, commencing September 2020.

The awards include:
• Full tuition fees at the Home/EU rate (£4,394 in 2020/21)
• An annual maintenance grant for 3 years, at the standard RCUK rate (£15,240 in 2020/21)
• A Research and Training Support Grant of £2000 across the three years


Students should have a good first degree (at least a 2:1) and a good social science Masters-level degree (a mark of at least 65 in the UK system, or equivalent) that comprehensively covers research design and methods (such as the MA in Social Research at the SMI). Conditional offers can be made for students currently on such a Masters-level course.

Funding is available to Home and EU students only. Self funded International Students may contact the SMI to discuss alternative opportunities.

How to apply

In the first instance, students are encouraged to make contact with a prospective primary supervisor in SMI that they would like to work with, with a 1-2 page outline of the PhD project that they would like to undertake. If the supervisor agrees, you will work that idea up into a 2-page proposal. A list of potential SMI supervisors can be found here.

Candidates should then apply through the university's central PGR admissions system, and select SMIR03 as the programme for which you are applying. Please state your desire to apply for scholarship funding in the first line of the PhD proposal.

For more general information about the scholarships and the SMI, please email .
The deadline for applicants will be 31st May 2020. Decisions should be made by 30th June.

Funding Notes

Some or all of the PhD opportunities in this programme have funding attached. It is available to citizens of a number of European countries (including the UK). In most cases this will include all EU nationals. However full funding may not be available to all applicants and you should read the full programme details for further information.

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