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Study Social and Political Science at the University of Edinburgh - funding opportunities available


About the Programme

Our School

The School of Social and Political Science (SPS) is home to more than 250 postgraduate research students. As a research student within SPS, you’ll be part of a dynamic and diverse academic community. 

Our interdisciplinary research cuts across traditional social science boundaries to bring together experts from across the School and wider University. 

With an SPS research degree, you will gain advanced training across the social sciences. We will equip you with the skills needed to make a significant contribution to the world of social science, and to tackle some of society’s most pressing challenges.

The University of Edinburgh is consistently ranked one of the best 50 universities in the world. We’re 16th in the 2022 QS World University Rankings.

Our Programmes

The PhD is an advanced research degree, which is a three-year (full-time) or six-year (part-time) programme, leading to a dissertation of 80-100,000 words on an original topic, researched and written under the expert supervision of academic staff.

We offer PhDs in:

·      African Studies

·      Global Health Policy

·      International Development

·      Politics

·      Science and Technology Studies

·      Social and Political Science

·      Social Anthropology

·      Social Policy

·      Social Work

·      Socio-Cultural Studies

·      Sociology

·      South Asian Studies

Prospective candidates are encouraged to explore the range of research and teaching expertise across the School.


PhD students participate actively in our lively research culture through research groups and centres, and through staff and student-led workshops and seminars.

The School provides training in research and professional skills. PhD students also benefit from the training and professional development offered by the Institute of Academic Development at the University of Edinburgh as well as the Scottish Graduate School for Arts and Humanities and the Scottish Graduate School of Social Science.


The School has access to a number of sources of PhD funding, including:

·      School Doctoral Scholarships

·      AHRC Scholarships within the Scottish Graduate School for Arts and Humanities

·      ESRC Scholarships within the Scottish Graduate School of Social Science

·      Funding competitions within the University of Edinburgh.

Ensure you visit the Important Information and Recommendations section before you apply.


How to apply

Before submitting applications for the PhD programme and for scholarships, you must identify and contact potential supervisors on the basis of their supervisory fit and expertise with your proposed research. Please advise you want to study with them and that you are applying for scholarships. Securing agreement in principle of their supervision is required for scholarship applications and your proactiveness strengthens your submission.

Once you have identified academic staff who are willing to supervise your project, they should be able to provide feedback on your draft research proposal. If you have further specific queries about the scholarship application, please contact the postgraduate advisor (admissions & scholarships) for your subject area. You should advise which scholarships you intend to apply for and send your draft research proposal. The postgraduate advisor (PGA) will then contact you with guidance at their soonest opportunity.

Note that you must not rely on receiving information from the PGA before submitting your application. If you have not had a response before the deadline, you are responsible for submitting your application before the scholarship application system closes. Late applications cannot be accepted.


Apply now

Funding Notes

Some or all of the PhD opportunities in this programme have funding attached. Applications for this programme are welcome from suitably qualified candidates worldwide. Funding may only be available to a limited set of nationalities and you should read the full programme details for further information.

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