Application FAQs

Are the studentships funded?

All studentships are funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC). For 2023/24, funding covers home tuition fees, and a yearly stipend (£19,668 for 2022/23) and project consumables (£5,000 over 3.5 years).
Field work costs may also be covered.
More detail can be found on the UKRI webpage.

How many studentships are you funding?

In 2023-24 we are offering 16 NERC-funded studentships. However, the call for applications is closed and we do no longer accept applications. The next call for application will go live in the autumn 2023.

How long are the studentships for?

The studentships are funded for 3.5 years.

What is the deadline?

The call for studentship applications to commence in 2023 is now long closed. Regrettably we do no longer accept applications. The next call for studentships will go live in the autumn 2023. 

How to apply?

Please note that our call is open from October-January each year. The next call will go live in the autumn 2023.


Can I apply for more than one project?

Yes, but if you are invited in for an interview, you must let the supervisor know that you have applied for more than one project.

How and when do I complete the Imperial Application Form?

When should I complete the Imperial Application form?
This depends on the supervisor's department. For the majority of departments, this is done after the SSCP DTP selection process. However, some departments require this to be completed at the point of application. On the projects page, we have indicated departments that may request the application form to be completed earlier, but please contact the lead supervisor who will confirm when the online Imperial application form should be completed.

I searched for the department/SSCP DTP in the Postgraduate Programme Search and can't find it

The SSCP does not appear in the search, you should use the lead supervisor's department. If your lead supervisor is based at a Host Partner institution (British Geological Survey; Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew; Natural History Museum; Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, UK Centre fo Ecology or Zoological Society of London), please input the Imperial College department of the second supervisor. 

Do I submit a Personal Statement or Research Proposal?

Please upload a Personal Statement. This can be 1-2 pages long.

 How do I complete the finance section?

 How are you intending to fund your studies?

 Step 1: select Scholarship from drop down menu – please only select ‘scholarship if you have applied for a scholarship’

 Step 2: select Non-Imperial from scholarship drop down menu

 Step 3: select NERC – SSCP DTP from name of scholarship drop down menu

 Step 4: type: £93,669* as the Award Amount

 Step 5: select: both from fees/maintenance drop down menu

 *this amount is based on 23/24 figures

I may not be able to send my references before the application deadline, what can I do?

The deadline for references to be received is actually set by the lead supervisor and their department. Please contact the supervisor of the project you are applying for and ask when they will last accept references.

I have more questions about the application form that are not covered here

If you have further questions about completing the form and the documents it requires, please contact the Registry Admissions team. You can find their contact information here.

Am I eligible?

There is a limited number of studentships for international students available. Please note, we expect keen competition for them and UKRI funding will not cover international fees set by universities.

To be classed as a home student, applicants must meet the following criteria:

• Be a UK National (meeting residency requirements), or
• Have settled status, or
• Have pre-settled status (meeting residency requirements), or
• Have indefinite leave to remain or enter

If a candidate does not meet the criteria above, they would be classified as an International student.
Further guidance on UKRI Eligibility Criteria can be seen here, in Annex One of the International Eligibility Guidance.
Candidates will also be expected to meet Imperial entry requirements and SSCP DTP requirements.

Where will I be based?

Students will be registered and based in the Imperial department of their supervisor.
If a project is with a partner institution, students will have the opportunity to work at their partner sites. Students who split their time between Imperial College London and a partner institution must be on site at Imperial for at least 2 months per year, as per PRI agreement.

Do I need to have a masters degree to apply?

You need a minimum of a bachelors degree to apply for these studentships. Please be aware of the Imperial College entry requirements as well. 
There is strong competition for our studentships and many of the applicants will already have a Masters degree.

Can I do the PhD programme part-time?

The PhD studentships can be full or part-time.  If you are interested in part-time studenship (minimum of  0.5FTE) this must be agreed in advance with the SSCP DTP Project Manager and the project supervisor. 

Can I do an MRes/Is this a 1+3 studentship?

No, we do not offer an MRes option or follow the 1+3 model. Our studentships are 3.5 years entirely at PhD level.

Are there work opportunities during the PhD?

There will be opportunities for additional work, which may include teaching within your department or work with the Grantham Institute.  

UKRI states for Teaching and Demonstration Work: Students may undertake teaching or demonstrating work when this is compatible with their training and provided that this is approved by their Supervisors. The total time spent (including preparation and marking) should not interfere with the progress of the doctorate. The amount of time is at Your and the Supervisor’s discretion, but it is recommended that this is no more than six hours in any week. It must not be compulsory and must be paid for at the usual rate and supported by appropriate training. Costs for demonstrating or teaching must not be taken from the Training Grant.

Current student demonstrator rates can be seen on the Imperial website.

Those on a tier 4 visa will also need to adhere to the rules on work hours.

When will I find out if my application has been successful?

After the deadline closes on 6 January, departments will have their internal processes. We expect you to hear if you have been successful in the first stage of selection at the end of January, 2023.

You’ll find out if you have been selected for a SSCP DTP studentship towards the end of February.