Application process

The AHRC DTP Studentship 2016/17 competition is closed. Studentship awards will be announced by 27 April 2016 at the latest. It is your responsibility to check your email account regularly prior to (&, if necessary, on) 27 April 2016 to see if a studentship offer has been made to you.

Applicants for an AHRC DTP studentship must be nominated by one of the consortium’s Higher Education Institutions, known as the ‘host HEI’. All applicants must hold a conditional or unconditional offer of a place on a PhD programme at the host HEI before submitting their application through the on-line system. Each member of the SGSAH consortium may set their own internal deadlines so please ensure that you speak to the relevant HEI as soon as possible.

You can only apply from one of our member HEIs, to avoid being in competition with yourself. However, SGSAH encourages cross-HEI supervision arrangements. If there are supervisors at more than one of our HEIs which would provide support to your research proposal, we encourage you to approach them to discuss a cross-HEI supervision arrangement.

In addition to the electronic application you will be required to upload three PDF documents:

  • Institutional Statement of Support 2016-17
  • Your conditional or unconditional offer of a place on the PhD programme
  • Transcript(s) of your previous qualifications (please note that these must be provided in English & that any translations must be certified)

Guidance on completing the AHRC DTP Scotland application form

General note

Please note that the application form will automatically cut off entries over the stated word limits.

Personal details

This section asks you to provide contact information.  We will normally contact you by email so please ensure you use an address you check regularly & which will be available to you at least until May 2016.  Studentship awards will be announced by 27 April 2016 at the latest. Applicants offered a studentship must confirm their acceptance of it by 11 May 2016 at the latest. It is your responsibility to check your email account regularly prior to (&, if necessary, on) 27 April 2016 to see if a studentship offer has been made to you. If no response is received from you to such an offer by the deadline, the studentship will be allocated to another applicant.  You may be informed that you are on a reserve list.  We cannot tell you whether you are likely to receive a studentship in this case; it depends entirely on whether other applicants accept their awards.


This section asks you to confirm whether you are eligible for a full studentship or for fees-only.  Please check the guidance on Eligibility here for more information before commencing your application.  If you are unsure about your eligibility, we advise you to contact the postgraduate office at your nominating HEI for advice & guidance at an early stage in the process.

Subject Panel(s) of PhD Project

SGSAH studentships are assessed by four panels.  Their coverage is set out here.  Please indicate which panel covers your proposal. Please note that you should only select two panels if two of the members of your supervisory team come from disciplines covered by different panels. There is no advantage or disadvantage to selecting one panel rather than two. If you are unsure which Panel covers your proposal, please seek the advice of your proposed supervisor(s).

Please ensure that you complete the subject box. You may choose up to two subjects for your research proposal.

Qualifications/Relevant professional experience


This section requires you to complete the year, & if appropriate, grade, of your qualifications.

Please note: The AHRC expects applicants to have completed or to be studying towards a Masters qualification.  If you are not in this position you must use the ‘Relevant Professional Experience’ section to provide evidence that the training & development you have received is equivalent to that obtained through a Master’s course &, therefore, prepares you to continue to doctoral study.

Relevant professional experience (300 words maximum)

This section of the form is designed only for those applicants who have not already achieved, & are not working towards, relevant academic qualifications.  Whilst we do not wish to discriminate against applicants who might not previously have had the opportunity to study at postgraduate level, you should be aware that a doctoral degree is a rigorous training at a high academic standard.  If you are completing this section of the application, you should make it very clear how your previous professional experience has prepared you in particular for the independent research element of your proposed area of study.

Your application will only receive marks for one of these two sections. If you complete both, the higher of the two marks will go forward with your application.

Research context, methods & sources (500 words maximum)

This section must describe your proposal.  We are seeking original, innovative, cogent & coherent proposals, which are well-written in their entirety.  The research question(s) should be clear & researchable.  The methodology should be demonstrably appropriate & the whole proposal well-grounded in current literature &/or practice.  Reviewers are academics with experience of evaluating research proposals; their membership does not, however, necessarily include anyone with a detailed or highly specialist knowledge of your specific subject area.  It is therefore important that you write in a way that allows non-subject-specialists to come to a clear understanding of your proposed research.  

Please note that the word count is automatic so any references/bibliography included will reduce the space you have available to describe your proposal.

Knowledge Exchange, Public Engagement & Research Impact (300 words maximum)

This section should describe your plans for knowledge exchange & public engagement in relation to your proposal, together with early plans to realise the impact of your research.  The UK Research Councils want to encourage researchers to be actively involved in thinking about how they will achieve excellence with impact & to explore the pathways for realising impacts.   We recognise that research impact takes time to develop & that, particularly at the outset of a research degree, the extent to which impact can be predicted may be limited.  Therefore in addition to early plans for realising research impact this section allows you to outline opportunities for public engagement & knowledge exchange.

Please note that we use the RCUK definition of impact here. More information on the AHRC’s approach to impact can be found on its website here.

When we ask you to describe the impact your research might have, we are not asking you to answer your research question(s) or to anticipate the results of your research. Instead we are asking you to consider more broadly who both within & beyond academia may be interested in &/or benefit by your research & its findings; & to describe what methods you might use to engage with these people or groups during & after your research.

You might find these questions helpful in thinking about impact:

  • What is happening – or not happening – now that you think your research findings could help to change?
  • Who might be interested or involved in delivering or experiencing the change that may happen as a result of your findings?
  • Why would these communities be interested? How might they benefit?
  • How will you engage/communicate/network with these communities?
  • How would you demonstrate/evidence any changes & the link back to your research findings, bearing in mind that you will be able to apply for funding to develop impact?

Preparedness for study (400 words maximum)

Please demonstrate how your previous study &/or professional experience &/or professional development have prepared you for this particular doctoral project. This might include reference to your Masters dissertation topic, specific methodological training, employment as a Research Assistant, employment in a relevant occupation etc.

Evidence of relevant prizes, awards, grants or publications should also be included here. You should include an indication of the significance of the prize or award - for example 'I was awarded the [name] prize for English, coming first from over [number] applicants' or 'I successfully applied for the [name] grant for young musicians, receiving support of £[amount].  This fund is awarded by a panel of internationally-renowned musicians & receives [number] applications annually ' or 'I have published a journal article in the internationally peer-reviewed journal [title]'.

You should also use this section to tell us why you are a suitable candidate for an SGSAH studentship. Please indicate how the SGSAH offer fits with your career aspirations, training needs & capacity to contribute to wider debate on doctoral training in the Arts & Humanities.

Training needs assessment (300 words maximum)

This information will not be used in the assessment process.

The SGSAH expects all AHRC funded students to undertake some advanced inter/disciplinary training as well as transferable skills training. To assist the SGSAH with training plans, please consider your additional training needs for this research project. These should be expressed in relation to the Vitae Researcher Development Framework.

The AHRC’s 'Doctoral Research Training Framework' may be found here. In this document, the AHRC has provided links to various resources for doctoral students, & has built upon the RCUK ‘Statement of Expectations for Doctoral Training’. The Framework identifies a number of key areas in which it expects universities to provide training for Arts & Humanities doctoral students, & it encourages students to seek opportunities for developing these skills. Additional related information may be found on the AHRC’s Research Careers & Training webpage found here.

AHRC studentships have the additional benefit of Student Development Funding (SDF).  This is a key benefit of ARHC funding and is available to extend the duration of PhD studentships flexibly & responsively – i.e. to support an appropriate range of training for individual AHRC-funded students according to their individual needs. It can also be used to support additional costs associated with training, e.g. travel, equipment, & SGSAH funded students can apply for SDF funding to support the realisation of impact of their research.

You are strongly encouraged to read the Student Development Funding guidance at & discuss your potential training needs with your supervisor before applying for an ARHC studentship, to make full use of this opportunity. Whilst you may apply for SDF throughout your period of study, we would normally expect some types of SDF use – for instance, an international placement.

Fieldwork (100 words maximum)

This information will not be used in the assessment process.

Please set out here any fieldwork that is necessary to the completion of the project.  We recognise that the need for fieldwork may become apparent during doctoral research; where it is an essential & foreseeable part of a proposal you should include it here.  Please indicate how you intend to fund this ie through Student Development Funding; University funds; other source (please specify).  

Nominating Member of Staff & Email

Please provide a name & contact for your nominating institution. This should normally be the person who signs the nominating form.
For guidance on the Institutional Statement of Support please see our webpages here.

To subscribe to our applicant mailing list for 2016 please email with SUBSCRIBE 2016 in the title of the email. We will use this to send reminders about deadlines & any other updates as they become available. We will not share your email address with anyone else.  We may use it to ask you for feedback about the application process.  We will delete the applicant list 6 months after the online portal closes.

The AHRC DTP Studentship 2016/17 competition is now closed. Studentship awards will be announced by 27 April 2016 at the latest. It is your responsibility to check your email account regularly prior to (&, if necessary, on) 27 April 2016 to see if a studentship offer has been made to you.