SGSAH AHRC DTP Studentship FAQs

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What is the difference between SGSAH & the SGSAH AHRC Doctoral Training Partnership

SGSAH is the world’s first national graduate school in the Arts & Humanities. We are currently comprised of 16 Higher Education Institutions in Scotland plus core partners from the cultural and heritage sector. We exist to work in partnership to support world-leading doctoral training in the Arts & Humanities across Scotland. We aim to support our doctoral graduates to become well-networked leaders in whichever sector they choose to work, with the ability to use the skills gained through their training to make a real difference in the world.

The SGSAH AHRC Doctoral Training Partnership is the consortium of ten HEIs which has been awarded AHRC PhD studentships over the 5 years from 2018/19. All DTP members are also members of the SGSAH.


Am I eligible for an AHRC award through SGSAH?

Please see our page on how to apply for detailed information.

All applicants must be nominated by their lead-HEI to be eligible for an AHRC award. This will permit access to the second stage of the application process. Applicants must also meet UKRI residency criteria.

Both new and continuing PhD students may apply. To be eligible, continuing students must have at least 50% of their PhD programme (3.5 years full-time or 7 years part-time) remaining at the time funding begins in October each year. Funding will only be available for this remaining period. Students who are 'writing up/thesis pending’ are not eligible to apply.

The AHRC also expects that applicants to PhD programmes will normally hold, or be studying towards, a Masters qualification. If you are not in this position you may be able to use relevant professional experience to provide evidence of your ability to undertake independent research. See our guidance‌ for more details. 

If you have any queries about your eligibility, in particular your residency status, please contact the relevant postgraduate office or other point of contact in your nominating HEI, which will be able to advise you.


Are there Terms & Conditions attached to an award?

All AHRC awards are subject to the UKRI Terms and Conditions of Research Council Training Grants

You will also be required to complete our Leadership Programme during your studies, which is a developmental course that will equip our DTP doctoral researchers to become ethical leaders and influencers in whatever career path they choose. Topics covered include Equality & Diversity, Wellbeing, Communication, Fellowships, Grant Writing, Career Pathways, Publishing. Running through the Leadership Programme is our Annual Summer School, which offers more than 40 workshops delivered by our members over three days. As the core offer of our doctoral partnership and the mechanism through which we facilitate a peer community, participation is a requirement.


Can I apply if I have already begun studying at an SGSAH institution?

SGSAH is happy to receive applications from full-time PhD students in their first year of study, or part-time PhD students in their second year. After this, however, AHRC funding rules mean you are no longer eligible to apply for funding through us.


Can I apply to study part-time?

Yes, we accept applications for part-time study, normally at 50% of full time hours.


Can I have more than one supervisor?

Our expectation is that you will normally be supervised by a team of supervisors – at least two – drawn from across our membership. It is expected that you will be supervised by the best possible team. So, whilst you can only be nominated by one HEI, you could be supervised by a team from two or three HEIs from across our membership. You should discuss this with your proposed supervisor at your chosen nominating HEI.


My proposal requires extensive fieldwork. Will this affect how it is assessed?

No. We ask you to tell us at the point of application about any fieldwork and estimated costs to help us with our planning but forms no part of the assessment process. We also recognise that needs can arise throughout the period of an award and you are entitled to apply for additional funding at any point before your projected submission date.


How long is the award?

Funding is normally for three and a half years (full time equivalent). AHRC-funded students are required to complete their PhD programme within a maximum of four years from the start of the award for full-time or eight years for part-time, assuming the award is not suspended at any point. You must also be aware of and comply with your host HEI’s submission requirements, which may require a shorter submission period.


How do I apply?

Please see our section on how to apply. You should begin by contacting your chosen HEI(s) to discuss a proposal and application. 


How will my proposal be assessed?

Your application will be reviewed by a Panel of disciplinary reviewers. SGSAH DTP Executive will moderate panel reviews.

Our marking scheme & indicative criteria are contained at the end of our guidance documents, located here.


When will I find out if I have been successful?

We aim to make initial offers for awards starting in October 2021 in early-mid April 2021.


Can I apply to more than one Doctoral Training Partnership?

Yes. There is no limit to the number of applications you can make to other Doctoral Training Partnerships, so long as you meet the eligibility criteria.


What if I am nominated by more than one HEI?

You can apply to more than one HEI but you can only submit one application to the SGSAH DTP studentship competition in each year. If more than one HEI seeks to nominate you, you must choose the one you wish to be registered with as a doctoral researcher.  Please inform any other HEIs who have agreed to nominate you that you have decided not to accept their nomination or explore with them the possibility of a cross-HEI supervision arrangement.

We want to make sure you are supervised by the best team possible across our doctoral training partnership, with access to the best research environment and resources for your research project and professional development. The very best supervision may come from a team across HEIs. To support this, we have in place a co-supervision agreement and funding available to support travel costs where required. Where your supervisory team comes from across HEIs, one of the supervisors/HEIs will be designated the lead-HEI. This is the HEI at which you will be registered for study and from which you will graduate. The lead-HEI will be your nominating HEI and this HEI will support your final application to the SGSAH DTP competition. HEIs must be members of the SGSAH DTP.


Will my supervisor also be notified?

Yes. Your supervisor will also be notified of the decision.


I have not been successful. Can you advise me of other sources of funding?

We advise that you contact your nominating HEI in the first instance. They will have details of any grants, bursaries or scholarships available through your HEI and the application processes for these. They may also be able to direct you to other sources of funding support.

Further websites to look at are:


Can I delay the start of my study?

A key element of the success of the Doctoral Training Partnership is the development of a strong and connected cohort of doctoral researchers and so we expect that all studentships will begin in October each year. Once awards have been made, we may permit deferment in exceptional circumstances and depending on the status of the coronavirus pandemic.


Which subjects are covered?

The AHRC's subject guidance can be found via the link here. We have developed the further specific guidance set out below with the relevant partners.

AHRC/ESRC boundary
We are aware that some research proposals will be situated on the edge of Arts & Humanities & Social Science. Reflecting the approach taken by the AHRC and ESRC, both we and the Scottish Graduate School of Social Science are prepared to fund proposals which include elements that might plausibly be funded by the other School, including where supervisory teams cross disciplinary boundaries. On this basis, we do not expect a significant number of applications to be made to both Schools.

If applications are to be made separately to each School they should be appropriately tailored for each Graduate School with the linkages between disciplines made clear.

You can find a full list of primary subject areas in our guidance.


FAQ’s – For Successful applicants

I have been given an AHRC studentship; can I defer the start date?

AHRC regulations stipulate that AHRC DTP students must start on 1 October of the academic year awarded. In exceptional cases, a deferred start date within the same academic year may be agreed. Examples of exceptional are:

  • Illness or accident –where the student would be unable to start their studentship for medical reasons.
  • Exceptional personal circumstances – this includes bereavement and any other difficult personal circumstance that has rendered the student unable to start their studentship at the usual time
  • Maternity, Paternity or Adoption.

Any request which falls within these exceptional circumstances must be made in writing to admin@sgsah.ac.uk.


How will my tuition fees be paid?

Your host institution will be notified of your award and they will arrange payment of your tuition fees.


How will I receive payment of my stipend?

Your stipend will be paid through your host institution. Arrangements may differ depending on where you are studying. Please contact your own institution in the first instance.


How can I find out about SGSAH training and funding opportunities?

Check the website which is regularly updated with new opportunities.

Follow us on Twitter: @SGSAH


I have an idea for a collaboration with the SGSAH. How do I get involved?

Please contact the SGSAH directly by emailing enquiries@sgsah.ac.uk