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ESRC Student-led Studentships

ESRC Student-led Studentships

Royal Holloway offers ESRC postgraduate studentships through SeNSS (South East Network for Social Sciences), a Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP) of ten universities.

Information on the SeNSS application process is available on the SeNSS website.

For October 2023 entry, you must notify the relevant academic department that you wish to be considered for a SeNSS scholarship by 9 January 2023 and complete a Royal Holloway College application to study for a research degree - each department will have their own deadline so it is essential you approach the Pathway Lead to discuss this with them as soon as possible. Information on how to apply to Royal Holloway can be found on our Admissions pages.

You can apply for funding to study for a Masters and PhD (1+3 award) or a PhD alone (+3).  All studentships can be offered on a full or part-time basis.

SeNSS studentships include a Research Council stipend of £19,668 (2022/23 rate) and cover UK tuition fees.  You will have access to research funds to support activities such as UK/overseas fieldwork, overseas institutional visits, difficult language training, placements etc.

ESRC pathways at Royal Holloway

Below is a list of all the ESRC accredited pathways at Royal Holloway, with the relevant academic lead.


Academic lead 

Email address

Phone number

Business & Management

Dr Philip Wu

+44 (0)1784 276287

Development Studies

Dr Vandana Desai

+44 (0)1784 443650


Professor Manolis Galenianos

+44 (0)1784 

Human Geography

Dr Sasha Engelmann

+44 (0)1784

Politics & International Relations

Dr Ivica Petrikova

+44 (0)1784


Professor Dawn Watling

+44 (0)1784 443706


Eligibility for ESRC funding

The ESRC has recently announced that studentships are open to both "home" and "international" students. 

To be classed as a home student, you 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 you do not meet the criteria above, you are classed as an international student.  Please note that the SeNSS DTP is limited by the ESRC to awarding approximately 12 studentships to international applicants each year. Fees for international applicants will not be any higher than the University’s home fee rate, which means that these fees will be paid for you, via your studentship award.

Additionally, successful international recipients of a UKRI studentship will receive a fee award from Royal Holloway covering the difference between UK fees and international fees.

Academic conditions

To apply for a Masters plus PhD (1+3) you will need: qualifications or professional experience equivalent to a Bachelors' degree (Honours).

To apply for a PhD only you will need: qualifications or professional experience equivalent to a Masters degree and which includes the required research methods training.

If you have already started a +3 PhD, you are eligible to apply for SeNSS funding, but only if you have not already completed a substantial proportion of your studies.  Please see the SeNSS FAQs page for further information: Application FAQs — SeNSS Doctoral Training Partnership (


ESRC funding at Royal Holloway is available only for the pathways listed on this page under 'Pathways'; research topics which do not fall under these areas are not eligible for ESRC funding.

Full details of eligibility are set out in the UKRI Grant Terms and Conditions and the ESRC Postgraduate Funding Guide, and advice can be obtained from

You should first read the information for prospective students on the SeNSS website and then talk to your potential supervisor about applying for an ESRC award.

The deadline for you to notify your Department that you wish to be considered for a SeNSS studentship is Monday 9 January 2023, 12:00 GMT.  You must have also completed a Royal Holloway College application to study for a research degree by this date.  Information on how to apply to Royal Holloway can be found on our Admissions pages.

If your supervisor, together with the relevant Pathway Lead, consider your application potentially suitable for SeNSS funding, you will be asked to complete an application on the SeNSS online application portal.  This must be completed by 12:00 GMT on Friday 20 January 2023.

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