Aberystwyth University AberDoc PhD Scholarship, UK

Publish Date: Dec 30, 2015

Deadline: Mar 01, 2016

Aberystwyth University AberDoc PhD Scholarship

Aberystwyth University's AberDoc PhD scholarship scheme offers a package of research and training for full-time PhD students. These awards are tailored to enable students to develop the necessary skills required to meet their career choices and offer a breadth of development opportunities to enhance their research, teaching and transferable skills.

To be eligible you must:

  1. have or expect to obtain at least upper second class honours in your first degree
  2. apply and be offered a place for doctoral study at Aberystwyth
  3. achievement of 7.0 in IELTS, or equivalent, as the normal case, for non-UK students (before the end of March 2016 at the latest)
  4. be commencing your doctoral study in September 2016

The University's general deadline for the 2016 competition is the 1st March 2016.

N.B. Please note that the deadline for the Departments of Geography & Earth Sciences, International Politics, History & Welsh History,Psychology and Theatre, Film & Television Studies is 29th January 2016.

Value of AberDoc Scholarships

Successful candidates will receive a grant for up to three years which will cover their tuition fees (up to the UK/EU rate of £4,052)** and also provide them with a maintenance allowance of approximately £14,057 per annum** and access to a travel and conference fund (max. £500 per annum). Scholarships commence from the main intake: September 2016. 

Non-EU students would have to cover the difference between UK/EU tuition fees and the non-EU tuition fees (approx. £8,198 to £8,448) from their scholarship. However, there will be 3 additional President's Scholarships, which cover this difference in tuition fees. These will be awarded to the three highest ranked non-EU candidates for the AberDoc competition. 

All doctoral research students are able to undertake teaching and would be provided with an HR contract to enable this to happen easily, and will be recorded as staff members for this purpose.   Payment will be according to the rate for hourly teaching staff.    Other opportunities for paid work may also be available,  such as research support, marking,  student recruitment and support activities.

The Competition

The application to study for a PhD must be received by the relevant closing date. There are no additional forms for applicants to complete for this competition. Decisions will be based on the application to study for a PhD and the nomination by the relevant department. Applications must include an application form, two academic references, academic transcripts and a research proposal (1000 to 1500 words). No other forms are required. We encourage applicants to contact the relevant academic department before constructing their research proposal.

Departments will interview all applicants before a decision is made to offer a place to study for a PhD and to nominate for an AberDoc Scholarship. Each Department will submit a list of their nominees to their respective Institutes for further assessment before a final nominee list for each Institute is decided upon. 

Institutes will then forward their nominations to our AberDoc Selection Panel, via the PG Admissions (AQRO), at the end of March for evaluation. The results will be announced during the first week of May. Selection for the above awards will be based on the application for admission, including research proposal and two academic references. 

The regulations and criteria below that pertain to these studentships may be accessed from this page. These regulations are subject to annual review.

For application forms and further details please contact the Postgraduate Admissions Office [pg-admissions@aber.ac.uk]

N.B. All application materials (e.g. forms, research proposals, references, transcripts,...) must be submitted electronically.

N.B. Academic references must be received by the deadline.

N.B. Applicants who are applying separately for an AHRC award via the SWW DTP site, should use one of our off-line options if also applying for AberDoc funding.

N.B. Departmental Nominees only will be required to complete an additional for the final stage of the competition.

Provisional Terms & Conditions (subject to confirmation as currently subject to annual review)
Regulations for Aberystwyth‘s Doctoral Career Development Scholarship (DCDS) Scheme 2015


To be eligible to hold a scholarship, successful applicants must register as full-time postgraduate students for the degree of either PhD or PhDFA at Aberystwyth i.e. for a doctoral degree. Applicants should normally have obtained or expect to obtain at least upper second class honours in their first degree.  See also paragraph 5 below.


Scholarship holders must pursue their research and be resident in Aberystwyth for at least 44 weeks of the year. Where a scholarship holder wishes to spend a significant period away from Aberystwyth (e.g. for extended fieldwork) the permission of the appropriate Pro Vice-Chancellor must be obtained.

Period of Award

Subject to satisfactory progress confirmed annually by departmental and Institutional Research Monitoring Committees, scholarships are normally tenable for a period of up to three years, beginning at the start of the session after the competition, i.e. September.  Deferral of an award is possible only in exceptional circumstances and with the permission of the Head of the Graduate School. Where candidates have already begun research degrees before receiving an AberDoc award, the scholarship will cover the remainder of the registration period and not the full three years. Continuation of awards in each new session is subject to satisfactory progress.

Level of Award

UK/EU tuition fees will be paid and a maintenance award will be offered taking account of current UK Research Council scholarship rates.  However, the AberDoc awards will not necessarily be of the same value as UK Research Council awards.  There will be a common figure for all full-time students receiving AberDoc awards.  Studentship holders may apply for a limited amount of assistance towards meeting the cost of fieldwork, attendance at conferences, or other travel.  There is no provision for additional allowances for dependants.  Other research costs such as for postal surveys, consumables in experimental work etc must be met by the student’s own department.

Research Council and Other Awards

All applicants for the AberDoc scholarships are also strongly encouraged to seek other sources of funding including UK Research Council awards (where applicable) to be held at Aberystwyth, where these are available, including EU students eligible for fees-only UK Research Council awards.  Academic departments and the Postgraduate Admissions Office will advise applicants on their options. .Applicants who subsequently secure Research Council funding must notify the Postgraduate Admissions Office as soon as possible and if it is a full-scholarship, then relinquish the AberDoc award.   Applicants within the ESRC remit who hold or are undertaking a Specialist Master’s degree need not apply for the 1+3 ESRC award which would require them to take a second Master’s (Research Training) degree.  These students would be required to undertake research training while registered for the PhD.

Successful candidates for AberDoc awards who are subsequently offered UK Research Council or other similar awards must surrender the AberDoc award.  In the event that a student surrenders an AberDoc award to take up UK Research Council or other awards of lesser value, the University will ensure that the student will not be disadvantaged.  Thus, where a student accepts a fees-only UK Research Council award, the University will pay maintenance at the AberDoc rate.  Except with the permission of the Pro Vice-Chancellor, no other awards may be held concurrently with an AberDoc award.

Teaching and Other Paid Work

With the approval of their Head of Department, scholarship holders are permitted, if they so wish, to undertake teaching or demonstrating duties.   Additional payments may be made to those who undertake this extra work within the University.  A zero-hours contract will be drawn up by AU’s Human Resources for such eventualities Any such duties (including preparation and associated assessment) should not exceed six hours in any one week or not more than 180 hours per Academic Session (whichever is the greater) in accordance with UK Research Council guidelines.  Scholarship holders who undertake teaching duties will be required to attend such courses as may be deemed appropriate by the Head of the Graduate School. Apart from such duties, scholarship holders may not undertake any other remunerated work without the permission of the Pro Vice-Chancellor.

Temporary and Permanent Withdrawal

If a scholarship holder withdraws permanently from the University, all rights to his or her studentship are thereby forfeited. In addition, an award holder who withdraws from the University will be required to refund that proportion of the quarterly maintenance award which has already been received for the remainder of the quarter in which he or she has withdrawn. No further maintenance payments can be made once an individual has withdrawn.  Students who are forced to withdraw temporarily from their studies may, with the permission of the Head of the Graduate School, have their awards suspended until they are able to resume their studies.

Changes of circumstances

It is the responsibility of all students themselves to inform the Postgraduate Admissions Office and directly of any change in their circumstances, e.g. temporary withdrawal, receipt of other funding, which affect their entitlement to hold a studentship, at the earliest opportunity. Failure to do so may lead to a loss of the award and recovery of monies paid.

A copy of these regulations and the selection criteria used by the AberDoc selection panel in deciding which applicants should receive awards shall be sent to successful candidates by the Postgraduate Admissions Office. Successful candidates should also note their responsibilities for their work which are outlined in the University's Code of Practice for Research Postgraduates and Rules & Regulations.  No other terms or conditions shall apply.

Students awarded an ABerDoc award shall be notified to the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales and the Higher Education Statistics Agency as postgraduate students.

AberDoc award holders may be asked to participate in questionnaires, market research, interviews and support for recruitment activities.

Aberystwyth University reserves the right to withdraw a scholarship or to amend the terms on which it is held. In exceptional circumstances, it may recover monies already paid.

Criteria to guide the award of scholarships

1.   Evidence of the candidate’s potential as a research student
• Relevant undergraduate work and/or performance at Master’s degree level
• Other evidence of success in research-type activity

2.   The contribution which the proposed study would make to the Department’s research profile and research aims
• Extent of ‘fit’ with Departmental research interests and priorities, including the prospective supervisor and how the proposed research topic is related to staff and research group expertise.

3.   Candidate’s career development
• An identified element of contribution to the student’s career development and to the Department, backed up by appropriate training

4.   Quality of the research proposal
• Clarity of research aims and objectives
• The proposal is grounded within the relevant academic discipline(s).
• Appropriate methodological approaches have been considered and resources are in place in the department to support the methodology
• The proposed research has the potential to make an original contribution to scholarship in its field

5.   Judgements on the candidate’s proposal and his/her potential as a researcher
• Reports of referees.  Please note that the memo from the Postgraduate Admissions Office asks for two academic references on each candidate.
• Evidence of why the proposal was prioritised by the relevant Departmental committee
• Evidence that the candidate is capable of completing the proposed thesis within the required deadline

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