ESRC SWDTP +3 and 1+3 Studentships: Advanced Quantitative Methods (AQM), for 2019 entry Ref: 3371

About the award

Pathway Lead: Dr Gabriel Katz-Wisel

Location: Streatham Campus, University of Exeter, Exeter, Devon.

The College of Social Sciences and International Studies is pleased to be offering ESRC funded 1+3 or +3 studentships as part of the interdisciplinary pathways of the South West Doctoral Training Partnership for entry in 2018-19.  Your proposed research must be interdisciplinary with supervisors from two different disciplines at two different SWDTP partner Universities.

For eligible UK/EU students the full time studentship will cover fees and an annual Research Council stipend of approximately £14,777 (2018/2019 rate) for up to three years (+3 award) or four years (1+3 award).

For the 1+3 studentships you would be required to register initially for the Masters programme in MRes in Advanced Quantitative Methods.

For the +3 studentships you would be required to register on the PhD Advanced Quantitative Methods with the aim of conducting research in an area that aligns with the work of the ESRC.

The Consortium
The Universities of Bristol, Exeter and Bath have created the SWDTP, which draws together the established research excellence of more than 770 academic and research staff at the three institutions. The SWDTP has been accredited by the ESRC and the collaboration at the heart of it was recognised as adding value to the content and delivery of training, as well as to the research student experience.
Advanced Quantitative Methods (AQM)

What is it?
The AQM pathway offers +3 and 1+3 postgraduate research training in the application of advanced quantitative methods in the social sciences and health. The ESRC has designated AQM as a priority area, and the purpose of the pathway is to provide training and supervision that emphasizes quantitative methods to a higher level than is usually offered. Training includes a structured programme of core AQM courses and a fortnightly research and reading group.

The AQM pathway is for social scientists who wish to learn advanced quantitative methods both primary and secondary data analysis and apply these methods appropriately to answer particular substantive questions from their disciplines. This group includes social scientists interested in inter-disciplinary research involving the application of quantitative methods from one discipline (e.g. geography) to problems in another (e.g. politics).

The AQM pathway is also for statistically trained researchers whose interests are more methodological. Projects may involve applying statistical methods used in other disciplines to social science problems, or developing novel statistical methods for analysing social-science data.

Applications are welcome from those with backgrounds in social sciences with some training in quantitative methods, statistics or other related disciplines.

AQM is offered as an ESRC 1+3 and +3 pathway. For +3, applicants should have masters level training in a social science discipline, public health or statistics As students will have followed different disciplinary pathways in their masters years of doctoral training, the only prerequisite for AQM is a familiarity with intermediate-level quantitative techniques. For 1+3, the students will be required to demonstrate that their undergraduate course contained a substantial quantitative element (nominally 60 credit points, 30 European Credit Transfers) and that their dissertation included the use of quantitative methods. Applicants must be able to demonstrate that they are familiar with standard quantitative techniques within their field of study. Students will be selected on the basis of performance in previous quantitative methods courses (e.g. at undergraduate and masters levels). Students will have to provide a reference letter from a tutor who can assess their quantitative skills. It is also important that students have a solid grounding in the substantive discipline to which they wish to apply advanced quantitative methods. It is expected that this will be provided by the masters '+1' phase of their postgraduate training.

There are a range of relevant disciplines at Exeter linked to the pathway including:
Arab and Islamic Studies

Can international students apply?
All applicants from outside the UK are eligible for studentships including fees and stipends because the ESRC has relaxed its rules on eligibility in strategic areas like Advanced Quantitative Methods. However, ESRC have recently capped the number of international AQM students which can be funded and therefore only 1 place will be available each year.  Also, please note that applicants should check that they satisfy the English language entry requirements policy of the university to which they are applying (Bristol, Bath or Exeter).

We welcome applications to undertake research in any of our areas of expertise. Applications are particularly welcome in the following area:

1. Collaborative, Impact and Engagement Elements - important factors include relevant external partner identified, collaboration plan (with partner), impact and awareness of opportunities and challenges that external collaborations bring.

2. Ambitious and Novel Research Proposal - important factors include novelty/fresh ideas, new concepts / techniques with the potential for significant scientific or societal and economic impact, innovative or even untested methods within the context of the particular project, involve multiple or unusual disciplinary combinations both within and beyond the social sciences, and accessing difficult/challenging data or generating new data in challenging settings.

Entry requirements

Academic entry requirements:

Applicants for a +3 award should have:

• Completed, or be due to complete an ESRC-accredited or an equivalent research Masters* with a significant element of research training. Applicants may be asked for further information to determine the relevance of the content covered.

* An equivalent research Masters is defined as including significant social sciences research design, quantitative and qualitative research methods elements. The transcript will need to show that a minimum of a third of the taught stage of your programme entailed research methods elements. For students who have undertaken a Masters outside the UK we will look for appropriate equivalencies. All awards are subject to ratification by the “Awards and Ratification Committee”, who shall have the authority to reconsider the equivalence of any Masters awards.

• Achieved a current average grade of their Masters (at the point of application) normally of at least Merit (60%) grade. Successful applicants must ultimately achieve BOTH an overall average of at least 60% across the taught units/modules AND at least 60% for the dissertation component as a condition of their funding.

Holders of Masters degrees that are not considered equivalent (as above), must apply for the 1+3 award.

In the case of a 1+3 application, continuation of funding from the ‘1’ stage to the ‘+3’ stage of the programme will be subject to achieving 60% across the taught units / modules AND 60% for the dissertation component.  Students who fail to achieve these conditions may have their funding terminated and may be required to refund any money paid to them during the PhD portion of the programme.

Residency entry requirements: These studentships will be funded by the ESRC and are available to UK nationals and other EU nationals who have resided in the UK for three years prior to commencing the studentship. If you meet the criteria, funding will be provided for tuition fees and stipend. If you are a citizen of an EU member state and don’t meet the residency requirement you will be eligible for a fees-only award. For further guidance about eligibility please refer to the ESRC Postgraduate Funding Guide.

For more information on SWDTP entry and collaboration requirements, please read the Admission Statement & FAQs 2019 Entry.

How to apply

To apply for SWDTP funding, you must do so by clicking on the ‘apply now’ button above. Only applications submitted via this link will be considered for funding. Please do not apply directly to your chosen programme of study at this stage. If successful, your application for funding will become your programme application so you will not need to apply again.

You will need to upload the following documents to the studentship application form. Please note our preferred format is PDF, each file named with your surname and the name of the document, eg. “Smith – CV.pdf”, “Smith – Cover Letter.pdf”, “Smith – Transcript.pdf”:

• A completed SWDTP Student Statement Form. This will include your research proposal of 1,000 words including the name(s) of the potential supervisors. For 1+3 students it is recognised that this will be an outline proposal to be further developed during the first year of the studentship.

• CV

• 2 references:
       - 1 Supervisor Supporting Statement form – this must be completed by your nominated supervisor
       - 1 reference from someone familiar with your academic work
       -  if your referees prefer, they can email the reference direct to

• Verified transcript of your highest qualification to date or an interim transcript if you are still studying

• If you are not a national of a majority English-speaking country you will need to submit evidence of your proficiency in English (for further details, please see the University’s English language requirements)

Reference information
It is your responsibility to ensure that your supervisor and referee email their Supervisor Supporting Statement/references to, as we will not make requests for references directly; you must arrange for them to be submitted by 29 January 2019. Please note that applications with missing documentation will not progress to shortlisting.

References should be submitted to us directly in the form of a letter. Referees must email their references to us from their institutional email accounts. We cannot accept references from personal/private email accounts, unless it is a scanned document on institutional headed paper and signed by the referee.

All application documents must be submitted in English. Certified translated copies of academic qualifications must also be provided.

Interviews for short listed applicants will take place from 4-8 March 2019. The interviews will be held at the Universities of Bath, Bristol, Exeter, Plymouth, or West England. The location of interviews for this pathway will be confirmed post shortlisting. All shortlisted candidates for this pathway will be interviewed at the same venue, irrespective of the institution to which they have applied.

Data Sharing
During the application process, the University may need to make certain disclosures of your personal data to third parties to be able to administer your application, carry out interviews and select candidates.  These are not limited to, but may include disclosures to:

- The selection panel and/or management board or equivalent of the relevant programme, which is likely to include staff from one or more other HEIs;

- Administrative staff at one or more other HEIs participating in the relevant programme.

Such disclosures will always be kept to the minimum amount of personal data required for the specific purpose. Your sensitive personal data (relating to disability and race/ethnicity) will not be disclosed without your explicit consent.


Application deadline:29th January 2019
Value:£14,777 per annum for 2018-19
Duration of award:per year
Contact: PGR Enquiries