ESRC SWDTP +3 and 1+3 Studentships: Security, Conflict, and Human Rights, for 2019 entry Ref: 3382

About the award

Pathway Lead: Prof Doug Stokes

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).

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

For the 1+3 studentships you would be required to register initially for the Masters programme in MRes Security, Conflict and Human Rights.

For the +3 studentships you would be required to register on the PhD Security, Conflict and Human Rights with the aim of conducting research in an area that aligns with the work of the ESRC.

To apply for SWDTP funding, you must do so by clicking on the ‘apply now’ button below. Only applications submitted via the 'apply now' button on this page will be considered for funding. Applying directly to your chosen programme of study at the University of Exeter will not constitute an application for funding. For more information on the application process, please see the How to Apply section below.


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.
Security, Conflict and Human Rights

This pathway connects with the ESRC's Research Challenge Security, Conflict and Human Rights. It recognises a broad array of approaches within security studies and will train researchers who are equipped with the interdisciplinary skills to impact the research, policy and practice needed to avoid and mitigate current and future security risks.

Globalisation has altered the security environment. Violence has shifted from organised inter-state war to protracted warfare fought by irregular units and local militias and changes in the international distribution of power are leading to new challenges to the post-War US-led liberal international order by non-Western states. Weak states are prone to collapsing, either by the fragmentation of authority, or by external intervention whilst  climate change, migration, radicalisation, humanitarian emergencies, terrorism or WMD proliferation, have all, to varying degrees help challenges national, regional and international security.

These awards help recognise that an important part in addressing the complex agenda of security governance is an inter-disciplinary pooling of knowledge and expertise that draws together sociological and socio-legal research on human rights, gender, violence and ethnopolitics; area studies expertise on language, culture and practice; and political and legal research on sovereignty, geopolitics and global regimes.

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