ESRC SWDTP +3 and 1+3 Studentships in Advanced Quantitative Methods (AQM) Ref: 2860

About the award

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 £14,553 (2017-18 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).

Academic entry requirements: For the 1+3 programme students must have a strong first degree (at least an Upper Second Class Honours or equivalent) in a relevant discipline. Candidates for the +3 programme must, in addition, have (or be about to complete) a research Masters degree in a relevant discipline or have equivalent research training. Personal qualities should include the ability to work independently and the motivation necessary to complete a PhD in three years.


Application deadline:30th January 2018
Value:£14,553 per annum plus tutition fees for eligible students
Duration of award:per year
Contact: Doctoral

How to apply

Please upload the following documents to the studentship application form

  • CV
  • Covering letter outlining your academic interests, any prior research experience and reasons for wishing     to undertake this project, as well as a research training statement
  • Research proposal of 1,000 words including the name(s) of the potential supervisors. We are particularly encouraging proposals that include a collaborative element with an external (non-academic) private, public or civil society sector organization. For 1+3 students it is recognized that this will be an outline proposal to be further developed during the first year of the studentship. To download the research proposal form please click here.
  •  2 references from referees 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).
  • Interviews for short listed applicants will take place from 5-9 March 2018, venue will be either Bath, Bristol or Exeter, to be confirmed post shortlisting.

The information you provide as part of your application will be shared with other institutions in the partnership for purposes of shortlisting and interviewing.Please note that, as interviews are being held across the partnership, you may not be interviewed at the institution you are applying to. The University of Exeter will hold an information day for applicants nearer the interviews, further information coming soon