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Postgraduate Study - PhD and Research Degrees

ESRC South West Doctoral Training Partnership (SWDTP)

Applications for October 2023 are now open.

The Universities of Bristol, Exeter, Bath, Plymouth and West England have formed one of the UK’s largest Centres of postgraduate research training for social scientists in fields ranging from economics and human geography to quantitative methodology and psychology. 

Together, the five Universities educate over 5,000 masters and 1,600 doctoral students in the social sciences. The Centre draws on the established research excellence of the partners, including the expertise of more than 750 social science research staff. This represents one of the largest groupings of social scientists in the UK.

The Economic and Social Research Council has granted doctoral training partnership status to the collaboration. The South West Doctoral Training Partnership (SWDTP) has been accredited to offer a hub of world-class social sciences research. As one of only 14 Partnerships in the UK, the SWDTP is part of a national network which will train a new generation of social scientists. The SWDTP has been allocated 45 studentships per annum.

The SWDTP offers +3 training where students register for a three-year PhD programme, and 1+3 training which includes one year of research training through a Masters programme followed by a three-year PhD programme.

Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), South West Doctoral Training Partnership Studentship (SWDTP) Q and A Session

If you would like information there will be two Q&A sessions held on zoom at Exeter to answer any further questions you may have:

  • Friday 25th November 2022 - 10.00-11.00*
  • Friday 6th January 2023 - 10.00 - 11.00*

There are several fully-funded studentships from the ESRC available through twelve disciplinary pathways that span the social sciences and five innovative interdisciplinary pathways, to offer students the broadest possible approach to their studies with us.  Further application information and documentation can be found on the SWDTP website.

The Q&A session will give you an opportunity to: 

  • Find out more about the SWDTP and PhD study at the University of Exeter
  • Get advice on how to write a strong application for funding
  • Learn more about the application process for studentships
  • Ask any questions you have about SWDTP Studentships and studying at Exeter

*Please contact to confirm your attendance for the virtual information session, indicating the date of the session you would like to attend.

Please aslo include a few details about the subject area you are interested in and any supervisor that you have been in contact with or are planning to get in contact with.

Closing date

The closing date for applications is 12 noon GMT, Friday 13th January 2023.

Find out more about the SWDTP.

Collaboration, Impact and Placements.

The South West Doctoral Training Partnership has created a number of new and innovative training pathways which aim to tackle current national and international research priorities.

The following research training pathways are available at the University of Exeter. All programmes are available at the Streatham Campus in Exeter unless otherwise stated.

Disciplinary pathways Programmes available
Area and Development Studies MRes Middle East Studies
Arab and Islamic Studies MPhil/PhDs:
MPhil/PhD Arab and Islamic Studies
MPhil/PhD Ethno-political Studies
MPhil/PhD Kurdish Studies
MPhil/PhD Middle East Politics
MPhil/PhD Palestine Studies
Business and Management MRes Management
Economic and Social History

MPhil/PhD History (Streatham Campus, Exeter and Penryn Campus, Cornwall)

Economics  MSc Economics
MSc Economics and Econometrics 
MSc Behavioural Economics and Finance
MSc Financial Economics
Education  MSc Educational Research (St Luke's Campus, Exeter)
MPhil/PhD Education and Four Year PhD Education (St Luke's Campus, Exeter)
Human Geography

MRes Critical Human Geographies 
MPhil/PhD Human Geography (Streatham Campus, Exeter and Penryn Campus, Cornwall)

Politics MRes Politics
MPhil/PhD Politics and International Relations 
MPhil/PhD Politics and International Relations (Cornwall Campus)
MPhil/PhD European Politics
Psychology MSc Psychological Research Methods
MSc Social and Organisational Psychology
MPhil/PhD Psychology
Socio-legal Studies MRes Socio-Legal Research
MPhil/PhD Law
Sociology MRes Science and Technology Studies
MPhil/PhD Sociology
Interdisciplinary pathways Programmes available
Advanced Quantitative Methods MRes Advanced Quantitative Methods
MPhil/PhD Advanced Quantitative Methods
Sustainable Futures MRes Sustainable Futures (Penryn Campus, Cornwall)
MPhil/PhD Sustainable Futures
MPhil/PhD Sustainable Futures (Penryn Campus, Cornwall)
Global Political Economy

MRes Global Political Economy

MPhil/PhD Global Political Economy

Health and Wellbeing MRes Health and Wellbeing (St Luke's Campus)
MPhil/PhD Health and Wellbeing (St Luke's Campus)
Security, Conflict and Human Rights MRes Security, Conflict and Human Rights
MPhil/PhD Security, Conflict and Human Rights

Further information can be found on the South West Doctoral Training Partnership’s webpages.