Scholarships (DPhil)

The department offers some part and full scholarships to attract the very strongest students who would otherwise not be able to come and study in Oxford.

It is committed to developing the number of fully-funded studentships it can offer to DPhil students, given their importance to the department’s research culture. To be considered for any of these scholarships and studentships applicants MUST apply before the end of the January ‘gathered field’. These are all highly competitive, and require high quality well-crafted research proposals.

All eligible applicants for graduate study are automatically considered for the University’s prestigious Clarendon Scholarships and the ESRC studentships. All applicants are automatically considered for the departmental scholarships. There is no separate application process for any of these scholarships. You will be notified around the beginning of March if you are being considered for any of these funding opportunities.

ESRC studentships

As part of the Grand Union Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP), the department’s doctoral training pathway (the MSc in Education (Research Design and Methodology) programme leading to doctoral study) is recognised by the UK Economic and Social Research Council. The department is able to nominate students to be considered in the open competition. Only UK and EU students who satisfy the ESRC’s residency requirements are entitled to a full award, unless their proposal is in the field of Advanced Quantitative Methods (AQM). All nationalities of students may be eligible for AQM awards.

Applicants need to apply by January 19th, 2018. There is no need to make a separate application for ESRC funding : all EU and UK applicants for the MSc and/or the DPhil will be considered. Those applying to the MSc Education (Research Design and Methodology) and wishing to be considered for an ESRC 1+3 studentship should signal in their application their intention to continue to doctoral study. The strongest ESRC candidates are then invited to submit further application materials, and may be required to attend for a second interview.

Successful ESRC studentship candidates who have not completed a full suite of research training may be offered a 3.5 or 4 year award in order to complete the relevant Masters level courses.

For further information about the studentships, please visit the DTP website.

ESRC Grand Union collaborative doctoral studentship with the Edge Foundation

The Centre on Skills, Knowledge & Economic Performance (SKOPE) at the Department of Education is awarding an ESRC collaborative doctoral studentship in one of the following areas:
skills and their interaction with the labour market, work and the productive process; science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) instruction and use in the labour market; vocational education and training more generally (including apprenticeships); work experience across all stages of education. This studentship is co-funded by The Edge foundation and by the ESRC Grand Union Doctoral Training Partnership.

Applicants need to apply by January 19th, 2018. This studentship is available to full-time students who meet the ESRC residency requirements. Students would normally have an ESRC-accredited Masters degree.

Talbot scholarships

This scholarship fund is the result of a bequest to the department in honour of Ms Elfrida Talbot, who ran the first womens’ hostel for Education students in the University in the early years of the Twentieth century. It is normally used to part-fund a UK/EU doctoral student for three years who was seen as strong contender for an ESRC doctoral studentship. Strong contenders for ESRC studentships will be automatically considered for this scholarship: no separate application process is needed. This scholarship is usually offered once every three years.

Clarendon scholarships

The very strongest applicants for all our MSc and DPhil programmes are automatically considered for University Clarendon scholarships. There is no separate application process. These are highly competitive and each year only one or two of our students are successful. During our initial admissions screening, supervisors nominate applicants with outstanding academic records to be considered. These supervisors then prepare a supporting statement.  A departmental panel ranks these candidates and the Director of Doctoral Research puts forward a shortlist of the strongest applicants to the divisional committee.

Departmental studentships

The department is keen to attract the very strongest MSc students and encourage them to stay on for doctoral study. The shortlist will normally be made up of those students shortlisted for the Clarendon scholarships. Interviews and decisions will be made once the Clarendon awards are announced in March/April of each year.

Awards will vary in range, but will seek to make a significant contribution to the overall cost of fees. Successful candidates will be expected to make an active contribution to the academic and professional life of the doctoral students within the department. These scholarships may not be offered every year.

For 2018 entry the Department of Education will be offering 2 three-year Departmental Studentships of £15,000 per annum.


Scholarships are awarded on entry to the doctoral programme, not at any later point. If you are not awarded a scholarship in your first year, but elect to self-fund, you will be asked by the University to sign a declaration that you have the money to cover your fees and your living expenses for the first year. It should be noted that although you are only asked about the first year, it is extremely unlikely that you will acquire funding after that. There are no additional scholarships within the University for continuing doctoral students. The department in general and individual staff members work hard to bring in funding for doctoral students, but we cannot fund everybody. It is worth carefully considering which colleges might have scholarships for which you are eligible when you apply.

Most colleges will offer some very small grants for fieldwork, travel or conference attendance. These are in the region of a couple of hundred pounds at most.

You can work part time during your doctorate, subject to the requirements of your visa, but you must obtain the support of your supervisor to do so, and it can have detrimental effects on your progress. There are occasionally some paid research assistant posts within the department which are advertised to the doctoral cohort but these tend to be highly sought after. We do not have undergraduates so you are unlikely to be able to supervise as graduate students outside Education do.

There are some charitable trusts outside of the University to which you might be able to apply for some funding; we cannot keep track of all the potential requirements, so you should seek these out for yourself. However, they are not likely to be sufficient to cover fees and living expenses in their entirety.

Hardship funds (run by colleges) tend to be for ‘unexpected circumstances’; self-funders not getting any funding in second or subsequent years is not seen as unexpected. Both the university and the department have some limited funds for those writing up the final stages of their doctorate. These are highly competitive and there are always more requests than there is money to fulfil them.

This advice is not intended to put you off, but it is important for self-funders to have a realistic view.


Page last modified: May 16, 2018