Apply to the London NERC DTP

OverviewEligibilityDocumentationApplyAfter you apply Meet our studentsContact us

Application timeline

November 6th 2023 at 1pm – Applications open.
January 4th 2024 at 11:59pm – Application deadline. 
January 10th 2024 at 5pm – Reference deadline.
Early/ Mid-February 2024 – Interviews will be held.
Mid-March 2024 – Offers confirmed. 

If you have not received confirmation of your application submission and/or references, please contact the DTP office (

Brief programme overview 


Applications to the London NERC DTP programme are not for a specific project, but for a research theme. The projects listed on the site under exemplar projects are to provide you with details on what is potentially on offer if you were to be accepted to the DTP, however there is also the option of developing your own projects with DTP academics. It is expected that students will meet with potential supervisors to discuss and develop their project ideas during the first term of their PhD training.

All students will undertake an intensive programme of interdisciplinary core research and professional development training the autumn and spring terms. At the end of term 1, all students will submit a choice of two equally attractive project titles of which they will be allocated one. At the end of term 2, students will present their PhD project plans to the rest of their cohort before joining their primary research institution to begin their project.

More programme details can be seen here.

Our list of exemplar projects can be viewed here. If there aren’t any projects listed under your chosen theme do not be discouraged from applying, applicants are encouraged to develop their own projects over the course of the first term and are not limited to the projects on the exemplar list. 

DTP partner institutions and departments

Birkbeck, University of London: Department of Earth & Planetary Sciences, Department of Geography.
Brunel University London: Centre for Pollution Research and Policy
Institute of Zoology: All departments/units. 
King’s College London: Department of Geography, Department of Analytical, Environmental & Forensic Sciences, Department of Population Health Sciences.
Natural History Museum: Earth Sciences Department, Life Sciences Department, Core Research Facilities.
Queen Mary University of London: School of Biological and Behavioural Sciences, School of Geography.
Royal Holloway, University of London: Department of Biological Sciences, Department of Geography.
University College London: Anthropology, Institute of Archaeology, Earth Sciences, Genetics, Evolution & Environment, Geography, Mathematics, Physics & Astronomy, Space and Climate Physics, Statistical Science, Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction. 

Academic requirements:

Applicants must hold, or be expected to achieve, a upper second-class undergraduate honours degree or equivalent (for example BA, BSc, MSci) or a Masters degree in a relevant subject. Please contact the DTP office if you require further guidance.

The London NERC DTP aims to recruit PhD students from a diverse range of backgrounds. Our selection process looks at both academic and professional experience, and we do not consider a Masters degree a requirement for application to a London NERC DTP studentship.

Funding eligibility: 

Applicants that qualify for Home fee status are eligible for stipend and will have their fees covered. 

Applicants that qualify for Overseas fee status are also eligible for stipend and will have their fees covered. However, the London NERC DTP is only able to offer a very limited number of studentships to applicants who qualify for overseas fee status. 

We are not currently able to cover the costs of students visas or relocation costs, so this should be considered when applying.

If you are unsure what fee status you qualify for, please contact the DTP office. Further guidance can also be found here

English language requirements:

If English is not your first language and you are not a national of a country deemed by either the UK Home Office or UCL to be “majority English speaking”, you must be able to provide recent evidence that your spoken and written command of the English language is adequate for the programmes for which you have applied.

Please be aware that the English language level for this programme is: Good

Please see further information here

It is your responsibility to ensure that all documents (including references) are submitted on time. Late and/or incomplete applications may not be considered.

Along with the application form, all applicants need to submit supporting documents by the January deadline. You should start the process of completing your application and making contact with your referees as early as possible. Be aware that you may need to give your institution(s) and referees plenty of notice of the deadline.

Your application cannot receive consideration until you provide all supporting documentation.

We would suggest typing up and saving your personal statement, and any other longer answers to questions in a word document. This will mitigate for losing any material should there be any possible technical issues upon submission. 

Curriculum vitae
(2 page maximum):

The London NERC DTP is dedicated to unbiased assessment of applications; please ensure your CV does not contain your name, gender, age, sexuality, disability, religion, marital status, date of birth, or any photos. If you upload a CV containing personal details of this nature they will be removed from your application.

Personal statement (1200 words maximum):

Part 1: Please explain your motivation for undertaking a PhD. Describe why you are a good fit to the London NERC DTP programme and the opportunities provided by the programme’s partners. Please provide information on your research interests and your choice of research theme. (no more than 400 words)

Part 2: Discuss why you are a strong candidate, drawing upon evidence from your background, skills and experience. We are particularly interested to hear about your: academic performance, capacity for creative thinking, and ability to organise workload, engage with constructive feedback, and overcome challenges. Please include any other information you think may be relevant. (no more than 800 words)

If you have identified any exemplar PhD projects/DTP partner academic’s work of interest to you, you may wish to mention these in your personal statement.

Your personal statement will be submitted in the application form. We would suggest typing up and saving your personal statement, and any other longer answers to questions in a word document. This will mitigate for losing any material should there be any possible technical issues upon submission. 

Academic transcript/s:

If your degree has been awarded you will be required to provide a copy of your official final transcript that confirms your date of award/conferral. If this is not present on your transcript you should also upload a copy of your degree certificate or official proof of award.

If your degree is in progress, we will require a copy of your current transcript.


Before we can give full consideration to your application, we will need to receive two academic references. If you have been out of education for a long time we will accept non-academic references. We prefer to receive references from valid institutional/organisational email addresses, however we do understand that in some cases this may not be possible.

A link to the referee form will automatically be sent to your selected referees when you submit your application, however we encourage applicants to share the link to this form with their referees in advance to give them time to complete the form, especially if you are considering submitting close to the application deadline. Please direct referees to this page to complete your reference: References may be completed in advance of submitting your application.

After applications close


We will call the shortlisted candidates for interview. Interviews are typically held in London in mid-February, however we are able to offer remote interviews too. There will be an interview panel consisting of 3/4 members of the DTP consortium.


We will make offers shortly after interview. The deadline for all applicants to decide whether or not to accept an offer is in March. If you decide to turn the offer down your place will be offered to a candidate on the reserve list.

Universal acceptance deadline for NERC DTP and CDT studentships:

All NERC Doctoral Training Partnerships (DTPs) and Centres for Doctoral Training (CDTs) have agreed to adhere to an annual universal acceptance deadline for PhD studentship offers. For the 2024/25 intake this date is Wednesday (date to be confirmed) March 2024 at 12pm (noon).

The purpose of the annual universal acceptance deadline is to ensure that PhD applicants who have applied for multiple studentship opportunities, and may therefore receive multiple offers, do not have to make a decision on the studentship they wish to accept before knowing the outcome of all of their applications.

Applicants who receive a PhD studentship offer from a NERC DTP or CDT for the 2024/25 academic year are therefore not required to accept an offer formally before this date unless they wish to do so.

After the universal acceptance date has passed, we will then make a recommendations for PhD study to the university, and you will be required to complete a UCL application form. A formal offer letter will be sent by UCL, and you will become a registered PhD student.

Get to know some of our current students, their research, and why they applied for a London NERC DTP studentship. 

If you are unsure of the process at any point or have any queries, please contact Miss Kate Moore at

Stay informed

Click here to subscribe to our RSS newsletter by email.

Find Us

University College London is the administrative lead.

North-West Wing, UCL, Gower Street, London, WC1E 6BT

Follow us on Twitter