Apply to the London NERC DTP

OverviewEligibilityDocumentationApplyAfter you apply Meet our studentsContact us

Application timeline

November 30th 2021 – Applications open.
January 10th 2022 at 4pm – Application deadline.
January 13th 2022 at 4pm – Reference deadline.
March 2022– Interviews will be held on 4th, 7th and 8th of March 2022.
Mid-March 2022 – Offers confirmed.

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 six months 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 and eligible for stipend and fees.

Applicants that qualify for Overseas fee status are now, under new UKRI-NERC rules, eligible for stipend and fees at the home rate. We are currently looking for waivers from our university partners for the difference between home and overseas tuition fees. Once we have confirmation from all university partners, this page will be updated. If you are an overseas student interested in the applying for the London NERC DTP, we would suggest that you go ahead and do so. 

If you are unsure what fee status you qualify for, please contact the DTP office. 

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

The required evidence may be one of the following:

  • completed a minimum of twelve months academic education leading to an awarded qualification, in a country that UCL considers to be ‘majority English speaking’, no more than two years prior to the proposed date of enrolment (or the summer two years prior to enrolment if starting in September). Non-UCL English language courses and study preparation courses such as pre-Masters are not acceptable;
  • completed a minimum of eighteen months of work experience in a country that UCL considers to be ‘majority English speaking’, no more than two years prior to the proposed date of enrolment;

  • a recently obtained acceptable English language qualification or test result. The qualification or test result must have been awarded no more than two years prior to the proposed date of enrolment. Please see a list of all the English language qualifications and tests that are recognised by UCL here:

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

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 documents:

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)
Please explain why you are attracted, and a good fit, to the London NERC DTP programme and the opportunities at its constituent partners. Discuss why you are a strong candidate, drawing upon evidence from your background, skills and experience. Please also provide information on your research interests, your choice of research theme and your aptitude for interdisciplinary study.

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.

English Language Certification
Please see the English language requirements here. The DTP requires the ‘Good’ level of English. Please also read our Eligibility section for more information.

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.

Applications are now CLOSED. 

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. This year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, interviews may be conducted remotely. 

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 2022/23 intake this date is Wednesday 16th March 2022 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 2022/23 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