Apply to the London NERC DTP

OverviewEligibilityDocumentationApplyAfter you apply

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.

Applications to the London NERC DTP programme are not for a specific project, but for a research theme. The projects listed on the site are to provide you with details on what is potentially on offer if you were to be accepted to the DTP. 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.

Application Process

Please ensure you meet the eligibility criteria before you make an application.

November (at the end of the month) – Applications open.
January – Application deadline.
February – Interviews will be held remotely. This is projected to be for the 15th, 16th and 17th of February.
March – Offers confirmed.

All applicants will be required to submit a CV, cover letter and academic documents e.g. transcript/s and certificate/s.

Please see further resources for applicants here.

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: 

International students – this page will be updated for 2022/23 entry in due course. 

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:

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 and be aware that you may need to give your institution(s) and referees plenty of notice of the deadline.

Referees can complete the referee form in advance of your application being submitted, and applicants are encouraged to share the link to the form ( with their chosen referees as soon as possible.

Please note that if you submit your application form on the actual deadline, and do not share the referee form with your references in advance, it it is very unlikely we will receive the references in time, which may prevent your application from being considered.

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

Your application cannot receive consideration until you provide all supporting documents:

Curriculum vitae (2 page max)

Cover Letter (2 pages max)
Please identify your research interests and explain why you are applying for this particular in programme, linking how your current qualifications and skills map onto the requirements for this DTP. If you have identified any exemplar PhD projects of interest you may wish to mention these, or any DTP partner academics that you may wish to work with. 

Academic transcript
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.

Academic References.

Before we can give full consideration to your application, we will need to receive two academic references. 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. Please direct referees to this page to complete your reference: References may be completed in advance of submitting your application.

We prefer to receive references from valid institutional/organisational email addresses, however we do understand that in some cases this may not be possible.

As applications are being made to the DTP and not to a specific project only one application per applicant is required.  You can state on the form which research theme you are interested in but the programme is designed to introduce all successful applicants to a range of areas covering all themes.

Applications for 2021/22 entry are now CLOSED. Applications for 2022/23 entry are expected to open November 2021.

We will call the shortlisted candidates for interview. Interviews are typically held in London in mid-February. There will be an interview panel consisting of 3/4 members of the DTP consortium.  In exceptional circumstances Skype interviews may be arranged. This year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, interviews will all be conducted remotely. 

We will first make offers shortly after interview. The deadline for all applicants to decide whether or not to accept an offer is in March.  If you accept an informal offer you need do nothing further.  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 2020/21 intake this date is Wednesday 18th March 2020 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 2020/21 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.

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