Frequently Asked Questions – Prospective Students

When can I apply to the London NERC DTP?

Applications typically open in November and close in January for studentships beginning the following September.

Are the studentships funded?

All studentships are funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC). For 2023/24, funding covers home tuition fees, and a yearly stipend (£19,668 for 2022/23).

More detail can be found on the UKRI webpage.


Am I eligible to apply to the London NERC DTP?

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 UKRI has updated their eligibility criteria to confirm that Overseas students will be eligible for all UKRI-funded postgraduate studentships from the start of the 2021/22 academic year.

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. 

Are prospective students expected to contact potential supervisors prior to making an application, and then indicate an interest in that specific project in their application?

Prospective students are not expected to contact potential supervisors prior to making an application. While demonstrating an aptitude for research in a specific area may strengthen your application, the application is to the DTP in general. 

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.

What are the chances of getting a specific project once enrolled onto the DTP?

Applications to the London NERC DTP programme are not for a specific project, but for a research theme. 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. 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, there is no preference given to either project. 

Can a supervisor take two students?

An academic can only be primary supervisor to one student in a cohort, and cannot be primary supervisor to students in two consecutive cohorts. 

Is it possible to work with Universities outside of the country as part of your project for sample collection, research equipment etc?

Yes, absolutely! We encourage our students to collaborate with relevant external Universities and organisations both within the UK and abroad. It is also possible to develop a CASE partnership with a particular non-academic organisation if this is relevant and beneficial to the PhD project. These partnerships are more formal and involve a financial contribution to the student’s research grant from the partner organisation.

Is it OK if references are submitted before the application form?

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.

I already have a PhD – can I apply to study with the London NERC DTP?

If you meet the London NERC DTP eligibility criteria, then you may apply to study for a PhD at the London NERC DTP, even if you already have one. However, please be aware that priority may be given to those who do not already have a PhD. 

If you have unanswered questions about applying to the London NERC DTP, please contact the DTP Admin team.

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