Student eligibility

The terms and conditions for Training Grants (PDF 255KB) can be found on the RCUK website.

To find out how the eligibility rules apply to you please contact the university to which you are applying, e.g. the postgraduate admissions departments. If your prospective supervisor is unable to confirm, the graduate admissions office or equivalent would be the next place to ask.

Residence requirements

There are residence requirements for research council funding for postgraduate research. These are based on the Education (Fees and Awards) (England) Regulations 2007 and subsequent amendments. Normally, to be eligible for a full award a student must have no restrictions on how long they can stay in the UK and have been ordinarily resident in the UK for at least 3 years prior to the start of the studentship (with some further constraint regarding residence for education).

For further information regarding residence requirements, please see the regulations. These include further information, for example about refugees, migrant workers, residence for education and EEA nationals.

Limited relaxation of student eligibility requirements

To enable universities to support the very best students, EPSRC allows universities to offer up to 10% of the new studentships in any one year with open eligibility. There is typically strong competition within universities to make use of this flexibility. If you want to apply for a doctoral studentship and want to know whether the flexibility might be available for you, you must contact the university that is advertising the studentship. There is no route for prospective students to apply to EPSRC for a studentship.

There are websites that include information about doctoral opportunities in the UK. These include:

  • Education UK - website from the British Council to help international students interested in studying in the UK.
  • Prospects - Provides careers advice and job and course opportunities to students and graduates
  • UKCISA - The UK Council for International Student Affairs is the UK’s national advisory body serving the interests of international students and those who work with them

Academic qualifications

Students must be able to demonstrate a capability to undertake and benefit from research training through to completion, to qualify for a doctorate. This normally requires an upper second class honours degree, or a combination of qualifications and/or experience equivalent to that level. However, universities can use their discretion in deciding whether candidates are suitable for research training.