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

For purposes of residence requirements the UK includes the United Kingdom and Islands (ie the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man).

To be eligible for a full award a student must have:

  • Settled status in the UK, meaning they have no restrictions on how long they can stay
  • Been ‘ordinarily resident’ in the UK for three years prior to the start of the studentship. This means they must have been normally residing in the UK (apart from temporary or occasional absences)
  • Not been residing in the UK wholly or mainly for the purpose of full-time education. (This does not apply to UK or EU nationals).

To be eligible for a fees only award:

  • Students from EU countries other than the UK are generally eligible for a fees-only award. To be eligible for a fees-only award, a student must be ordinarily resident in a member state of the EU, in the same way as UK students must be ordinarily resident in the UK.

Note: These eligibility criteria are based on the Education (Fees and Awards) (England) Regulations 2007 and subsequent amendments.

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.