LSS PhD Studentships

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If you are interested in studying for a PhD with LSS, but do not require studentship funding, please visit our PG Research Degrees page for more details.

PhD Studentships in the School of Languages and Social Sciences

The School of Languages and Social Sciences (LSS) invites applications for up to three fully-funded PhD studentships from strong candidates in any of the research areas covered by the School. The studentships are for full-time study over three years, commencing in October 2020.

LSS is a multi-disciplinary research-focused School which brings together researchers in the areas of Languages (French, German, Spanish), Translation Studies, History, Politics and International Relations, Sociology and Policy, and English. Further information on the School’s research areas can be found here.

1 October 2020 start date with completion date of 30 September 2023

Financial Support

Will be provided to the successful applicant to cover the Home/EU fees rate £4,327 in academic year 2019/20) plus a maintenance grant at the standard AHRC/ESRC rate (currently £15,009) with the corresponding standard increases in subsequent years. Applicants from outside the EU may apply for these studentships but will need to pay the difference between the ‘Home/EU’ and the ‘Overseas’ tuition fees (Overseas tuition fees are £13,650 in academic year 2019/0 so the difference to pay will be in the region of £10,682 per year).

Person Specification

The successful applicant should have a first class or good upper second class honours degree or equivalent qualification in a relevant subject area. They should have, or be near to completing, a postgraduate qualification such as a Masters or equivalent. An overall merit grade with merit in the dissertation is normally required.


Apply by completing the Postgraduate research application form including:

  • A substantial outline of your proposed research (see below).
  • 2 written references
  • Photocopies of your first and Masters degree certificates and a transcript of your grades
  • Evidence of an approved English language qualification (if required)

In addition to this information applicants must also submit a statement of maximum 500 words signed by themselves and their proposed supervisor outlining: 

  • Academic strengths of the candidate
  • Quality of the proposed project
  • Fit between the project and the expertise of the supervisory team

Please find the form template here. This statement must be emailed to before the deadline.


Applications must be submitted by Monday 16 March 2020

You are required to:

  1. Outline an area of (possibly cross-disciplinary) study and demonstrate a familiarity with that area in bibliographical terms.

  2. Specify a focus for research which may be expressed in various forms, e.g. hypothesis, question and problem. You must provide details of:  
  • Your understanding of the subject at an appropriate level and highlight the scope for doctoral research
  • Your expected outcome (e.g. descriptive, explanatory, pedagogic) 
  • Which field the research will contribute to
3. Demonstrate an awareness of an appropriate research tradition (or paradigm) which will provide a focus for your project

4. Show a basic understanding of at least one appropriate theoretical model that will be used to analyse data for your study

5. Draft a plan (in line with 3 and 4 above) of how the research will be carried out over the time allowed.

Organisation of the Proposal:

  • Title 
    Identify the precise topic and  indicate the approach you plan to take, if possible. 

  • Introduction 
    This should identify the relevant research area, show why the research is worth doing and indicate what you hope to achieve.

  • Aims and Objectives 
    This expands on the first of the above topics.  In this section you should clearly set out the aim of your research, providing you with an opportunity to develop your research question and hypothesis and specify the intended outcomes.  This should be done with reference to relevant literature.  Where appropriate, there should also be reference to your individual and institutional situation in which you intend to carry out the research.

  • Orientation to Previous Research 
    This builds on the previous section and sets your work more explicitly in the context of previous work and wider issues. You should set out a justification for your own research in the context of other studies, showing how it builds on and/or orientates to these.  The section should demonstrate to the reader that you have familiarised yourself with the subject and are acquainted with current debates related to it. 

  • Data 
    This section should indicate on which data the research is planned to be carried out.

  • Methodology 
    In this section you will need to provide a justification for your methodological approach and you should expect to include the following:

    -A statement of the paradigm and tradition(s) within which you will work, a description of the data collection and procedures to be used, including work to be done in archives and a justification for these (showing why alternatives were rejected)

    -A consideration of practical issues (e.g. permissions, gaining entry, ethics) showing that data collection is possible

    -The analytical approach that you plan to adopt.
  • Timetable 
    Present a realistic timetable for the research, including research visits abroad, corresponding to the time available for the project (3 years for a full-time and 4-6 years for  a part-time PhD, including writing-up).
  • References 
    All references to academic works should be presented consistently, in a standard format.

Finding an appropriate supervisor who is an expert in your chosen area of research is an essential part of the application process. We recommend that you look at the staff subject group pages here which will enable you to determine whether there is a good match between your research interests and LSS.   

If there is a member of staff whose research interest matches your own, we recommend that you contact them directly with a copy of your research proposal and discuss this further with them. In addition to contacting a prospective supervisor you also need to submit a formal application. If you are successful in identifying a supervisor through this method it is essential that you indicate this on your application form. Please be advised that a formal decision on your application can only be made once the formal application has been submitted via the online form.