To be eligible for funding, you will need to meet the official ESRC requirements. Please find below details of the new eligibility guidelines released on 14 October 2020.

Please note: eligibility for funding does not guarantee you eligibility for a place at the University of your choice, which will have separate eligibility requirements.

Academic Qualifications and Experience

Applicants applying for a studentship must hold or be predicted a First or a good Upper Second Class undergraduate degree in the social sciences, or have relevant comparable experience.

A Masters degree is not a prerequisite for studying with the NINE DTP. Applicants without relevant training to Masters level can apply for Master plus PhD (a 1+3 award) funding. All studentships can be offered on a full or part time basis.

If you are applying for PhD funding (a +3 award) you must hold or be completing a Masters degree in the social sciences, which includes at least 60 credits of research methods training. Applicants with Masters degrees that do not include research methods training can be offered funding for 3.5 years to enable them to complete the Postgraduate Certificate in Research Methods.

Commencement of Awards

To be eligible for a studentship in this current recruitment round you must be applying to commence a programme of postgraduate study which starts from October 2021. Awards cannot be deferred and selected candidates will be assumed to be starting their studies in October 2021 unless there are exceptional circumstances.

Home / International Student Status

In August 2020, the UKRI announced changes to their residential eligibility rules.

From October 2020 onwards, the residential eligibility rules have been relaxed and candidates may apply for NINE DTP funding irrespective of their residential status or nationality.

However, applicants and supervisors should be aware of the following:

  1. NINE DTP may only award a maximum of 30% of all studentships to international candidates, as defined by the ESRC and UKRI (please see gull guidance below)
  2. All awards will be made at the full studentship rate for the UKRI, set at £4,407 for fees and £15,285 for stipend in 2021-2022.
  3. Where students are required to pay international student tuition fee rates, the difference in funding between the UKRI fee rate and the international tuition fees will need to be covered by the department / institution / other funding sources. Please note: NINE DTP cannot provide funds to cover this difference.

Candidates and supervisors should discuss the eligibility of all applicants to determine whether the candidate would be considered a home or international student.

Full guidance, including all exceptions and caveats, is available via the ESRC Postgraduate Funding Guidelines.

Please note: NINE DTP cannot advise on fee status, and will not make determinations on individual student eligibility in advance of receiving the nomination form; institutions and departments should determine each candidates fee status, in conjunction with Postgraduate Admissions teams.

For the purposes of clarity, these changes are not retrospective, and will not impact on the current funding arrangements of any UKRI funded students.

Please note: the following criteria apply to all UKRI Studentships

To be classed as a Home student, candidates must meet the following criteria:

  • Be a UK National (meeting residency requirements), or
  • Have settled status, or
  • Have pre-settled status (meeting residency requirement) or,
  • Have indefinite leave to remain or enter

UK National

The UK includes the United Kingdom and Islands (i.e. the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man).

In terms of residency requirements for UK nationals, for courses starting from 1 August 2021, candidates will continue to be eligible for home fee status as long as:

  • they were living in the EEA or Switzerland on 31 December 2020, and have lived in the EEA, Switzerland, the UK or Gibraltar for at least the last 3 years before starting a course in the UK
  • have lived continuously in the EEA, Switzerland, the UK or Gibraltar between 31 December 2020 and the start of the course
  • the course starts before 1 January 2028

Eligibility on these grounds will only be available for courses starting up to seven years from the last day of the transition period (i.e. on 31 December 2027 at the latest).

Children of UK nationals will also be eligible for support on the same terms, even if they are not themselves UK nationals, as long as both the UK national and the child meet the conditions listed above.

This is following the announcement made by https://www.gov.uk/guidance/uk-nationals-in-the-eea-and-switzerland-access-to-higher-education-and-19-further-education

The above residency requirements will not apply to Irish nationals living in the UK and Ireland whose right to study and to access benefits and services will be preserved on a reciprocal basis for UK and Irish nationals under the Common Travel Area arrangement.

It will also not apply to those EU, other EEA and Swiss nationals benefitting from Citizens’ Rights under the EU Withdrawal Agreement, EEA EFTA Separation Agreement or Swiss Citizens’ Rights Agreement respectively.

Temporary absence

A UK national may have spent an extended period living outside the UK, either for study or employment and still be eligible for home fee status. Candidates in these circumstances are required to show that they have maintained a relevant connection with their home country and therefore claim that the absence was temporary. ‘Temporary’ does not depend solely on the length of absence.

EU Settlement Scheme

EU, EEA or Swiss citizens can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to continue living in the UK after 30 June 2021. If successful, applicants will get either settled or pre-settled status.

Settled status

Applicants will usually get settled status if they:

  • started living in the UK by 31 December 2020
  • lived in the UK for a continuous 5-year period (known as ‘continuous residence’)

Five years’ continuous residence means that for 5 years in a row they have been in the UK, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man for at least 6 months in any 12-month period. The exceptions are:

  • one period of up to 12 months for an important reason (for example, childbirth, serious illness, study, vocational training or an overseas work posting)
  • compulsory military service of any length
  • time spent abroad as a Crown servant, or as the family member of a Crown servant
  • time spent abroad in the armed forces, or as the family member of someone in the armed forces

If they have settled status, they can spend up to 5 years in a row outside the UK without losing that status. If they are a Swiss citizen, they and their family members can spend up to 4 years in a row outside the UK without losing their settled status.

Pre-settled status

If applicants do not have 5 years’ continuous residence when they apply to the EU settlement scheme, they will usually get pre-settled status. They must have started living in the UK by 31 December 2020.

Those with pre-settled status will qualify as a home student if they have 3 years residency in the UK/EEA/Gibraltar/Switzerland immediately before the start of their course.

It is then possible to apply to change this to settled status once they have got 5 years’ continuous residence. They must do this before the pre-settled status expires. They can stay in the UK for a further 5 years from the date they get pre-settled status.

If they have pre-settled status, they can spend up to 2 years in a row outside the UK without losing their status. They will need to maintain their continuous residence if they want to qualify for settled status.

Indefinite leave to remain (ILR) or Indefinite leave to enter (ILE)

Indefinite leave to enter or remain (ILR) are types of immigration status.

It is possible to continue to live in the UK without applying to the EU Settlement Scheme if they have indefinite leave to enter or remain in the UK. However, if they choose to apply (and meet all the other conditions), they will get ‘indefinite leave to remain under the EU Settlement Scheme’ – also known as settled status.

They can spend up to 2 years in a row outside the UK without losing their indefinite leave to enter or remain status.

International Student

If a candidate does not meet the criteria above, they would be classed as an International student.