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Doctoral Funding

Funding for PhD studies in our program can come through different competitions both internal to Durham and among external funding bodies. Once you have found a supervisor, there are a number of potential funding opportunities, some of which depend on your citizenship status. In each case, we encourage you to be in touch with us well in advance of the official deadlines below for different schemes. This is for two reasons. First, we want to support your work by providing feedback that will support you as you sharpen your research proposal. Second, we recruit the very best postgraduate students, and this often means that we have internal deadlines to meet in order to make nominations to different funding schemes. 

During your studies, we offer paid opportunities in several different contexts: running tutorials, teaching, lab demonstrations, and on our domestic and international fieldtrips. Our doctoral students are also encouraged to pitch ideas to research clusters for workshop events, and to apply for conference and fieldwork funds during their studies. 

Doctoral Funding Schemes

The Department of Geography at Durham participates in five competitive schemes that are run through the University and University partners for funding for doctoral study

The Chinese Scholarship Scheme (CSC)

Durham Geography is a Department recognised by the CSC in a joint funding scheme for doctoral study. We have a set number of candidates we can propose to the CSC for funding which requires that we run an internal competition. Potential applicants must be accepted onto the doctoral programme before they can be considered in the competitive stages. Potential applicants will work with their nominated supervisors to develop a strong, competitive bid. Please do check our requirements for your certification in the standard of working in English as the CSC competition is strict on this as a criterion of eligibility.


A doctoral training partnership in the environmental and earth sciences comprising the Universities of Durham, Glasgow, Heriot Watt (Edinburgh), Newcastle, St. Andrews and Stirling, together with the British Antarctic Survey, British Geological Survey and the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.

IAPETUS supports doctoral research and training for both home and international applicants across the sciences of the natural environment focused around a number of interdisciplinary clusters of internationally-recognised excellence related to:

  • Global environmental change
  • Geodynamics and Earth resources
  • Carbon and nutrient recycling
  • Hazards, risk and resilience
  • Biodiversity and ecosystem resources

NINE-DTP: The Northern Ireland and North East Doctoral Training Partnership 

A doctoral training partnership in the social sciences comprising the Universities of Durham, Newcastle, Northumbria, Queen’s Belfast, Sunderland, Teesside and Ulster. NINE-DTP offers studentships across all social science areas and to home and international applicants. Proposals are also welcome in collaboration with non-academic partners.

NBC: The Northern Bridge Consortium 

 A doctoral training partnership in the arts and humanities comprising the Universities of Durham, Newcastle, Northumbria, Queen’s Belfast, Sunderland, Teesside and Ulster, together with a range of non-academic partner organisations. NBC offers studentships across all areas of the arts and humanities and to home and international applicants. Specific projects for doctoral study in collaboration with non-academic partners are also advertised on the NBC site.

The Durham Doctoral Studentship scheme (DDS)  

The Faculty of Social Science and Health manages a Durham-specific competition for doctoral studentships. This is open to both home and international applicants as a complement to the other doctoral training partnership schemes. Information on the scheme is released before the end of December.

Other Sources of Funding

Your local British Council office can be a good starting point, and you can search for scholarships that might be available to you.  

We also support applications to programmes that run for a delimited period of time as regards funding doctoral study. Links to calls to such programmes will be posted on these pages when available. 

Applicants for study with us have succeeded in securing funding from a range of other funders, including the national funding agencies of other countries, the Commonwealth, Wellcome Trust and specific charitable foundations.  We are more than willing to support you in your applications to external funders both in strengthening your proposal and in providing letters of support and evidence of acceptance onto our doctoral programme as needed. Do get in touch with any queries. 

For overseas students, there are a number of funding sources that you can apply to for help with the cost of course fees and living expenses. The funding available often depends on your personal circumstances and the course you want to study. There are also several resource sites that may help you find a potential funder.

Find out more general information about Postgraduate Research at Durham University

Research degrees - Durham University

Information on Fees and Finance: Tuition fees - how much are they - Durham University