Doctoral Training Partnerships

SeNSS: South East Network for Social Sciences

South East Network for Social Sciences (SeNSS) is an ESRC-funded Doctoral Training Partnerships, which promotes inventive and inclusive social science research training and collaboration, and awards funded SeNSS Studentships.  Essex is one of the 10 word-leading institutions that comprise the membership of the SeNSS DTP:
  • Essex (as coordinating institution)
  • University of East Anglia
  • University of Kent
  • University of Reading
  • University of Surrey
  • University of Sussex
  • Roehampton University
  • City University
  • Goldsmiths (University of London)
  • Royal Holloway (University of London)

Essex is involved in seven pathways of study:

  • Economics
  • Politics and International Studies
  • Business and Management
  • Linguistics
  • Sociology
  • Psychology
  • Socio-Legal Studies

What does the studentship provide?

You will receive subject-specific and advanced training, whilst undertaking your research in an innovative, ground-breaking and empowering research environment, amongst our thriving postgraduate community. You'll also be provided with opportunities for overseas visits and fieldwork, attending and presenting at conferences and events, academic publishing and work placement opportunities.

SeNSS Studentship Funding supports both full-time and part-time study, and covers:

  • Fully-funded studentships (tax-free living costs at approximately £15k per year and tuition fees of £4k+ per year) for UK and eligible EU students, and international Economics students


  • Fees-only studentships (tuition fees of £4k+ per year) for EU students who have lived in the UK for less than three years
  • Research training support grants
  • The studentship also provides access to additional funding to support your research, UK or overseas fieldwork, international study visits, and language training.

Are you eligible?

Residential criteria

Fully-funded studentships are open to UK and EU students who have settled in the UK with no restrictions on their length of stay, and who have been a UK ‘ordinary resident’ for 3 years prior to 30 September 2020, and who have not have been residing in the UK mainly for the purpose of full-time education.

Studentships are not available to international applicants except those applying for Economics.

To apply for a Masters plus PhD (1+3 or a +4) you will need: qualifications or professional experience equivalent to a first or upper second class honours degree.

To apply for a PhD only (+3) you will need: qualifications or professional experience equivalent to a Masters degree with distinction or merit, that includes relevant research methods training.

SeNSS has produced an informative FAQs document and online application guidance.


Academic eligibility

For Masters and PhD funding (1+3, or +4 award structures): qualifications or experience equal to a first (1) or upper second (2.1) class honours degree, or an equivalent combination of qualifications and/or experience are required.

For PhD (+3) funding: qualifications or experience equal to a Masters degree with distinction or merit, or an equivalent combination of qualifications and/or experience are required. Your Masters degree must be in a relevant discipline, and include significant research methods training.

How to apply

Applications for SeNSS Studentships are open now. The deadline is 12pm on Monday 20 January 2020.

You can apply for a studentship in one of the following Pathways:

Studentships are available as +3 (PhD) or 4- year (Masters and PhD) awards, and on a full-time or part-time basis. Choose which course you want to study, and apply for a place on that course by 12pm on 20 January 2020.

We strongly encourage you to contact the School or Department you wish to apply to at the earliest opportunity in order to discuss your research proposal and potential supervision arrangements. This is particularly important in order to give supervisors enough time to assist in the development of your application to ensure the best chance of success.

Please note that you will need to discuss your application with the department to which you are applying for a place of study. The department will provide you with an access code for you to commence the application process.

Applying online

The deadline to be offered a place on your course at Essex is on 20 January 2020 and the deadline for submission of your online applications for a SeNSS Studentship is 12pm 20 January 2020.

What's the selection process?

After the submission deadline, applications pass through an internal University selection process, before a decision is made whether to nominate particular applications to the SeNSS pathway (disciplinary) selection panels. Applications put forward to these panels are considered alongside applications from other SeNSS partner institutions. 

The final selection phase, conducted by the SeNSS Management Board, will be held at the beginning of April each year, and you will be notified by mid-April whether you have been awarded a SeNSS student-led studentship.


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