Doctoral Training Partnerships

CHASE: Consortium for Humanities and the Arts South-East England

The Consortium for Humanities and the Arts South-East England (CHASE) is an AHRC-funded Doctoral Training Partnership, providing funding and training opportunities to the next generation of world-leading arts and humanities scholars.

Essex is one of the 8 world-leading institutions that comprise the membership of the CHASE DTP:

  • Essex 
  • Birkbeck (University of London) 
  • University of East Anglia
  • University of Kent
  • The Courtauld Institute of Art
  • University of Sussex
  • Goldsmiths (University of London)
  • SOAS (University of London)

The studentship competition for October 2024 entry has now closed

The information on this webpage relates to the 2024 competition and remains for information only. This webpage will be updated in September 2024 with information about the launch of the studentship competitions for October 2025 entry.

Our studentships are available to scholars applying across arts and humanities subjects. Participating schools and departments at our University are:

Workshop for CHASE applicants 

We will be hosting an online workshop and Q&A session for all potential applicants and supervisors on Wednedsay 18 October 2023 at 12.30 – 1.30pm. You can join the online workshop via Zoom.  The workshop will be delivered by Dr Lisa Smith (Faculty Dean Postgraduate for Arts and Humanities) and Laura Ruddick (Senior Postgraduate Research Education Manager).  It will be an opportunity for you to hear about the CHASE studentship application, recruitment and selection process, and to get advice on writing your studentship application.

 The workshop will be recorded and will be available on request. Please ask the PGR Administrator in the department to which you are applying, or email the PGRE Team for more information.

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 will also be provided with opportunities to attend world-class training, attending and presenting at conferences and events, academic publishing and work placement opportunities.

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

  • Fully-funded studentships: a tax-free maintenance stipend to cover your living costs, this was set at £18,022 (full time equivalent) for 2023-24 and we will update the 2024/25 amount as soon as UKRI announces it.
  • Fees: whether you have home or international fee status, you will not have to pay university tuition fees during your studentship funding period.


Are you eligible?

Regardless of whether you are a "home" applicant or an "international" applicant, you can apply for a studentship. However, there is a cap on numbers, as only up to 30% of studentship awards can be made to international applicants.

To be classed as a home student, you must meet the following criteria: 

  • be a UK national (meeting residency requirements), or 
  • have settled status, or
  • have pre-settled status (meeting residency requirements), or
  • have indefinite leave to remain or enter

If you do not meet the criteria above, you are classed as an international student. Further guidance on residential eligibility is provided in the UKRI Guidance.

Applicants will hold an undergraduate degree, and will normally have a Master’s degree, or be studying for one. However, CHASE also welcomes applications from candidates with sustained experience beyond their undergraduate degree level that is specifically relevant to their proposed research topic.


CHASE produces an informative online application guidance, which can be accessed from the CHASE webpage once live. 

PhD Studentships are available on a full-time or part-time basis. 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.


How to apply

Applications for CHASE Studentships will open on Monday 9 October 2023. CHASE studentship applications will need to be submitted using the CHASE application form on SM Apply. The deadline for applications to be submitted on SM Apply is 12 noon (midday) on Friday 26 January 2024.

In addition to your CHASE Studentship application, you must also apply for your place on the relevant PhD course at Essex, using the online application form. The deadline for you to have applied for a place on your course at Essex in order to be considered for a CHASE application is 12pm (GMT) on Monday 8 January 2024.

You can already start thinking about and drafting the key aspects of your application; you can outline your research proposal, plans and timeline for completion. Your supervisor will be able to offer you advice about how best to do this.

You can also start on your personal statement, which should address the following key questions; why are you applying for this studentship; why are you the best person for this research project; how are you and your proposed supervisors the best fit; why CHASE and how will the CHASE studentship enable you to achieve what you are proposing?

Applying online

  • Book on an applicant webinar
  • Complete the CHASE studentship application form once it has opened (you will need the access code from the department supporting your application)

The deadline for submission of your online applications for a CHASE Studentship is 12pm (GMT) (midday) on Friday 26 January 2024. 

The deadline for you to have applied for a place on your course at Essex in order to be considered for a CHASE application is 12pm (GMT) (midday) on Monday 8 January 2024.

To further support applications for CHASE studentships, we are offering the opportunity for Essex applicants to submit a draft application for “first-look-feedback”. The draft application will need to be submitted to Laura Ruddick (Senior Postgraduate Research Education Manager) by midday on Tuesday 5 December 2024. Feedback will be provided within 14 days of the deadline.

Indicative timeline:


  • Make contact with your potential supervisor(s) and commence your CHASE application on SMApply, discussing the application form with your supervisor;
  • Attend the CHASE applicant workshop on Wednesday 18 October 2024 at 12.30 – 1.30pm;


  • Working with your identified supervisor, finalise your research proposal and complete the CHASE application form and apply for your PhD place at Essex.
  • If possible, attend the CHASE studentship drop-in (an opportunity for students and/or supervisors to ask questions about their studentship proposals etc.) on Wednesday 22 November at 2.30pm - 3.30pm (room TBC).


  • Submit your draft/work-in-progress CHASE application for “first-look-feedback” to Laura Ruddick (Senior Postgraduate Research Education Manager) by midday on Wednesday 6 December 2024.
  • Continue to work with your supervisor on your CHASE application, following feedback, and ensure you have nominated your referees on SMApply.
  • If you haven’t already, ensure you have applied for your PhD place at Essex.


  • Submit your CHASE application by the deadline of 12pm (GMT) (midday) on Friday 26 January 2024

What's the selection process for studentship competitions?

After the CHASE studentship submission deadline (12pm (GMT) (midday) on Friday 26 January 2024) applications pass through an internal University selection process, before a decision is made whether to nominate particular applications to CHASE, for consideration at the relevant CHASE Panels. We are able to nominate 17 high-quality applications across the range of discipline areas. Applications put forward to these panels are considered alongside applications from other CHASE partner institutions.

You will be notified at the point we nominate the final 17 applications from Essex (8 March 2023) whether or not you have been successful at that stage.
The final selection phase, conducted by the CHASE Management Board, will be held in late March, and you will be notified by mid-April whether you have been awarded a CHASE student-led studentship.

The selection criteria used to assess applications across all panels, degree types and at all levels of the selection process is:

1. Research proposal (50%) (evidence: Research proposal, supervisor statement)

  • The proposal is clearly-written and demonstrates engagement with an academic field at a high level of sophistication.
  • The project demonstrates original thinking in its field (or fields)
  • The project is clearly situated in its field (or fields)
  • The methodology proposed clearly demonstrates the viability of the planned research.
  • The planned research is described in a way that inspires confidence that it will definitely be completed within the funded period.
  • The application demonstrates excellent motivation for the research project.
  • The proposed research may be timely or urgent in nature, but not all excellent projects will be time-critical or topical.

2. Preparedness for research (25%) (evidence: academic record, professional achievements, Widening Participation Statement, references)

  • The applicant demonstrates understanding of appropriate research skills required for successful completion of the project.
  • The applicant has appropriate training at Master’s level or equivalent (including experience gained outside of higher education) to undertake the project.
  • The applicant’s references fully support the applicant’s preparedness for doctoral study
  • The applicant demonstrates outstanding competency in organisational skills and initiative through their previous activities, and a capacity to overcome obstacles.
  • Where a widening participation statement is provided, it gives context on aspects of the candidate’s preparedness and on their motivation to undertake doctoral study. CHASE is committed to addressing inequalities in participation in our DTP, and encourages applications from all under-represented groups, including people with disabilities, ethnic minorities, lower income families and mature students. Assessors should consider information provided in the widening participation statement alongside other answers in this section.

3. Suitability of research environment (25%) (evidence: Research proposal, supervisor statement)

  • The research environment (as constituted by the proposed supervision, the home department(s) or equivalent, the institutional support (including available archives, sources, research centres), any external organisations) is appropriate to the project.
  • The applicant has given clear thought to the fit between their project and their proposed research environment.
  • The supervisor statement fully supports the project’s fit with the proposed research environment.

Additional CHASE Studentship opportunities

Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies

PhD Research Project: Catalysts for Change and Collaborations in New Writing for the Stage: Theatre Underground, University of Essex and Mercury Theatre 1979-96.

This is an AHRC/CHASE Collaborative Doctoral Award PhD studentship in collaboration with the University of Essex and Mercury Theatre, Colchester.

Project name: Catalysts for Change and Collaborations in New Writing for the Stage: Theatre Underground, University of Essex and Mercury Theatre 1979-96

Funding: CHASE Collaborative Doctoral Studentship

Overview: This project explores the history of Theatre Underground (1979-96), University of Essex campus theatre, and the relationships it forged between ‘town and gown’. New writing for the stage brought to life significant events in local history and new drama in translation brought world theatre to Essex. The research will focus on the Theatre Underground archive at the University of Essex. At the Mercury Theatre Colchester, interpretations of the production materials will be explored with theatre practitioners; and public engagement workshops, led by the student, will seek interviews with alumni and audience members of Theatre Underground.


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