For Prospective Students

 The SeNSS Studentship competition is now open for studentships starting in the 2018/19 academic year. 


What is SeNSS?

The South East Network for Social Sciences (SeNSS) is a consortium formed of 10 leading UK universities, all of which are engaged in cutting-edge social science research and training. The SeNSS consortium members are:

• City, University of London,
• University of East Anglia,
• University of Essex (the co-ordinating institution),
• Goldsmiths, University of London,
• University of Kent,
• University of Reading,
• University of Roehampton, London,
• Royal Holloway, University of London,
• University of Surrey, and
• University of Sussex.

What does SeNSS do?

One of the main aspects of SeNSS’s work is training the next generation of world-class social scientists. As a result, SeNSS was recently awarded a prestigious Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP) by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the national body which funds research and training in economic and social issues. As a result, SeNSS is offering a number of fully-funded ESRC-funded social science doctoral Studentships.

Why should I apply for a SeNSS Studentship?

As the holder of a SeNSS Studentship, you will receive training from leading researchers, and will be guided through your studies by excellent supervisors. You will receive training in core research skills, as well as innovative advanced training. Your training will also have a focus on inter-disciplinary research, so that you can engage with researchers across different disciplines.

You will join a cohort of similarly talented fellow students, who will help to provide support and encouragement. As a group, you will form an invaluable network throughout your professional lives. You will have access to our 200+ existing partnerships with external organisations, drawn from – amongst others - government, the public sector, and industry. Through collaborating with these partnerships, you will be prepared for a career in either academia or practitioner networks or both, as well as being able to engage across these sectors.

What social science Pathways does SeNSS offer?

SeNSS offers doctoral training across thirteen social science Pathways. Not all SeNSS partners offer all thirteen Pathways, so we have indicated which partners offer which Pathways below:

  • Business and Management (offered by City, UEA, Essex, Kent, Reading, Royal Holloway, Surrey and Sussex);
  • Development Studies (offered by UEA, Reading, Royal Holloway, Surrey and Sussex);
  • Economics (offered by City, UEA, Essex, Reading, Royal Holloway, Surrey and Sussex);
  • Education (offered by UEA, Goldsmiths, Reading, Roehampton and Sussex);
  • Human Geography (offered by UEA, Reading, Royal Holloway and Sussex);
  • Linguistics (offered by UEA, Essex, Kent, Reading and Surrey);
  • Politics and International Studies (offered by UEA, Essex, Kent, Reading, Royal Holloway and Sussex);
  • Psychology (offered by UEA, Essex, Goldsmiths, Kent, Reading, Royal Holloway and Sussex);
  • Science, Technology and Sustainability Studies (offered by UEA, Kent, Surrey and Sussex);
  • Social Anthropology (offered by UEA, Goldsmiths, Kent, Roehampton and Sussex);
  • Social Work and Social Policy (offered by UEA, Kent and Sussex);
  • Socio-Legal Studies (offered by UEA, Essex, Kent, Reading and Sussex); and
  • Sociology (offered by Essex, Goldsmiths, Kent and Sussex).

If I am awarded a SeNSS Studentship, what will it consist of?

You will have your fees paid, as well as receiving a maintenance stipend to cover your living expenses (where eligible, see below). You will also have access to further funds for carrying out your doctoral research, such as attending conferences and conducting fieldwork. For further information, see ESRC website. You will also be offered the opportunity to do a placement with one of our 200+ external partner organisations.

Am I eligible to apply for a SeNSS Studentship?

SeNSS ESRC-funded Studentships are only available to Home or EU students. There is ONE exception to this rule: international students may apply for a SeNSS ECONOMICS Studentship, and, if successful, will be eligible for a full award. 

To be eligible for a full award you must either be an international student applying for a SeNSS Economics Studentship, or a Home or EU student who satisfies the criteria below:

  • You must have settled status in the UK, meaning there are no restrictions on how long you can stay in the UK; AND
  • You must have been ‘ordinarily resident’ in the UK for 3 years prior to 30 September 2017, when the Studentship starts. 'Ordinarily resident' means that you must have been normally residing in the UK (apart from any temporary or occasional absences; AND
  • You must not have been residing in the UK wholly or mainly for the purpose of full-time education. However, this criterion does not apply to UK or EU nationals.

A full SeNSS ESRC-funded Studentship award includes the following for the duration of the award:

  • your University tuition fees: these are paid in full directly to your University;
  • a tax-free maintenance stipend to pay your living costs: this is currently set at £14,553 per year. For those studying at universities based in London, there is an additional £2,000 per year paid as London Weighting, given that the cost of living is higher for those living in London. If you are not studying at a London-based University, but still choose to live in London, you will not receive the London Weighting payment;
  • a research training support grant;
  • access to other funds to be used for overseas fieldwork, overseas institutional visits, difficult language training etc.

 Students from EU countries other than the UK are generally eligible for a fees-only award. To be eligible for a fees-only award, you must be ordinarily resident in a member state of the EU, in the same way as UK students must be ordinarily resident in the UK.

A fees-only award includes the following for the duration of the award:

  • your University tuition fees will be paid in full directly to your University;
  • a research training support grant; and,
  • access to other funds to be used for overseas fieldwork, overseas institutional visits, difficult language training etc.

 However, you will NOT receive a tax-free maintenance stipend to pay your living costs.

These eligibility rules are set by the Research Councils UK. The full rules are available at here (external link).

I do not have a Master’s degree. May I apply for a SeNSS Studentship?

Yes, you do not need a Master’s degree in order to apply for a SeNSS Studentship. In fact, we positively encourage applications from talented students holding an undergraduate degree. If your application to SeNSS is successful, you will receive financial support to do your Master’s degree, based on an assessment of your prior training and learning needs.

Would I be able to study part-time?

Yes. All SeNSS Studentships are available either on a full or part-time basis.

I have already started my PhD. Can I apply for a SeNSS Studentship?

Yes, you may. If you have already started your studies, but have at least 50% of your period of study remaining, you may be eligible for a SeNSS Studentship.

How do I apply for a SeNSS Studentship?

Once you have applied to your chosen institution for a PhD place, you should talk to your proposed supervisor about whether or not to make an application for a SeNSS Studentship. You will need to do this as you are required to consult your supervisor about your proposed research proposal, which you must include in your Studentship application form, and you will need to ask your supervisor to provide a supporting statement for your application. You will also need to talk to your home institution’s administrator, as they will tell you how to access the online SeNSS application form once you have applied for your place at your home institution.

Once you have applied to your home institution, your nominated supervisor will assist you in making your application to SeNSS, and your local administrator will be at hand to assist if need be.

How will my SeNSS Studentship application be assessed?

Your application will first be assessed by your home institution. If your application is successful, it will be sent to the relevant SeNSS Pathway Assessment panel. These panels will rank your application along with others in that Pathway in order of merit. This ranked list will be sent to the SeNSS Office, to be combined in a single ranked list with the other applications from all thirteen SeNSS Pathways. The SeNSS Management Board will then meet to discuss this list, and to formally agree which applications have been successful.

You will be notified at each stage of this process whether or not your application has been successful. Those applicants who are awarded full-funded studentships will be advised of this in March. 

What happens if my application for a SeNSS Studentship is successful?

If you are awarded a SeNSS studentship, you will be contacted, usually by email, towards the end of March give you the good news. Thereafter, you will receive a formal offer letter from SeNSS, and you will have a couple of weeks to decide whether or not to accept this offer.

What happens if my application for a SeNSS Studentship is unsuccessful?

You will be advised of the outcome of your application as soon as the SeNSS Management Board has made its final decision on the allocation of Studentships or, if your application is deemed unsuccessful in an earlier assessment round, you will be advised of this before the end of March.

If you have been unsuccessful, you are welcome to apply again the following year, as long as you still meet the eligibility requirements.