University of St Andrews

PhD Funding Opportunities

Geography & Sustainable Development, University of St Andrews


Our research students are funded from a wide range of sources, including the ESRC Scottish Graduate School of Social Science, other UK research councils and funders, industry partners, and overseas agencies.For a complete list of current funding opportunities please see the database maintained by the University’s Scholarships Team.

Enquiries from self-funding students are welcome. Information on tuition fees and other costs of studying at St Andrews can be found on the University’s Fees and Funding page.

Details of any funding opportunities that are especially suitable for Geography/Sustainable Development students will also be posted below as they arise.

If you have queries about the following studentships please contact the PGR secretary, Helen Olaez.


ESRC 1+3/ +3 PhD Studentship in Demography / Population Studies

Application deadline: 25 May 2018

Residential Context and Childbearing: Application of Multilevel Analysis to Study Individual and Contextual Determinants of Fertilit

Fertility levels are below replacement level in most industrialised countries and have further declined in recent years. However, they vary significantly within countries across population subgroups (e.g. by the level of education, partnership status, ethnicity) and by residential context and housing conditions.  This PhD project will investigate individual and contextual determinants of fertility in Britain. The objectives are: First, to determine how individuals’ socio-demographic characteristics (e.g. education, partnership status, ethnic origin) influence childbearing patterns. Second, to investigate how contextual factors (e.g. urban-rural residence, regional-economic characteristics, housing markets, cultural-normative environment, social interaction) influence individuals’ fertility behaviour. Third, to apply advanced quantitative methods (e.g. multilevel event history models, spatial analysis) to investigate individual and contextual determinants of fertility. The project will use data from the ONS Longitudinal Study, the Scottish Longitudinal Study and the British Household Panel Survey. The study will provide rich and reliable information on fertility in Britain and will improve our understanding of the causes of high fertility among some population subgroups and in residential contexts and low fertility in others.  

The PhD studentship is based at the University of St Andrews and is funded by the ESRC Scottish Graduate School of Social Science (within the Health, Families, Relationships and Demographic Change pathway). The ESRC scholarship covers tuition fees, a yearly stipend of £14,777 per year (in the 2018/19 academic year, subject to increase annually), and a research training support grant (RTSG) of £750 per year. Further, the AQM award comes with additional stipend payment of £3,000 per year. The scholarship is open to UK and EU students. EU students who do not fulfil the ESRC’s residence eligibility criteria will be entitled to a Fees Only award (please check the ESRC’s residential guidelines which can be accessed at the Scottish Graduate School of Social Science. The PhD student will be supervised by Prof. Hill Kulu, Dr. Katherine Keenan and Dr. Jed Long.  

Students with a first class or an upper secondary undergraduate or master’s degree in any area of social sciences (including statistics and applied mathematics) who are interested in this opportunity must complete and submit an online application by 25th May 2018 at the following link to Study at St Andrews. Please apply to the “School of Geography and Sustainable Development” and to the programme “PhD Geography (Science)”. Please include a covering letter outlining your interest in human fertility and in applying advance quantitative methods in social science research. Please also indicate whether you apply for a +3 (a three-year PhD) or a 1+3 studentship (a one-year master’s course in research methodology followed by a three-year PhD). There will be a variety of opportunities to take training in advanced quantitative methods during the PhD study; some training will be offered in St Andrews, some elsewhere in the UK. Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed in the week commencing 28th May 2018; Skype interviews are possible. 

 The successful applicant will become a member of the Population and Health Research Group (PHRG) at the School of Geography and Sustainable Development. The PHRG research covers a wide range of population topics including the analysis of family and fertility dynamics; life course choices; internal and international migration; ethnicity and minority populations; health and mortality; and population inequalities. The group combines expertise in advanced techniques of demographic, longitudinal and spatial analysis.

For further details about the research group, please select the Population & Health webpage and Population & Health Research Group website. The group is part of the ESRC Centre for Population Change (CPC) and hosts the Census and Administrative Data Longitudinal Studies (CALLS) Hub. 

  • For further details and information on eligibility please see ESRC PhD Studentship (PDF, 556 KB)
  • Applicants should complete and submit the application using the online application link
  • The studentships will commence in October 2018


Robertson Scholarship

The Robertson Scholarship, funded by a generous gift from Cornelius Robertson, is normally awarded to a postgraduate student in the School of Geography and Sustainable Development. The scholarship is worth £4000 for three years, and can be used to help pay tuition fees, residence costs, and other related expenses. The award is normally made to a part-funded or entirely self-funded student.

For further information please contact Helen Olaez.