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School of Geography and Sustainable Development PhD Studentship Competition 2021


Research Field
Formal sciences
Natural sciences
Professions and applied sciences
Social sciences
Funding Type
Career Stage
First Stage Researcher (R1) (Up to the point of PhD)
European Research Programme
Not funded by an EU programme


School of Geography and Sustainable Development PhD Studentship Competition 2021

SGSD PhD Studentships

The School of Geography and Sustainable Development (SGSD) is delighted to announce the 2021 PhD Studentship Competition. Two fully funded PhD scholarships are available to join the School’s vibrant research community. This is a continuation of scheme initiated in 2020, representing the School’s commitment to postgraduate research.

The successful candidates will receive funding for three years as follows: a stipend in line with UKRI rates (currently £15,285), an annual Research and Training Grant of £750, payment of tuition fees (home/international). The competition is open to candidates of all nationalities.

The Studentships are funded by the School of Geography and Sustainable Development, the Robertson Scholarship and the University of St Andrews Handsel scheme.

How to Apply

Applications should be made via the central University of St Andrews system: You should select School of Geography and Sustainable Development and clearly indicate in the funding section “SGSD Scholarship Competition 2021”.

For the application you will need:

  1. A covering letter that provides: a) statement of your reason for wishing to undertake PhD study at SGSD and b) a statement of support from your proposed primary supervisor
  2. A Curriculum Vitae focusing on your academic track record.
  3. Transcripts and/or certificates of academic qualifications.
  4. A research proposal which should comprise the PhD project title, a project abstract (no more than 300 words), and the case for support (maximum 2000 words) which should include:
  • Overview and rationale for project, aims, research questions and methods
  • Proposed first and second supervisors
  • Statement on the fit of the proposed project with research of the School
  • Anticipated project outcomes in terms of research output and likely impacts
  • Statement of the feasibility of the project, identifying risks and how these will be mitigated
  1. Names and contact details of two referees who can provide references.
  2. Evidence of English language capability, which may include evidence of prior Higher Education study in English or relevant certification (e.g. IELTS).

For general criteria for entry to PhD programmes at the University of St Andrews see: The minimum academic qualification is a 2:1 Honours Degree (or overseas equivalent) in a relevant subject.

The closing date for applications is Monday 1st February, 17.00 (UK time).

Selection Process

Applications will be reviewed by a panel of staff from SGSD. The panel will score applications in 3 domains: academic track record, research proposal (including fit to SGSD), support from supervisor. Shortlisted candidates will be invited for interview, which we anticipate will likely occur through video conferencing. Candidates will be informed of the outcome following interviews. Successful candidates will be expected to start on 27th September 2021.

About the School of Geography and Sustainable Development

The School of Geography and Sustainable Development occupies the Irvine Building which is located in the historic town centre near the University Library and overlooks St Andrews Bay. The School is well-known for world-leading research in a number of areas and has three research groups: Environmental Change, Population and Health, and Geographies of Sustainability, Society and Possibility (GOSSIP). According to the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014, 83% of research conducted in the SGSD was classified as world-leading or internationally excellent; 88% of research environment was world-leading. The School also has a well-established reputation for high teaching quality (listed 1st in the UK in the Geography subject area in the Guardian University Guide 2020). The School has 35 academic staff, 19 postdoctoral fellows and 49 PhD students, supported by two technicians and six administrative staff.

Further information on the University is available at, and on the School of Geography and Sustainable Development at Details of academic staff and their supervisory interests can be found at

Postgraduate Research Study in the School of Geography and Sustainable Development

SGSD has 51 research postgraduates (PGRs) who are a vital part of the School’s research culture. PGRs are engaged across the research interests of the School and all PGRs are members of Research Group(s). PGRs are provided with deskspace, co-located with staff in the Irvine Building. All incoming PGRs are provided with a laptop. For details about current PhD students see

In addition to regular supervision and research group meetings, PGRs gather fortnightly for Lunch&Learn sessions, and there is a programme of social activities throughout the year, led by the PGR Reps. PGR Reps are members of the Postgraduate Committee which oversees PGR matters for the School and is Chaired by the Director of Postgraduate Studies.

PGRs have access to all the facilities of the University including social, sporting and library facilities. PGRs also have opportunity to undertake skills training provided by the Centre for Educational Enhancement and Development (CEED) at St Andrews including their GradSkills Programme.

Progress through the PhD is monitored via the Annual PGR Conference and Review Meeting which take place in April. Through this process, together with supervision and training, the School achieves outstanding rates of PhD completion. Our PGR graduates have gone on to jobs in academia, industry, government and consultancy in the UK and elsewhere.


Please address enquiries to the PGR Administrator, Helen Olaez, at



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