Apply for a SCENARIO Phd

Applications for SCENARIO studentships for September 2022 intake will open in early November.

We will offer around 15 studentships to successful candidates.  For a flavour of the kind of projects Scenario offers, details of last year’s projects can be found here.

Our studentships cover both fees and stipend – a tax-free maintenance grant which was £15,609 per year in 2021-22. You will also receive a Research Training and Support budget to cover costs such as conferences, workshops and equipment.

Key dates (tbc)

Application Deadline: 21 January 2022

Main interview day: 16 February 2022

We will decide nearer the time whether our interview day will be online, in person or hybrid.

Eligibility based on Academic Performance and/or Relevant Previous Experience

1st or upper 2nd class degree is required in a subject appropriate to the PhD projects applied for (see the project description for more info). Candidates with a lower class of Bachelors degree, but a good performance at the Masters level (“merit” or above) will also be considered.

We will also consider candidates with different academic paths but with experience acquired from a research position, or equivalent, that is relevant to the topic of the PhD project.

Many applicants will still be studying for their undergraduate or Masters degree, so it is fine to provide a projected or target grade for your current degree course – offers are then generally made conditional on the class of the degree actually achieved.

Funding Eligibility

Funding for PhD studentships from NERC is only available to successful candidates who meet the eligibility criteria set out in the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) harmonized training terms and conditions which you can find here.

There is an upper limit set by UKRI on the number of international students we can fund each year, so we advise international students to contact us at to discuss funding opportunities.

Language Proficiency

Candidates must show the necessary levels of English proficiency described on the University of Reading’s Graduate School webpage.  Enquiries about this should be directed to the Graduate School at the University of Reading.

How to Apply

Step 1

All applications to SCENARIO are made via the University of Reading, whether the projects you are interested in are based at Reading, Surrey, The UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, British Geological Survey or Institute of Zoology.

Choose the PhD projects that interest you most (maximum of 4) and rank your choices in order of interest. Your application is only sent to supervisors of projects where you express an interest, so listing more increases your chances of success. If in doubt, choose 4. There will be limited possibilities to express interest in other projects later in the Admissions process.

Each project description indicates the name and institution of the lead supervisor and has a reference number. You are welcome and encouraged to email the lead supervisors of projects to ask them any questions you may have or to discuss the project.

Step 2

Make sure you have the following documents ready to support your online application

  • CV
  • Official transcripts of your higher education qualifications, inclusive of grades
  • Contact details of two academic references
  • Evidence of your proficiency in English if English is not your first language
  • Statement of your research interests: a 1- or 2-page document that motivates your choice of projects based on your academic background and interests. This is also where you could add evidence for your research ability and/or relevant past experience (placements and internships, past research projects, relevant summer jobs, etc.).

Step 3

Apply using the University of Reading online application service. You will need to create an account with the online application service.
During your application please select the PhD Programme in Atmosphere, Oceans and Climate, irrespective of the area of research you are applying for.

The application form only leaves limited space for submitting documents. To work around that limitation, please bundle your list of project titles and reference numbers, in rank order, with your statement of research interests into a single PDF document. Then upload that document in the box entitled “project proposal”.

We will forward your application to the relevant Departments at Reading and/or Surrey and to the lead supervisors of the projects you have selected. You only need to apply once to the SCENARIO DTP.

What Will Happen Next?

Your application will be considered by the lead supervisors of the projects you listed. Shortlisted candidates will be interviewed either on our Interview Day, 10 February 2021, or at other dates agreed directly with the supervisors. After the interviews, supervisors will be asked to comment on each candidate’s strengths, weaknesses, motivation, and fit to project. Finally, the Scenario Selection Board will meet in late February to rank candidates based on their academic profile and/or relevant previous experience and the supervisor’s comments. The Selection Board will also consider other aspects, such as the need for balance of projects between SCENARIO DTP partners, the opportunity of matching funding, and the need for CASE-sponsored projects.