Apply for a SCENARIO Phd

Applications for funded Scenario studentships for Autumn 2024 are now closed.

Scenario has two routes for applicants:

  • Project-led: apply for up to 4 Scenario projects per applicant. You can find details of the projects advertised on our webpage Projects For 2024 Entry
  • Scenario Scholarships for Home students from Black, Asian or Minoritized Ethnic Backgrounds: Our aim is to improve ethnic diversity within the Scenario DTP and we are committed to supporting students from Black, Asian, or Minoritized Ethnic (BAME) communities that are currently under-represented.  We will award up to 2 Scholarships. See our webpage Scenario Scholarships for BAME Home Candidates  for more information.

The information below applies to both routes.

How to Apply

Applications are made through our online portal, Good Grants.

You’ll find a step-by-step guide to the application process in these Application Flow Charts:

Scenario DTP Project Applications – Process Flow

Scenario DTP BAME Scholarship – Process Flow

We aim to let you know the outcome of your application shortly after the closure date.  To help reduce unconscious bias, applications are anonymised before being assessed.

For more information please contact:

Key Dates for Applications for Autumn 2024 Entry

Application Deadline: Friday 12 January, 2024

We aim to let you know whether you will be invited to interview by end of month of the closing date.

If you have applied for more than one project and/or the Scenario BAME Scholarship, you will be contacted separately for each.

There will be an in-person interview day at the University of Reading on 7 February 2024 and online interviews on or around 7 February for those who can’t attend in person.

The Scenario Selection Board will meet in early March and we will let you know the outcome of the interviews as soon as possible. NERC Universal Acceptance Deadline is Wednesday 20 March 2024.

Interview Date: Wednesday 07 February, 2024 for project based applications 

Interview Date: 05th -19th February, 2024 for BAME applications 

Get in touch

If you have any questions, please email

Scenario Studentships

We will offer around 15 studentships and scholarships to successful candidates.

Our studentships comprise:

  • stipend – a tax-free maintenance grant, which is £18,622 (full time equivalent for) 2023-24
  • university fees, for both home and international students
  • a Research Training and Support budget to cover costs such as conferences, workshops and equipment.

Project-led studentships are initially offered for 3 years.  Scenario Scholarships for BAME Home Students are initially offered for 3 years, 3 months.

If at the start of the studentship a gap in knowledge or training is identified for the specific project, the studentship can be extended to 3.5 years at that point.  Towards the end of the PhD, there is the opportunity to apply for an extension, based on set criteria. The maximum duration of funding is 4 years.

Some project-led studentships have a fixed funding duration. This is indicated on the Projects for 2024 Entry webpage.

It is possible to study for a Scenario PhD on a part-time basis.

To find out what it’s like to undertake a PhD with Scenario, visit our What Students Say webpage where some of our past and current students share their experiences.

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

We aim to increase the number of applications we receive from under-represented groups. To help reduce unconscious bias, applications will be anonymised before they are reviewed by potential supervisors.  Please read our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion statement for more information before you apply.

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 grant terms and conditions – see Terms and conditions for training funding for more information.

Scenario funding is not open to students who have already started their PhD research.

International Students

There is an upper limit set by UKRI on the number of international applicants we can fund each year so competition is very strong.

Information about whether you qualify as a Home or International student can be found on the UKRI webpage EU and international eligibility for UKRI studentships.

Due to Tier 4 visa restrictions,

  • international students must be based at either the University of Reading or the University of Surrey, and not at one of our other host partner institutions
  • international students can take Masters modules at their home institution only.
  • placements will be assessed on a case by case basis to ensure they comply with visa regulations.

International applicants are also required to meet the eligibility criteria for Academic Performance and/or Relevant Previous Experience.  Please check the following resources to see whether your degree and grade are equivalent to a 1st or upper 2nd class degree in the UK:

Language Proficiency

Candidates must show the necessary levels of English proficiency described on the University of Reading’s Doctoral and Researcher College webpage and the University of Surrey’s International Applicants webpage. Please contact the universities directly if you have any questions.

What happens next ?

After you’ve submitted your application and supporting documents via Good Grants, you’ll receive a confirmation email from us.

Referees are automatically contacted when your application is submitted.

Your completed application will be assessed by different panels.  The time it takes to consider and process your application varies for each panel.

Process of the timeline of the application process can be found in Next Steps

Your feedback

To help us improve our applications process, please complete this Feedback Form  This will also be sent to your email after submitting your application successfully. Your feedback is really important and will not be used as part of the application process.