Apply for a SCENARIO Phd

Applications for studentships for 2020 entry are now closed.

If you are thinking of applying next year, for 2021 entry, take a look at the projects we advertised for 2020 entry to see the wide range of science areas we cover.

Our studentships cover both fees and stipend – a tax-free maintenance grant which was £15,007 per year in 2019-20.

Academic Eligibility

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.  Although you can only provide a projected grade for your current degree course, offers may be made conditional on the degree awarded.

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.

In most cases UK and EU nationals who have been ordinarily resident in the UK for 3 years prior to the start of the course are eligible for a full-award. Other EU nationals may qualify for a fees only award.  All candidates should check the RCUK harmonised postgraduate training terms and conditions to confirm their eligibility for funding. International students who do not meet these nationality requirements should contact us at to discuss funding opportunities.

European Union (non-UK) candidates who have not lived in the UK for at least the past three years may apply for a NERC Fee-Only Award. You will have to provide your own living costs. To apply for a fee-only award, write a separate request (200 words maximum) explaining why you need this funding.

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, 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 for projects where you express an interest, so listing more increases your chances of success. If in doubt, choose 4. However, your choices on the application form will not exclude you from choosing another project after discussions with us. 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

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.

In the box entitled “project proposal” please state that your application is for the SCENARIO NERC DTP. Then list your chosen projects giving their titles and reference numbers. List them in rank order, starting with the project that interests you most.

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.