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How to Apply

We are currently inviting applications for 3 fully funded NERC DTP studentships to commence in October 2017. There are 14 potential projects on offer for these studentships, which are listed here. Potential applicants should review the projects, and select just one to apply for, they should then follow the instructions below. Please note that as these studentships are NERC funded, only UK citizens or those meeting the RCUK studentship residency requirements are eligible to apply.

The application deadline is 5pm on Friday 16th June 2017

We are also currently inviting applications for 1 fully funded NERC DTP studentship in atmospheric cheimstry, to be held in the School of Chemistry at the University of Leeds. The deadline for applications is 31st May 2017, click here to see the potential projects on offer. If you wish to apply for one of these projects, please follow the steps below.

We also advertise a number of fully funded NERC industrial CASE projects, these projects have their own application deadlines and are identified by the £££ in the project list on the Browse Projects page. Applications for these projects should be made to the department hosting the project and not the DTP, the application procedure outlined below is for DTP projects only.

If you wish to be considered for one of the projects proposed in the Leeds/York DTP, the application process is set out in Steps 1-4 below. Please note that you should apply to Leeds in the first instance even if the academic you wish to work with is based at York.


Unless stated otherwise, we offer fully funded studentships (stipend + fees) to both UK and EU applicants.

Step 1

Contact the lead supervisor of your chosen project to register your interest, and to ensure that he/she will be able to effectively support your application. In many cases potential supervisors will be able to arrange initial visits to Leeds or York to discuss the work. Please note that you can only apply for 1 project within the DTP.

Step 2

On-Line Study Application (OLA) should be submitted to Leeds via University Application for Research Degree Study.  In Section B, the programme code that should be selected is called ‘PhD Leeds/York NERC DTP’; it is important that you select that programme of study.  Sections K and L of the OLA request information about the research area, and you should simply input the full title of the project that you wish to be considered for and the supervisors’ names. Your application cannot receive consideration until you provide all supporting documents, as follows:

  • Curriculum vitae (CV)/resumé which shows a high level of academic achievement and appropriate non-academic experience. Please include high school results.
  • Transcripts and certificates of ALL degrees to date. If you have not yet completed your current degree, you will need to send an official transcript of your results so far.
  • Statement of Motivation. Identify your preferred project and explain why it interests you and how your current qualifications and skills map onto the requirements for that choice of project.
  • English Language. Generally, if you are from an EU country other than the UK, you may need to meet the English language requirements (e.g., IELTS/TOEFL).
  • Academic References. Before we can give full consideration to your application, we will need a minimum of two strong academic references. These can be submitted with your application if they are signed, or alternatively, they can be emailed directly by the referee to

Step 3

Interview. We will call the strongest applicants for interview. Interviews for all projects, whether hosted by Leeds or York, will be held in Leeds during the week indicated above. There will be three interview panels in total, one for each of the areas of Atmosphere, Biosphere and Geosphere.  Each interview panel will consist of up to 4 members of DTP staff who will hold roles relating to research in these topic areas or PhD student management.  We seek to make offers to students who have the best qualifications for the projects and who perform best at interview.

Step 4

We will first make informal offers shortly after interview. Strong candidates whose first choice project is no longer available will be offered an alternative, where possible. If you accept an informal offer for a Leeds-based project, you need do nothing further.  If you accept an informal offer for a York-based project you will then be asked to make a formal OLA to the University of York. We will send all of your supporting documents to York; you will not need to supply them again. Just to be clear, all you will need to do is to complete the OLA at York via Select and your start date will be the following October.

We will then make a recommendation for your acceptance for PhD study to the university where the project will be based (Leeds or York). That is the university where you will become a registered PhD student and it will send you a formal offer of a study place. The letter will instruct you how to accept the place.

Once you accept the offer of the study place, you will be sent a formal funding letter.