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How to Apply

Applications for the main DTP studentship competition (for 2017 entry) will open in early November with an application dealine of Monday 9th January 2017, interviews will take place during the week of 13th February 2017.

There are however, still a number of fully funded NERC industrial CASE projects available, 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.


We welcome applications from UK and EU students. All of our funded studentships are available to applicants who qualify for NERC awards; normally that means full funding (fees and stipend) for UK students and those EU nationals who meet UK residency criteria, with fees-only awards available for other EU students.

Whether you are a UK or EU (non-UK) student, you can choose to apply for any DTP research project from the list on the Browse Projects page.

Step 1

View the project page here for details of the project. Contact the lead supervisor 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.

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, and wish to be considered for a Fees Only award (see NERC eligibility requirements above), 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 3 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.