How to apply

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CENTA offers studentships through two main pathways. 

Project-based studentships

CENTA Science Opportunity Scholarships (CSOS)

You can apply directly to a project, or, if eligible, you can apply directly for one of our Science Opportunity Scholarships (or both).  The routes have different eligibility criteria and application deadlines.

Have any questions about applying for a studentship / PhD project with CENTA? Visit our Studentship FAQs page.

Our project-based studentships

Please note: the application deadline for 2024 entry has now passed.

You may only apply to one project at any one university but you may apply to more than one CENTA project if they are hosted at different universities.

Further information on our project-based studentships and support for studentships is also available on our CENTA Studentship Information page,  

During the period that applications to CENTA are open you will be able to view details on all available CENTA projects on this website. Once you have decided on which project to apply for you will need to apply directly to the university that is hosting the project through their application system. Details of how to apply to each project can be found in the ‘Further Details’ section of each individual project advert.  You will also need to ensure you submit the following documents: 

  • A CENTA studentship application form  (Word document – 76.6kb) 
  • A CV with the names of at least two referees (preferably those who can comment on your academic abilities) 
  • The application form of the university you are applying to.  This maybe online or to an email address. 
  • Do not forget to complete the EDI survey via the link on the CENTA application form and to add in your receipt number to the application form. 

If applying for a project-based project hosted at one of our Research Centre partners, you should apply via the partner university and inform the point of contact at the Research Centre. 

Applicants should be aware that the CENTA Studentship Application Form is used for assessment of the application and therefore applicants should focus their efforts on this form rather than on any personal statement required on the host institution application portal.  Forms must be completed without coaching / assistance of the project supervisor or use of chatbots. 

Whilst CENTA Studentship Application Forms are submitted to the host institution via their application portal, they are then shared with CENTA admin in order to facilitate processing of candidates through the selection and offer process and processing of EDI data for reporting purposes. 

Deadline 

Please note: the application deadline for 2024 entry has now passed. 

Eligibility

Our project-based studentships are open to all applicants who meet the academic requirements (at least a 2:1 at UK BSc level or at least a pass at UK MSc level or equivalent).  

International Applicants 

UKRI allows international students to be eligible for studentships but only for a maximum of 30% of the cohort (please see.: https://www.ukri.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/UKRI-030221-Guidance-International-Eligibility-Implementation-training-grant-holders-V2.pdf). CENTA can only fund tuition fees at Home fee level.  Unless you are eligible for a Home award you will need to consider the potential gap between the home and international fee rate and contact the named supervisor of the project you apply for to discuss any support the hosting University may  offer you  (e.g., self-funded difference, or – if available – an international fee waiver).   

Interviews  

Applications to CENTA project-based studentship are considered by a local university-based recruitment team.  If successful at the shortlist stage, you will be invited to an interview. CENTA interviews normally take place during early February each year.  At present CENTA interviews are conducted online but as soon as is practically possible, you will be invited to visit your host institution and meet your potential supervisors in person. 

Our CENTA Science Opportunity Scholarships (CSOS)

Please note: the application deadline for 2024 entry has now passed.

In order to address a historical imbalance, it is our ambition to offer up to 3 fully-funded scholarships to Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic (BAME) Home-award-eligible applicants who meet the academic requirements.

These scholarships are awarded to candidates prior to any project development. Once awarded, CENTA will put you in contact with academics who conduct research in your area of interest and who, with your help, will design a suitable project for you.

If you are interested in any of the CENTA projects that have been advertised, you may apply directly to that project as well, through the separate project-based studentship pathway (see above).

To apply for a CSOS scholarship you will need to send:

  • A CSOS application form (Word document – 83.7Kb) and
  • A CV with the names of at least two referees (ideally those who can comment on your academic abilities)

to: [email protected]

Please do not forget to complete the EDI survey via the link on the CENTA application form and to add in your receipt number to the application form. 

Deadline

Please note: the application deadline for 2024 entry has now passed.

Eligibility

Our CSOS scholarships are open to all home-award-eligible BAME applicants who meet the academic requirements (at least a 2:1 at UK BSc level or at least a pass at UK MSc level or equivalent).  

To be classed as a home student, candidates must meet the following criteria:

• Be a UK National (meeting residency requirements), or

• Have settled status, or

• Have pre-settled status (meeting residency requirements), or

• Have indefinite leave to remain or enter

If a candidate does not meet the criteria above, they would be classed as an International student.

(For further information please see Annex B of this document from UKRI: https://www.ukri.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/04/UKRI-04042023-UKRI_Training-Grant-Terms-And-Conditions-Guidance-April-2023.pdf

If you’re offered a scholarship

If you are offered a studentship, CENTA will put you in contact with academics who conduct research in your area of interest and who, with your help, will design a suitable project for you. Depending on your subject of interest, there may be projects offered by a number of supervisors at different institutions or research centres. By mid-February, you should be able to decide which one you would like to work on. CENTA will support you in this process. 

Successful candidates – acceptance date

Successful candidates on both pathways will be made a conditional offer in late February or early March.  

The annual universal acceptance date for NERC PhD studentship offers is normally the third Wednesday of March each year, at midday.  The purpose of the annual universal acceptance date is to ensure that PhD applicants who have applied for multiple studentship opportunities, and may therefore receive multiple offers, do not have to make a decision on the studentship they wish to accept before knowing the outcome of all of their applications. 

Applicants who receive a PhD studentship offer from a NERC DTP or CDT for the forthcoming academic year are therefore not required to accept an offer formally before this date unless they wish to do so. 

The annual acceptance date for the next recruitment round will be updated on this webpage at the point at which projects for the recruitment round are advertised.

Further information

Please contact the CENTA Manager at [email protected]  for more information.