Applying to LISS

The LISS DTP  Open studentship competition for October 2021 entry will open in early November 2020 when the information below will be updated.  
The LISS DTP CASE competition is now inviting proposals from academics.
All LISS DTP studentships are available either full- or part-time in either 1+3 or +3 format.

LISS DTP awards ESRC-funded postgraduate research studentships in the social sciences at our three partner institutionsKing’s College London, Queen Mary University of London and Imperial College.

Whilst interdisciplinarity is the hallmark of LISS DTP research, ESRC studentships are only available for projects that fall substantially (>50%) within the broad social and behavioural science remit of the ESRC.  For guidance, please see this ESRC webpage. For more information, please visit the UK Research and Innovation websites.

We run Drop-In Sessions in November for students to ask questions about the application process.  Details to follow.

There are two studentship competitions:

  • the Open Competition where where research proposals are generated by applicants
  • the CASE Competition where research projects must have a non-academic  partner, and the research proposal is submitted by the academic supervisor.  Input to the proposal from a student applicant is possible.

For both competitions we offer funding for either a 1+3 studentship (1-year Masters degree followed by a 3-year PhD) or a +3 studentship (3-year PhD) .  All studentships are available full-time or part-time (50%).  More information on the process for both is in the drop-down menus below.

You may submit only one application for each annual competition.  Students who are unsuccessful one year may apply again another year.

Advice & Guidance

You can find some advice and guidance on the process of finding a supervisor for your research degree within the links below:

We also recommend you visit the research portals for the institutions within our partnership. There you will be able to search by the academic’s name or subject/discipline/field of research

Following a  UKRI announcement on the 20th August 2020, international students (including EU students) will be eligible for awards from October 2021 onwards.  Up to 30% of  DTP students can be international, so LISS DTP will be able to offer up to about 12 international studentships in the open competition . Applicants should note however that the ESRC will only provide fees at the UK rate, so the difference between the UK rate and the international rate will have to be met by the student or their institution.  LISS DTP is currently in discussion with institutions and will provide further information when available.

In view of the limited number of studentships available, successful applicants are likely to have a very good first degree (BA or BSc Honours or equivalent, at 1st class standard or upper 2nd with clear evidence of first class work).  For +3 awards, an appropriate Masters degree (at distinction or at least high merit level) is expected. Other qualifications relevant to the proposed area of study, such as professional or work-related expertise, may also be considered.

The following are NOT eligible:

  • Students who will have less than 50% of their study time (usually 3 years for a full-time PhD) remaining when they start their LISS-funded studentship.  In practice, this means that students in their first year of doctoral study can apply for funding for the second and third years.
  • Distance learning programmes .
  • Applicants who have already been awarded a PhD or equivalent degree.

There are different online application forms for 1+3 and +3 studentships (see links to both below): make sure you complete the correct one. You cannot apply for both 1+3 and +3. If you are unsure as to which studentship type you should apply for, please consult the guidance on our 1+3 and +3 Studentships page under Step 2.  If you are still unsure after reading this information, please contact

Each LISS DTP application has three parts:

  1. An online LISS DTP application form (either 1+3 or +3)
  2. A primary supervisor statement. The applicant’s proposed primary supervisor must complete the appropriate (1+3 or +3) online form
  3. A degree admissions application (including all transcripts and 2 references). You must apply for admission to your Masters or doctoral degree at your university of choice- King’s, Queen Mary or Imperial- at the same time, or before, applying to LISS DTP.

All three parts must be submitted by by 31 January 2020, 17:00 GMT but note  that individual programmes/institutions may have earlier deadlines – check with the supervisor or department through which you are applying.

There is more detailed guidance on the 1+3 and +3 studentship application process and completing the application forms on our 1+3 and +3 Studentships- the application process page.

Links to the online 1+3 and +3 application forms and the supervisor statement forms are  below.  We would recommend that you download the PDF outline of your online application form (both available below), so that you can prepare in advance for the questions you’ll be asked in the online form.

1+3 Forms

LISS DTP 1+3 Application Form (this link will open in a new window)

LISS DTP 1+3 Application Form  PDF version to allow you to prepare answers in liaison with your supervisor before completing the online form.

1+3 Supervisor Statement Form (this link will open in a new window)

1+3 supervisor statement form PDF version to allow you to prepare answers.

+3 Forms

LISS DTP +3 Application Form (this link will open in a new window)

LISS DTP +3 Application Form PDF version to allow you  prepare answers in liaison with your supervisor before completing the online form.

+3 Supervisor Statement Form (this link will open in a new window)

+3 supervisor statement form PDF version to allow you to prepare answers.

LISS DTP’s Collaborative studentship competitions promote partnerships between social scientists at King’s College London, Queen Mary University of London and Imperial College and end-user organisations (public or private or third sector ‘partner institutions’).  A collaborative studentship (referred to as a CASE studentship) is one in which the student enhances their training by working closely with the non-academic partner in the development of their research project. They are a great way to initiate longer-term partnerships and to ensure the ‘impact’ of doctoral research.

It is important to note that it is academic faculty who initially apply for collaborative studentships, as potential supervisors.  This initial call for academic proposals will open each September and close in mid-November each year for the duration of the LISS DTP grant funding.

CASE Project Proposals by Academics:

Academic applicants are limited to ONE CASE application in which they are the named primary supervisor.  It is possible to be listed as a second supervisor on multiple CASE applications.

Studentships are expected to commence in the October following the successful awarding of CASE funding to an academic project.

If successful, the academic may award the studentship either to a named student or through an agreed recruitment process.  The involvement of the partner institution should add value to the studentship (e.g. distinctive opportunities for analysis, dissemination, research management, networking and/or knowledge transfer) and a financial contribution (though this is not essential).  The PhD project should also enhance the partner institution’s activities by offering the potential for societal or economic impact.  The academic project lead will be asked to explain in the Case for Support form whether the project will be best undertaken in a 1+3 or +3 format.  A decision on this should be made in consultation with the non-academic partner and in light of the level of training that the student will need to have to undertake the project.

You can obtain more guidance on the application timeline process and read the judging criteria for these awards on the CASE Studentship page.

If you are an academic within the LISS partnership and would like to submit a CASE project proposal, please visit the following page for more information and a link to the online application form.

Applying for CASE Studentships as a Prospective Student:

Those who are interested in applying to be the student on a LISS DTP CASE project can view available projects, their application deadlines and materials required to apply on this page.