Aberystwyth University Doctoral Career Development Scholarships (DCDS) Competition
The Department of Geography and Earth Sciences at Aberystwyth University is inviting applications to the university’s doctoral scholarship (DCDS) scheme which offers a package of research, training and career development for full-time PhD students. These awards are tailored to enable students to develop the necessary skills required to meet their career choices and offer a breadth of development opportunities to enhance their research, teaching and transferable skills.
Students within the scheme will make an agreed contribution to the Department and University as a condition of the PhD scholarship. Career development contributions could involve teaching, research assistance, editorial work, professional placements, or other personal development opportunities.
The competition for these prestigious University DCDS scholarships is now open to students who wish to study for a full-time PhD commencing in September 2014:
To be eligible you must:
- have or expect to obtain at least upper second class honours in your first degree
- apply and be offered a place for doctoral study at Aberystwyth
- achievement of 7.0 in IELTS, or equivalent, as the normal case, for non-UK students (before the end of March 2014 at the latest)
- be commencing your doctoral study in September 2014
Deadlines: The deadline for applications is 1st February 2014.
Further details of the Doctoral Career Development Scholarships (DCDS) Competition (including the regulations and conditions for award holders) are available at:
Value of DCDS Scholarships
Successful candidates will receive a grant for up to three years which will cover their tuition fees (up to the UK/EU rate of approx. £3900) and also provide them with a maintenance allowance of approximately £13,726 per annum and access to a travel and conference fund (max. £500 per annum). Scholarships commence from the main intake: September 2014. There will be aprpoximately 12 new DCDS awards available for the September 2014 intake.
Non-EU students would have to cover the difference between UK/EU tuition fees and the non-EU tuition fees (approx. £8,350 to £8,600) from their scholarship. However, there will be 3 additional President's Scholarships, which cover this difference in tuition fees. These will be awarded to the three highest ranked non-EU candidates for the DCDS competition.
The application to study for a PhD must be received by the relevant closing date. There are no additional forms for applicants to complete for this competition. Decisions will be based on the application to study for a PhD and the nomination by the relevant department. Applications must include an application form, two academic references, academic transcripts and a research proposal (1000 to 1500 words). No other forms are required. We encourage applicants to contact the relevant academic department before constructing their research proposal.
Departments will interview all applicants before a decision is made to offer a place to study for a PhD and to nominate for a University DCDS Scholarship. The results will be announced during the first week of May. Selection for the above awards will be based on the application for admission, including research proposal and two academic references.
The regulations and criteria below that pertain to these studentships may be accessed from this page. These regulations are subject to annual review.
Provisional Terms & Conditions (subject to confirmation as currently subject to annual review)
Regulations for Aberystwyth‘s Doctoral Career Development Scholarship (DCDS) Scheme 2014
1. Eligibility: To be eligible to hold a scholarship, successful applicants must register as full-time postgraduate students for the degree of either PhD or PhDFA at Aberystwyth i.e. for a doctoral degree. Applicants should normally have obtained or expect to obtain at least upper second class honours in their first degree. See also paragraph 5 below.
2. Residence: Scholarship holders must pursue their research and be resident in Aberystwyth for at least 44 weeks of the year. Where a scholarship holder wishes to spend a significant period away from Aberystwyth (e.g. for extended fieldwork) the permission of the appropriate Pro Vice-Chancellor must be obtained.
3. Period of Award: Subject to satisfactory progress confirmed annually by departmental and institutional Research Monitoring Committees, scholarships are normally tenable for a period of up to three years, beginning at the start of the session after the competition, i.e. September. Deferral of an award is possible only in exceptional circumstances and with the permission of the relevant . Where candidates have already begun research degrees before receiving a DCDS award, the scholarship will cover the remainder of the registration period and not the full three years. Continuation of awards in each new session is subject to satisfactory progress.
4. Level of Award: UK/EU tuition fees will be paid and a maintenance award will be offered taking account of current UK Research Council scholarship rates. However, the DCDS awards will not necessarily be of the same value as UK Research Council awards. There will be a common figure for all full-time students receiving DCDS awards. Studentship holders may apply for a limited amount of assistance towards meeting the cost of fieldwork, attendance at conferences, or other travel. There is no provision for additional allowances for dependants. Other research costs such as for postal surveys, consumables in experimental work etc must be met by the student’s own department.
5. Research Council and Other Awards: All applicants for the DCDS awards are also strongly encouraged to seek other sources of funding including UK Research Council awards (where applicable) to be held at Aberystwyth, where these are available, including EU students eligible for fees-only UK Research Council awards. Academic departments and the Postgraduate Admissions Office will advise applicants on their options. If applicants were eligible for UK Research Council awards but they fail to follow the advice of their departments to submit applications to the relevant UK Research Council, they may be withdrawn from consideration for DCDS awards. There is one exception to this rule: applicants within the ESRC remit who hold or are undertaking a Specialist Master’s degree need not apply for the 1+3 ESRC award which would require them to take a second Master’s (Research Training) degree. These students would be required to undertake research training while registered for the PhD.
6. Successful candidates for DCDS awards who are subsequently offered UK Research Council or other similar awards must surrender the DCDS award. In the event that a student surrenders a DCDS award to take up UK Research Council or other awards of lesser value, the University will ensure that the student will not be disadvantaged. Thus, where a student accepts a fees-only UK Research Council award, the University will pay maintenance at the DCDS rate. Except with the permission of the Pro Vice-Chancellor, no other awards may be held concurrently with a DCDS award.
7. Career Development Contribution: As part of any DCDS award, the student will undertake teaching, research or similar work within the University. Any such duties (including preparation and associated assessment) should not exceed six hours in any one week or not more than 180 hours per Academic Session (whichever is the greater) in accordance with UK Research Council guidelines. Scholarship holders who undertake teaching duties will be required to attend such courses as may be deemed appropriate by the Director of Postgraduate Studies. Scholarship holders may not undertake any remunerated work without the permission of the Pro Vice-Chancellor.
8. Temporary and Permanent Withdrawal: If a scholarship holder withdraws permanently from the University, all rights to his or her studentship are thereby forfeited. In addition, an award holder who withdraws from the University will be required to refund that proportion of the quarterly maintenance award which has already been received for the remainder of the quarter in which he or she has withdrawn. No further maintenance payments can be made once an individual has withdrawn. Students who are forced to withdraw temporarily from their studies may, with the permission of the appropriate Director, have their awards suspended until they are able to resume their studies.
9. Changes of circumstances: It is the responsibility of all students themselves to inform the Postgraduate Admissions Office and directly of any change in their circumstances, e.g. temporary withdrawal, receipt of other funding, which affect their entitlement to hold a studentship, at the earliest opportunity. Failure to do so may lead to a loss of the award and recovery of monies paid.
10. A copy of these regulations and the selection criteria used by the DCDS selection panel in deciding which applicants should receive awards shall be sent to successful candidates by the Postgraduate Admissions Office. Successful candidates should also note their responsibilities for their work which are outlined in the University's Code of Practice for Research Postgraduates. No other terms or conditions shall apply.
11. Students awarded the DCDS shall be notified to the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales and the Higher Education Statistics Agency as postgraduate students.
12. Aberystwyth University reserves the right to withdraw a scholarship or to amend the terms on which it is held. In exceptional circumstances, it may recover monies already paid.
13. Students accepting a DCDS will sign a document detailing terms and conditions, but will not hold a contract of employment with the University.
Criteria used to guide the award of scholarships
1. Evidence of the candidate’s potential as a research student
- Relevant undergraduate work and/or performance at Master’s degree level
- Other evidence of success in research-type activity
2. The contribution which the proposed study would make to the Department’s research profile and research aims
- Extent of ‘fit’ with Departmental research interests and priorities, including the prospective supervisor and how the proposed research topic is related to staff and research group expertise.
3. Candidate’s career development
- An identified element of contribution to the student’s career development and to the Department, backed up by appropriate training
4. Quality of the research proposal
- Clarity of research aims and objectives
- The proposal is grounded within the relevant academic discipline(s).
- Appropriate methodological approaches have been considered and resources are in place in the department to support the methodology
- The proposed research has the potential to make an original contribution to scholarship in its field
5. Judgements on the candidate’s proposal and his/her potential as a researcher
- Reports of referees. Please note that the memo from the Postgraduate Admissions Office asks for two academic references on each candidate.
- Evidence of why the proposal was prioritised by the relevant Departmental committee
- Evidence that the candidate is capable of completing the proposed thesis within the required deadline