AberDoc Scholarship

AberDoc Scholarship

AberDoc Scholarships are part of a prestigious fund for Research Postgraduates

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.


The competition for the prestigious AberDoc scholarships for those who wish to study for a PhD in any discipline commencing in September 2021 is now open.


To be eligible you must:

  1. have or expect to obtain at least upper second class honours in your first degree;
  2. apply and be offered a place for doctoral study at Aberystwyth;
  3. non-UK students must achieve IELTS 7.0, or equivalent (before the end of March 2021 at the latest);
  4. be commencing your doctoral study in September 2021 or be a current AU PhD student.


If you wish to be considered for an AberDoc Scholarship for PhD study commencing in September 2021, you must have submitted a full PhD application (including research proposal) via the online Postgraduate Admissions Portal by 29 January 2021.

Current AU PhD students who wish to be considered for an AberDoc Scholarship commencing in September 2021 must have completed an AberDoc Expression of Interest Form 2021 (for use by current AU PhD students only) and have submitted it to pg-admissions@aber.ac.uk by this deadline.  Existing AU PhD students are not required to submit a new PhD application via the online Postgraduate Admissions Portal.

AberDoc 2021 for applicants from UK BAME Background

Aberystwyth University is committed to equality of opportunity, and to working to ensure that our student cohort reflects the diverse community we serve. We have introduced a range of positive measures to assist in achieving these commitments; recognising in particular that UK domiciled Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) students are currently underrepresented on our AberDoc Scholarship programme.

The University is introducing ring-fenced AberDoc Scholarship places for 2021 entry.  As part of the AberDoc 2021 Scholarship Competition, the University will guarantee (dependent on reaching a minimum threshold level) AberDoc places for 2 UK domiciled candidates from a BAME background. 

The introduction of this measure follows a review of our recruitment data and forms part of the four-year Strategic Equality Plan developed by the University to achieve greater diversity and better equality outcomes.

Value of AberDoc Scholarships

Those awarded an AberDoc Scholarship will receive a grant for up to three years which will cover their tuition fees (up to the UK rate of £4,407 per annum*) A maintenance allowance of approximately £15,285 per annum* and access to a travel and conference fund (max. £500 per annum*) will also be provided. Scholarships commence in September 2021. 

EU and International students have to cover the difference between UK tuition fees and the EU/international tuition fees 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 EU/international candidates in the AberDoc competition. 

In addition, doctoral research students are often able to undertake teaching work. Payment will be according to the rate for hourly teaching staff. Other opportunities for paid work may also be available, such as research support, marking, student recruitment and support activities.

*Value of award is subject to confirmation for 2021-2022

The Competition

A full PhD application (including research proposal) must be received by the Postgraduate Admissions Office by 29 January 2021. Applications should be made via the online Postgraduate Admissions Portal, and include two academic references, relevant academic certificates and transcripts, and a research proposal (1,000 to 1,500 words). We encourage all PhD applicants to contact the relevant academic department before constructing their research proposal.

Current AU PhD students who wish to be considered for an AberDoc Scholarship commencing in September 2021 must have completed an AberDoc Expression of Interest Form 2021 (for use by current AU PhD students only) and have submitted it to pg-admissions@aber.ac.uk by this deadline.  Existing AU PhD students are not required to submit a new PhD application via the online Postgraduate Admissions Portal.

Departments will usually interview applicants before a decision is made on whether to offer a place to study for a PhD, and whether to nominate them for an AberDoc Scholarship. Each Department will submit a list of nominees to their respective Faculty for further assessment.   Faculties will then forward their nominee shortlist to the AberDoc Selection Panel for further evaluation.  The AberDoc Selection Panel will then confirm the awards and the results will be announced in late April/early May 2021.

AberDoc Scholarship Competition Terms & Conditions 2021

1. Eligibility: To be eligible to hold a scholarship, successful applicants must register as a postgraduate student for the degree of either PhD or PhDFA at Aberystwyth. Applicants should normally have obtained or expect to obtain at least upper second class honours in their first degree.  

2. Residence: Scholarship holders must pursue their research and intend to 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 Head of the Graduate School. Where candidates have already begun research degrees before receiving an AberDoc 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 (Home) tuition fees will be paid and a maintenance award will be offered taking account of current UK Research Council scholarship rates.  However, the AberDoc 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 AberDoc 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 AberDoc scholarships are also strongly encouraged to seek other sources of funding including UK Research Council awards (where applicable).  Academic departments and the Postgraduate Admissions Office will advise applicants on their options. Applicants who subsequently secure Research Council funding must notify the Postgraduate Admissions Office as soon as possible and if it is a full-scholarship, then relinquish the AberDoc award.   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 AberDoc Awards who are subsequently offered UK Research Council or other similar awards must surrender the AberDoc award.  In the event that a student surrenders an AberDoc 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 AberDoc rate.  Except with the permission of the Pro Vice-Chancellor, no other awards may be held concurrently with an AberDoc award.

7. Teaching and Other Paid Work: With the approval of their Head of Department, scholarship holders are permitted, if they so wish, to undertake teaching or demonstrating duties. Additional payments may be made to those who undertake this extra 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 Head of the Graduate School. Apart from such duties, scholarship holders may not undertake any other 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 Head of the Graduate School, have their awards suspended until they are able to resume their studies.

9. Changes of Circumstances: It is the responsibility of all students to inform the Postgraduate Admissions Office immediately of any change in their circumstances, e.g. temporary withdrawal or receipt of other funding, which affects their entitlement to hold a studentship. Failure to do so may lead to a loss of the award and recovery of monies paid.

10. A copy of these Terms and Conditions and the Selection Criteria used by the AberDoc 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 and Rules & Regulations.  No other terms or conditions shall apply.

11. Students Awarded an AberDoc Award shall be notified to the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales and the Higher Education Statistics Agency as postgraduate students.

12. AberDoc Award Holders may be asked to participate in questionnaires, market research, interviews and support for recruitment activities.

13. 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.

Please note that these Terms and Conditions are subject to annual review.

Criteria to Guide the Award of AberDoc Scholarships 2021

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. 
  • 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.

Please note that the Criteria to Guide the Award of AberDoc Scholarship are subject to annual review.