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ESRC/PIC Masters Studentship Scheme in Population Studies , UK

Job Description : The Population Investigation Committee (PIC) established a scholarship fund in 1996, perceiving that UK students were having difficulty in obtaining funding for the further study of demography beyond undergraduate level. In 2009, the ESRC & the PIC entered into a funding agreement for a five-year period to enable additional scholarships to be offered under the terms of the Memorandum of Understanding between the two bodies. The aim of the scheme is to aid the recruitment & initial development of talented students in demography by contributing to student fees and maintenance costs. The ESRC has entered into the scheme to build capacity in a priority area for the Council. The ambition within the co-funding agreement is to actively increase the research capacity within Demography.


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Eligibility for the Scholarships is restricted to students accepted on an approved one-year Masters course with a high demographic content. The ESRC-approved eligible courses and institutions are:

University of Dundee: DUN04000 Department of Geography – DUN04001 – MSc Applied Population & Welfare Geography.

University of Liverpool: LIV10000 Department of Geography – LIV10003 – MA Research Methodology (Population Studies).

University of London, London School of Economics & Political Science: LSE15000 Department of Social Policy – LSE15001 – MSc Social Research Methods (Population).

University of London, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine: LSH02000 Department of Epidemiology & Population Health – LSH02001 – MSc Demography & Health (DH) and LSH02002 – MSc Reproductive and Sexual Health Research (RSHR).

University of Southampton: SOT07000 Division of Social Statistics, School of Social Science – SOT07001 – MSc in Social Statistics (Research Methods Pathway) (providing a high proportion of demographic units will be undertaken), and, SOT07002 – MSc Demography.

Additionally, not more than two awards per year MAY be offered for the following courses which are not ESRC-approved but are approved by the PIC:

University of London, London School of Economics, Department of Social Policy: MSc Health, Population and Society. Department of Social Policy & DESTIN (Development Studies Institute): MSc Population and Development.

University of Liverpool, Department of Geography: MA Population Studies.


Residential criteria: Scholarships will only be awarded to students who are normally UK resident or EU students meeting standard ESRC eligibility requirements. In particular, rather than being based on British nationality as previously, all candidates should have settled status in the UK and have been ordinarily resident here for at least three years. Residence in the UK as full-time student does not qualify non-EU nationals for an award. Institutions applying on behalf of candidates are responsible for ensuring that the residential criteria are fulfilled.

Details of residential criteria can be accessed here.

Academic criteria: Candidates must have qualifications of the standard of a good honours degree at first or upper second class level, from a UK academic institution. In the majority of cases, candidates will have undertaken an undergraduate course at a recognised UK higher education institution. However, some may have qualifications from outside the UK, or be able to offer a combination of qualifications and/or experience. In both cases it will be necessary for the institution where the candidate proposes to study to ascertain whether these qualifications can be equated to an honours degree and at what level. A less than sufficient first degree may be enhanced by the attainment of a Masters degree. If a candidate is applying who has enhanced their degree, enough information should be given to show that this has sufficiently enhanced the candidate’s knowledge to ESRC/PIC standards.


In 2010, for the academic year 2010-2011, there will be EIGHT awards, at least six of which will be awarded to the eligible ESRC-approved courses detailed above. A maximum of two awards MAY be made to the courses listed above which are not ESRC approved, but which are approved by the PIC. Each eligible institution may nominate FIVE candidates (per institution, not per course).


The value of a scholarship in 2010 will be £15,000, to include tuition fees. An initial payment of £12,000 is made at the beginning of the academic year from which it is expected that tuition fees will be deducted. Institutions can deduct tuition fees up to the maximum agreed RCUK level. In 2009/10, this amount was £3390. The balance of £3,000 is paid in late February or early March of the following year, on receipt of a satisfactory progress report from the student’s supervisor. Awards are usually administered by the institution at which the student will be studying and maintenance may well be paid out in instalments.


Applications are not accepted from individual students. Tutors of approved one-year MSc courses are invited to apply on behalf of suitable candidates at the beginning of April each year, when they will also be advised how many applications from each institution can be accepted. Applications can be accepted from students wishing to study part-time over a two-year period (when the amount of the award will be split between the two years.) Scholarships are not available to students subsequently awarded or holding major grants from other sources such as Research Councils. The closing date for applications in 2010 will be 7 July 2010. Each application will be assessed by an Assessment Panel of four academics drawn from the PIC’s Scholarship Committee and the ESRC’s Training and Development Board. All candidates will be informed of the outcome of their application by the end of July 2010.

Applications via course tutors should consist of five copies each of:

• A completed application form – access here.

• Two references from persons able to confirm the student’s suitability for an award.

Candidates will be expected to be planning a career in demographic research, or in an area where demographic skills are a necessity. Previous experience of quantitative methods is not essential but would be welcomed, although candidates should be able to demonstrate that they have the numerical skills needed to acquire these essential research methods.

On completion of their course, successful candidates will be required to return an assessment of their course on the form provided, which will also ask for information about future work or study intentions to aid the monitoring & assessment of the scheme.

Population Investigation Committee
London School of Economics
Houghton Street,
London WC2A 2AE

Tel: 020 7955 7666
Email: [email protected]

Further Scholarship Information

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