A Comprehensive Guide to LJMU PhD Scholarship Opportunities


Undertaking a PhD is an ambitious endeavor that requires dedication, resilience and financial support. For talented researchers seeking to pursue doctoral studies at Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU), scholarships can help make advanced study more achievable. 

LJMU is a research-intensive university ranked in the top 150 globally with strengths across science, technology, engineering and the humanities. As the third largest university in the UK by student population, LJMU offers a supportive yet stimulating research environment with access to world-class facilities. A PhD from this prestigious institution can open doors to academic careers or high-level professional positions worldwide.

LJMU Central PhD Scholarships

LJMU offers its own centrally-funded PhD scholarships that are merit-based and open to high-caliber applicants of any nationality. Some key details:

Full Economic Cost (FEC) Scholarships

  • Cover 100% tuition fees at the UK/EU rate and a stipend of around £15,000 per year for 3-4 years.
  • Open to applicants with a minimum 2:1 undergraduate degree and a Master’s degree with Distinction or equivalent.
  • Deadline is usually in January each year for a September start.
  • Assessed based on research proposal, references, interview and academic credentials.

Vice-Chancellor’s Scholarships

  • Very prestigious awards of £20-22k stipend annually plus fees.
  • Typically 5-10 offered each cycle to exceptional candidates with a 1st class undergraduate degree minimum.
  • Demonstrated leadership potential and impactful research focus required.
  • Earlier deadline in November and highly competitive selection process.

A key benefit of central scholarships is the simplcity – applicants only have one application to complete for consideration against multiple funding opportunities. Being directly provided by LJMU, the scholarship terms are also standardized and clearly outlined.

Research Council Doctoral Training Partnerships

Research Councils like the ESRC, AHRC and EPSRC fund many PhD places through prestigious Doctoral Training Partnerships (DTPs) with top UK universities like LJMU. Some specifics:

  • Cover tuition fees and stipend at national research organization rates (£15,609 stipend in 2022-23).
  • Open to UK/EU nationals generally with a minimum 2:1 undergraduate degree and Masters.
  • Apply directly to the Research Council for a place at a specific DTP, often with January deadlines.
  • Projects must align with the Research Council remit – e.g. ESRC for social sciences.
  • Places very competitive with success rates typically less than 20%.

Though applying is more complex than central scholarships, DTP funding is highly desirable. It provides national recognition, additional training and networking perks. LJMU partners with the Northwest Doctoral Training Partnership (NW DTP) for social science projects.

Charity and Industry Scholarships

Beyond university and government schemes, pursuing niche funding can increase chances of full support:

Charitable Scholarships

Some charities offer PhD awards in specific health/disease areas. The Alzheimer’s Society and Wellcome Trust are examples providing over £15k pa plus fees for dementia and biomedical research respectively.

Industry Partnerships

Collaborative projects with employers in sectors like engineering and computer science sometimes fund studentships. For example, BAE Systems has partnered with LJMU on cybersecurity PhDs.

Global Scholarship Databases

Websites like FindAPhD comprehensively list scholarships open to non-UK students worldwide, some provided by foreign governments/organizations. These are generally for STEM fields but could widen options.

While more targeted, charitable and industry awards can be extremely prestigious and tailored to individual research interests. Pursuing all available avenues boosts chances of securing vital funding.

Student Experiences and Success Stories

To bring these opportunities to life, we explore the journeys of real LJMU PhD students who secured full scholarships:

Rachel is an Australian recipient of an ESRC NW DTP award researching refugee integration. She was attracted to LJMU’s expertise in her field and track record of Research Council success. The scholarship has enabled Rachel to pursue her dream of a social science PhD abroad debt-free.

George undertook an engineering Masters at LJMU before securing a Vice-Chancellor’s Scholarship for his PhD in renewable energy systems. The enhanced stipend level allowed him flexibility to take on teaching work and run his own green technology start-up on the side. George credits the scholarship with fostering his entrepreneurial spirit.

Emma’s Wellcome Trust funded project using AI to analyze patient pathways inspired her switch from medicine to health data science. Over four years, she has gained advanced technical skills while presenting her findings internationally. Emma feels the sponsorship has accelerated her career aspirations in digital health solutions.

These inspiring accounts illustrate how PhD scholarships can open doors to opportunities abroad, entrepreneurship and career transitions. For motivated students, securing full funding makes doctoral study a real possibility instead of just a dream.

The Application Process

Preparing competitive scholarship applications requires strategic planning and takes time. Some key stages:

Choosing Supervisor and Project

Develop proposed research idea and scope by liaising with potential supervisors at LJMU matching expertise. Formally being offered a place is often required before applying.

Statement of Purpose

Craft a compelling 1200-2000 word statement outlining research significance, methodology, career goals and why funding is needed. Relate to the scholarship criteria thoroughly.

Proposal and Timeline

Provide a full 3-4 page research proposal including objectives, hypotheses, timeline and expected outcomes/impacts. Demonstrate strong feasibility.

Referees and References

Approach two academic referees – preferably supervisors from your Masters or related work – to provide statements of support and your suitability.

Academic Transcripts and CV

Supply all transcripts and full CV highlighting relevant experience, skills, publications/presentations and any leadership achievements.

Application Form and Deadlines

Fill out the application form thoroughly by the listed deadline, usually mid-January for LJMU central awards and November/December for external schemes.

Taking guidance from scholarship advisors and allowing plenty of review/feedback time is important given the selectivity and stakes involved. Meeting all requirements cohesively presents the best chance of success.

Eligibility Requirements

To be considered for LJMU and external PhD scholarships, base criteria typically include:

  • Applicants holding or expecting to achieve the minimum required degree classification outlined above by the start date.
  • English language ability meeting university requirements if international applicant – e.g. IELTS 6.5 overall.
  • Right of abode or study permission in the UK if a non-EU candidate.
  • Suitable research topic aligning with the university departments and scholarship focus.
  • Clear career ambitions involving doctoral-level qualifications and research impact.
  • Availability to commit full-time to 3-4 years of PhD study without employment conflicts.
  • Meeting any additional conditions of the specific award such as subject, nationality restrictions or required skills.

Candidates are advised to thoroughly check all eligibility rules to avoid unsuccessful applications. Scholarship advisors can also provide guidance tailored to individual circumstances.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can international students apply for LJMU PhD scholarships?

Yes, LJMU central scholarships and many external schemes are open to outstanding international applicants who meet the eligibility requirements. These often include suitable English language test scores and study permission for the PhD length.

2. How difficult is it to secure full PhD funding?

Competition is intense with typically only 10-25% of applicants successful for the most prestigious awards. It requires a well-crafted application showcasing your potential thoroughly against other top candidates. Securing supervisor support, gaining relevant experience and narrowing your research focus increases chances. Pursuing all possible funding options also helps.

3. What happens if I am not awarded a scholarship initially?

Do not lose hope – it is common for very strong candidates to be reconsidered for funding if initial applications are not successful or places become available. You can stay in contact with your potential supervisor and scholarship advisors, express continued interest and re-apply the following year with an improved proposal reflecting examiner feedback. Some students obtain sponsorship later from other sources.

4. What are my career prospects with a LJMU PhD?

LJMU doctorates open doors to careers in academia, research, policy development and senior professional roles across many sectors from health to technology thanks to development of advanced research and employment-relevant transferable skills. LJMU also runs training and networking events to support graduate careers. Scholarship recipients often have additional benefits like mentoring enriching their futures further.

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