Understanding PTDF Ph.D Scholarships in Nigeria

Have you been wondering how to fund your Ph.D studies in Nigeria? Are you looking for scholarship opportunities to make your dream of earning a doctorate degree a reality? If so, you need to consider applying for the prestigious Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF) Overseas Scholarship Scheme.

About PTDF

The Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF) was established in 1981 through Act No. 9 of the Nigerian National Assembly for the purpose of developing Nigerian content in the petroleum sector. PTDF is an intervention agency under the Ministry of State for Petroleum Resources with the key mandate to build indigenous capacity and technology in the oil and gas industry.

Over the last four decades, PTDF has evolved into one of the leading capacity building institutions in Nigeria. Through its various scholarship schemes, skill acquisition programs and research grants, PTDF has played a pivotal role in developing critical manpower for the oil and gas sector and other strategic industries.

Annually, PTDF offers hundreds of scholarships and training opportunities at BSc, MSc and Ph.D levels both locally and internationally. The fund places priority on engineering, geosciences, technology and other scientific disciplines relevant to the development and operations of Nigeria’s petroleum industry.

PTDF Ph.D Scholarship Scheme

The PTDF Overseas Ph.D Scholarship Scheme is one of the flagship programs of the organization aimed at producing top-quality PhD graduates with research focus on critical areas of the oil and gas industry. Under this scheme, deserving Nigerian students are sponsored to earn doctoral degrees from reputable universities across the globe.

Eligibility Criteria

To qualify for PTDF Ph.D Scholarship, applicants must:

  • Be a citizen of Nigeria
  • Possess a good first-degree (minimum Second Class Upper for BSc/HND) in core engineering/science/technology disciplines
  • Not be more than 35 years of age at the time of application
  • Have a minimum of 2 years post-NYSC working experience in the oil and gas industry (for non-NYSC graduates)
  • Gain admission into a full-time Ph.D program at an approved university
  • Submit fully completed application documentation before the deadline

Priority Fields of Study

PTDF prioritizes funding Ph.D programs in the following core areas crucial to Nigeria’s petroleum sector:

  • Petroleum Engineering
  • Geosciences (Geology, Geophysics, Geochemistry)
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Chemical/Petrochemical Engineering
  • Materials and Corrosion Engineering
  • Computer and Information Systems
  • Maritime/Offshore Engineering
  • Electrical/Electronics Engineering
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Mathematics and Physics
  • Energy Economics and Management

Application Process

Application for PTDF Ph.D scholarship is an annual competitive process that typically opens around March/April every year. Here’s a summary of the steps involved:

  1. Obtain admissions letter from an approved university for the intended Ph.D program
  2. Visit ptdf.gov.ng to download application form and guidelines
  3. Complete all sections of the application form and attach required documents
  4. Submit completed application, copy of credentials and other documents to PTDF before advertised deadline
  5. List up to 3 university choices in order of preference
  6. Pass PTDF selection interview and entrance examination if shortlisted
  7. Notification of successful candidates is sent to universities for secure admission
  8. Successful applicants are sponsored by PTDF to commence approved program

It’s advisable to apply as early as possible once the application window opens to have adequate time for processing.

Award Benefits

Once selected, PTDF Ph.D scholars enjoy full sponsorship of their academic program including:

  • Tuition and fees paid directly to the university
  • Monthly stipends paid directly to scholars
  • Medical insurance coverage
  • Annual book/thesis allowance
  • Economy return air tickets (once every session)
  • End of program allowance

In exchange, scholars are bonded for a mandatory period to work in Nigeria’s oil industry upon graduation. This is to ensure knowledge and skills acquired are transferred back to the Nigerian economy.

Factors Considered During Selection

The PTDF selection process is highly competitive given the limited number of slots available annually. Candidates are carefully screened and evaluated based on various factors to select the most outstanding. Some of these include:

  • Academic performance, credentials and CGPA
  • Relevance of intended program to Nigerian oil/gas industry
  • University quality and ranking
  • Aptitude and performance at selection interview
  • Work experience in the petroleum sector
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Research proposal/statement of purpose
  • Extra-curricular activities and accomplishments

Your chances are greatly enhanced by pursuing a Ph.D focus area within PTDF’s priority disciplines. It also helps if you clearly demonstrate how your research intends to proffer solutions to problems in Nigeria’s oil/gas industry.

Overseas Universities on PTDF Scholarship Scheme

Each year, PTDF sponsors students to top-ranked universities across five continents that meet its standards for postgraduate education. Some of the most prominent overseas institutions scholars are currently studying at through PTDF include:

North America

  • University of Alberta, Canada
  • Pennsylvania State University, US
  • Colorado School of Mines, US
  • Texas A&M University, US


  • Imperial College London, UK
  • University of Aberdeen, UK
  • TU Delft, Netherlands
  • ETH Zurich, Switzerland


  • KAUST, Saudi Arabia
  • National University of Singapore
  • NTU Singapore
  • Indian Institute of Technology Bombay


  • University of Adelaide
  • Curtin University
  • University of Melbourne


  • University of Cape Town, South Africa
  • Stellenbosch University, South Africa
  • University of Ghana
  • University of Witwatersrand, South Africa

The list is not exhaustive but captures some of the commonly attended institutions. Note that scholars can also be placed in universities outside this list subject to meeting PTDF qualification requirements.

Tips for Successful Application

To maximize your chances of being selected for PTDF Ph.D sponsorship, here are some key tips to keep in mind as you prepare your application:

  • Start the application process early enough before the deadline
  • Carefully read application guidelines and fulfill all requirements
  • Pursue a research focus aligned with PTDF priority areas
  • Highlight all academic achievements and credentials clearly
  • Demonstrate strong interest in Nigerian oil/gas industry development
  • Emphasize relevance of intended Ph.D program/research
  • Provide well-written statement of purpose and research proposal
  • Request strong recommendation letters from respected individuals
  • Impress at the selection interview with confidence and preparation
  • Consider alternative university choices for flexibility
  • Check application documents thoroughly before submission

Following these tips as you put together a high-quality application can significantly boost your odds of winning a coveted PTDF scholarship slot. Be focused, diligent and passionate about your goals to stand out from other applicants.

Frequently Asked Questions

Now that we’ve covered the key details about pursuing a Ph.D with PTDF sponsorship, let’s address some commonly asked questions:

1. What is the duration of PTDF Ph.D sponsorship?

The standard funding period for PTDF Ph.D scholarships is 3 to 4 years, depending on the program of study. Most doctorate programs are structured to be completed within this timeframe.

2. What fields are not sponsored by PTDF?

PTDF generally does not sponsor Ph.D programs outside key science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines directly relevant to the Nigerian oil and gas industry. Fields like law, arts, humanities, education etc. are typically not considered priority areas.

3. What happens after graduation?

All PTDF scholars are bonded to work in Nigeria’s petroleum sector for a minimum period equal to the years sponsored after completion of their program. The fund monitors placement of graduates in the industry.

4. Can I apply when already studying for a Ph.D?

No, the PTDF scholarship is only for fresh Ph.D admissions. You must secure admission into a brand new full-time doctoral program to qualify for sponsorship. Ongoing Ph.D students are not eligible to apply.

5. What if I am unable to fulfill the bonding period?

Failure to fulfill the mandatory post-graduation bonding period with PTDF will result into refunding the sponsoring costs in line with terms of the bonding agreement signed. These costs are usually substantial amounts running into millions of naira.

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