Fees and scholarships

We are committed to the development of our postgraduate research community, and we provide a range of funding and scholarship opportunities to our PhD students.


Postgraduate research tuition fees

Home/EU students

The tuition fee you pay in your first year will increase (in line with inflation) for each subsequent year of study. Tuition fees for part-time degrees are usually charged at half of the rate of full-time degrees across twice the number of years (subject to an increase in subsequent years in line with inflation).

Overseas students

The tuition fee you pay in your first year will be the same for each subsequent year of study. Tuition fees for part-time degrees are usually charged at half of the rate of full-time degrees across twice the number of years.

PGR tuition fees

Postgraduate research scholarships

In order to be considered for a scholarship, you must also apply for a place to study in the Department. We advise you submit your application for a place to study at least two weeks before the scholarship deadline to allow time for this to be assessed and any queries to be addressed.

White Rose Social Sciences Doctoral Training Partnership Studentships 2021/22

Nominations are now open for White Rose Social Sciences Doctoral Training Partnership (WRDTP) Studentships commencing in October 2021. If you are interested in studying for a PhD in the Department of Sociological Studies, you are eligible for nomination by your supervisor to the WRDTP Studentships.

Find out more

ESRC funded Collaborative Award PhD studentship: Contextualising and transforming support for minoritised blood cancer patients in the UK

The Department of Sociological Studies at the University of Sheffield is pleased to offer a PhD studentship funded by a White Rose Doctoral Training Partnership Collaborative Award. The partner is Blood Cancer UK, the UK’s largest blood cancer charity

Black Lives Matter and COVID-19 have done much to highlight health inequalities, compelling organisations across the health sector to reassess their offer to racially minoritised communities. This studentship focuses on Blood Cancer UK (BCUK), which has openly committed to critically exploring its record on racial justice at this moment when racial health inequality is increasingly prominent in political and public discourse. This summer, BCUK asked “why haven’t we done more to ensure we stand with everyone who has blood cancer?”, acknowledging disproportionately little engagement with minoritised patients. This commitment was made in a context where, of the UK’s 40,000 blood cancer patients diagnosed annually, minoritised patients may have especial need for support given their far less favourable experiences and outcomes, from diagnosis to palliative care. 

This qualitative study will critically analyse BCUK’s patient-facing support provision, interrogating its relevance to minoritised service users’ experiences/priorities. 

The research aims to:

  • Critically explore BCUK’s existing service provision for minoritised service users, and the perspectives/views of these (potential) service users;
  • Contribute empirically and theoretically to a cross-disciplinary literature exploring racialised (dis)engagement with healthcare and support;
  • Produce knowledge to support BCUK in developing patient-facing services that are more inclusive of, and of value to, racially minoritised service users, and that will have broader impact within the health sector.

The student will be supervised by Dr Ros Williams, Dr Kate Weiner and Professor Kate Reed, with additional supervision from the Head of Information and Support Services at Blood Cancer UK. 

The studentship is offered as a +3 or 1+3 award, and would begin 1st October 2021 on a full-time or part-time basis, depending on the applicant’s experience and circumstances. Applicants are expected to have a strong first degree in a relevant social science. Applicants applying for a +3 award must demonstrate that they have already completed the full social sciences research methods training requirements at Masters level or have equivalent professional training.


Interested candidates should in the first instance contact Dr Ros Williams (r.g.williams@sheffield.ac.uk) or Dr Kate Weiner (k.weiner@sheffield.ac.uk).

Following enquiry, applications should be made through the University of Sheffield Postgraduate Online Application Form. As part of this, applicants should provide a one-page proposal of how they would approach the studentship, and a one-page personal statement explaining how their skills, interests and career plans make them a suitable candidate for the studentship. Please cite the title of this studentship in your application.

The deadline for applications is 16th March 2021. The likely interview date for shortlisted candidates is 25th March 2021.

“Save Lives, Stay Home”, Or “Save a Life, Give Blood?”: An exploration of NHS Blood and Transplant’s public health messaging in the pandemic media ecology

The Department of Sociological Studies at the University of Sheffield is pleased to advertise a PhD opportunity with the School of Law (University of Leeds) and NHS Blood and Transplant. The student will be supervised by Dr Ros Williams (Sociological Studies, University of Sheffield) and Prof Marie-Andrée Jacob (School of Law, University of Leeds), along with the Assistant Director of Communications at NHSBT.

PhD project description

During the COVID pandemic, NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT), the body responsible for blood provision in England, has continued operating, reminding people: ‘giving blood is essential travel’. Whilst past Public Health Messaging (PHM) featured familiar appeals (eat 5-a-day, Stoptober) alongside blood donation campaigns, from early 2020 the UK public was exposed to unprecedented amounts of PHM about pandemic safety. Arguably these different yet equally important PHM appeals were now “competing” for audience attention: “Save Lives”, used to encourage blood donation, and then for recovered COVID patients to donate convalescent plasma, was now linked with calls to stay home to stop spreading the virus. So too emerged public debate about which PHM messages and messengers to trust. 

This studentship explores how NHSBT seeks to ensure blood and convalescent plasma supply for patients through PHM in this context. The successful applicant will carry on cutting-edge humanities and social sciences research on media ecology, including the study of local actors, practices and materials that produce and consume media, content producers and the content itself. The study will also consider how emergent issues and technologies prompt changes in media practice and content of PHM and beyond.  

“Trust” forms a perennial concern for producers of PHM (Henderson and Hilton 2018). For example, NHSBT undertakes focused recruitment of racially minoritised communities more likely to have certain in-demand blood subtypes, but less likely to engage with donation, a fact often attributed to mistrust of health institutions. Trust is a prominent concern for COVID too. From officials breaking laws, to vaccine hesitancy, whether people trust COVID PHM is a central issue which stands to effect NHSBT’s PHM, which exists in the same media ecology. As such, the studentship will explore questions such as:

- How can we use media ecologies theory to understand increasing PHM in the contemporary media landscape?
- How is NHSBT’s own work inflected by other proliferating PHM at national and local scales?
- How does NHSBT understand the relationship between trust and PHM in the media ecology, and how does this figure in their PHM material?

Research methodologies will be developed according to the successful student's experience and supervisor guidance, but could include qualitative methods such as visual analysis of PHM content, interviews with and observation of content production, and digital methods to collate NHSBT’s social media activity for analysis. 


Applications are invited from students with a good first degree in an appropriate subject (media studies, sociology, anthropology, social policy or related areas in humanities and social sciences) as well as a Master’s degree appropriate to the topic (or be working towards one). We are also happy to consider applications from students with relevant experience in cognate areas.

Requirements of the Studentship

WRoCAH students are required to undertake a bespoke training package and to complete a Researcher Employability Project of at least a month, an Internationalisation Project and a Knowledge Exchange Project. 

All WRoCAH students must submit their thesis for examination with the funded period. This is a requirement of the Arts & Humanities Research Council, which provides the funding for WRoCAH, and is a condition of accepting a Studentship. 

How to apply

By 5pm Friday 9 April 2021, applicants are required to submit to WRoCAH an Expression of Interest, which should include:

- A CV with details of academic qualifications
- A covering letter comprising a two-page statement to convey your motivation and enthusiasm for the project, and to demonstrate your suitability for your intended PhD studies with the University and Project Partner. 

The covering letter should specifically highlight the following:

- Your interest in the project and details on why you have chosen that University and Project Partner.
- How you will apply your current skills, knowledge and experience to undertake a PhD and the approach you would take to develop the project.- How the project fits into your career plans and ambitions.

Click here to complete the Expression of Interest form

16 April 2021: decision on short-listing

The short-list of candidates to be invited for an interview will be announced on Friday 16 April 2021. Short-listed candidates must complete a PhD programme application before interview. If you are short-listed for an interview you will be sent details of how to apply for a place at the University of Sheffield. At that point you will need to submit the names and contact details of two referees, copies of transcripts of your academic qualifications and (if applicable) an IELTS certificate.

w/c 26 April 2021: interviews

Interviews will involve the academic supervisor, Project Partner supervisor and a member of the WRoCAH Studentships Committee. They will be conducted online.

Before applying for any WRoCAH Studentship, please first ensure that you have read the WRoCAH webpages about the WRoCAH training programme and requirements, as well as other funding opportunities.

For more information about this project

The academic supervisors will hold a virtual information session on 1st April 3-4pm. 

Attendance is not required to submit an Expression of Interest. Please email Dr Ros Williams (r.g.williams@sheffield.ac.uk) and Prof Marie-Andrée Jacob (M.A.Jacob@leeds.ac.uk) for any other queries about the project.

AHRC White Rose College of the Arts and Humanities

The White Rose College of the Arts & Humanities (WRoCAH) is a Doctoral Training Partnership of the Universities of Leeds, Sheffield and York. It is responsible for the distribution of AHRC-funded doctoral studentships for these universities and for the coordination of a doctoral training programme. WRoCAH is able to offer around 48 AHRC studentships per year to candidates with a place for doctoral study at the Universities of Leeds, Sheffield or York.

Applicants for an AHRC studentship must have applied for a place of study in an eligible School, Department or Centre and may only apply for funding at one of Leeds, Sheffield or York. The studentship application form and details of how to apply are only available from the WRoCAH website.

Please note that scholarship applications for the 2020-21 academic year have now closed. 

China Scholarship Council

This scheme provides academically excellent Chinese students with the opportunity to study for a PhD at the University of Sheffield. The scholarships are supported jointly by the China Scholarship Council and the University of Sheffield.

The Scholarship will cover:

  • University Tuition Fees
  • A grant for living costs
  • One return flight from China


You must be a national of, and reside in, mainland China (not including Hong Kong or Macau). You must also be intending to return to China once your programme is completed.

Scholarships will be awarded on the basis of academic merit and the fit of the applicant’s proposed research programme with Sheffield’s identified research priorities:

  • Health, demographic change and wellbeing
  • Food security, sustainable agriculture and the bioeconomy
  • Secure, clean and efficient energy
  • Smart, green and integrated transport
  • Climate action, environment, resource efficiency and raw materials
  • The changing world – inclusive, innovative and reflective societies
  • Secure societies – protecting freedom and security of citizens

This scheme is opening soon - please click here for more information.

PhD training in the Faculty of Social Sciences

As part of the Faculty of Social Sciences you will have access to world class training alongside your doctoral study. The Social Sciences Doctoral Training programme is tailored to your individual needs to ensure you have the right skills you need to develop your research.

The training programme is designed to exceed current UK Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) training and development guidelines, and gives all our social science PhD students access to ESRC-funded White Rose Doctoral Training Partnership cohort activities, regardless of your source of funding.

All our students receive interdisciplinary training and experience opportunities via the White Rose Doctoral Training Partnership, and additional discipline specific training is provided in each of our departments.

Find out more about our Social Sciences Graduate School

Flagship institutes

The University’s four flagship institutes bring together our key strengths to tackle global issues, turning interdisciplinary and translational research into real-world solutions.