Fees and funding

Scholarships for entry in 2018-19

The University of Sheffield has funding for a range of PhD scholarships for 2018-19 entry. These include University Prize Scholarships, Doctoral Academy scholarships, and scholarships available through the ESRC White Rose Doctoral Training Partnership competition.

We strongly encourage PhD applications from high quality applicants interested in addressing the urban issues of today and challenges of the future, and particularly welcome proposals for PhD projects that fall within our core research themes:

Environment, infrastructure and liveability

We know that in the future our global energy needs will increase significantly. We can also be certain that over the next 50 years (and beyond) the proportion of the world’s population that live in cities will also continue to grow. As governments and societies across the world respond to this challenge, in our research we seek to understand the impacts of energy and infrastructure development, and to consider how economic growth can be achieved whilst protecting the environment.

We focus on the social and ethical dimensions of environmental policy and planning and explore the role of public and stakeholder participation in environmental planning decisions. We examine the processes through which the public are engaged in making and implementing environmental policy as well as the ways in which practitioners implement environmental policies and frameworks. Finally, we also have a strong interest in the part that urban design can play in delivering sustainable urban futures.

View potential PhD projects

Housing and real estate

Housing and property markets are key drivers of economic activity across the world and have a fundamental bearing on how economies achieve sustainable growth. We have a strong and active group of staff whose research addresses issues relating to housing supply; the structure of housing markets; housing search; housing policy and housing management; and the behavioural practices of house-builders/developers and estate agents. Our work on real estate property markets focusses on the calculative practices that shape property markets and affect urban and regional development. We also analyse investors’ decision making strategies within and across functionally and geographically diverse local property markets.

View potential PhD projects

Planning, people and place

We share a strong belief that planning can make a positive difference to the way we all live. In our research, we engage with planning practices in various settings and seek to better understand the politics, relationships and cultures that inform planning in action. We have a strong interest in the way planning professionals implement the policies and frameworks that constitute planning systems across the world – and hence, how planning knowledge is transformed into actions designed to make better places. We also examine the ideas that underpin ‘planning’ as a socially just discipline/project and, in doing so, seek to contribute to current debates on the value and role of planning in contemporary society.

From this fundamental concern with planning practices our focus widens to consider the impact of policy and governance frameworks at a range of scales (local, regional, national and international). New forms of policy development and governance are emerging across states and societies, including increasing levels of engagement with those citizens who are most closely affected by specific policies. The changing relationship between the state and civil society raises interesting and important questions about the representation and legitimacy of people, practices and knowledge within the policy-making process. In our research, we explore different forms of civil engagement in governance practices as well as the challenges of governance across scales and sectors. We also evaluate policy implementation processes and seek to examine the (often unintended) consequences of public policy-making.

View potential PhD projects

Urban inequalities and social justice

Our urban environments are constantly changing and we live in an increasingly borderless world. Urban development and investment in one location is increasingly tied to a series of decisions and connections that spread across regions and nations and involve a wide variety of actors and stakeholders (public and private; formal and informal; local and multinational etc.). The impact of these decisions is felt in varied and (often) unexpected ways by local communities on the ground.

We have a strong focus on issues of growth and social justice in both the Global North and the Global South. We explore the links between economic growth and social cohesion through the lens of housing policy and infrastructure investment. We also examine how social segregation manifests itself both amongst the poor and the ‘super rich’ within developed societies. In relation to the Global South, we consider how ‘informal’ lives and livelihoods challenge official accounts of the city and its development and how a better understanding of urban governance might be used to challenge processes of political marginalisation.

Making sense of processes of spatial interaction is central to the way in which we understand people and places. Increasingly, we use large datasets to help us more accurately define (and visualise) key societal problems and, in turn, consider how policy interventions play out differently in different places.

View potential PhD projects

Entry requirements

University Prize Scholarships and Doctoral Academy scholarships are open to applicants of any nationality and in any discipline within the Faculty of Social Sciences.

Most ESRC White Rose Doctoral Training Partnership scholarships are open to UK and EU applicants only. There are limited opportunities for overseas students under specific schemes (e.g. the White Rose DTP Advanced Quantiative Methods scheme). White Rose DTP scholarships can be offered on a 1+3 and +3 basis, depending on prior research training achievement/experience. All applicants, please see here for further guidance.

To apply for Masters and PhD (1+3) funding, you will need: Qualifications or experience equal to a first or upper second class honours degree or an equivalent combination of qualifications and/or experience.

To apply for PhD (+3) funding, you will need: Qualifications or experience equal to a Merit or Distinction in a Master’s degree. For ESRC funding, you must have already completed the full research training requirements either through a Master's Social Science Research degree or equivalent experience. (For further details, please see the 'Eligibility criteria' section here).

How to apply

Step 1: Apply for admission to the Department, making sure your start date is 01/10/2018.

We strongly advise you to make your application in good time (at least two weeks before the scholarship deadline), as we are unable to consider scholarship applications if you don't hold an offer to study in the Department.

We strongly recommend you develop and finalise your PhD application in consultation with your prospective supervisors before you complete a scholarship application. Please contact our Research School Director, Steve Connelly, in the first instance.

To apply for admission please click here.

Step 2: Make your scholarship application. Please note this is done through the same system as your PhD application (above).

The deadline for scholarship applications is 5pm on 24 January 2018. Further information on the scholarship application process can be found here.

We particularly welcome proposals which involve collaboration with non-academic partners.

Our scholarships cover

  • Tuition fees
  • An annual stipend to cover living expenses equivalent to UK Research Council rates
  • Research Training Support Grant.

All scholarships are available as a +3 (PhD) or a 1+3 (Masters and PhD), as well as on a full- or part-time basis.


We offer an outstanding academic environment for our PhD students. We provide an interdisciplinary research experience and advanced training to all our PhD students, regardless of scholarship funding source, through our Social Sciences Doctoral Training programme. There are further training opportunities within the ESRC White Rose Doctoral Training Partnership.

Further Information

Further information on tuition fees and funding available for postgraduate research study can be found via the links below: