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The University of Southampton
Doctoral College

Presidential Scholarships

Students discussing research

It is with regret that due to the continuing uncertainty over the COVID-19 pandemic, applications to the Presidential Scholarship scheme have been cancelled for 2020/21 and 2021/22. Updates will be posted here thereafter.

2020-21 academic year

For candidates able to demonstrate outstanding academic performance and who are commencing their doctoral studies by research at the University of Southampton, the Doctoral College will be offering a limited number of prestigious Presidential Scholarships. The scholarships will cover full fees, a stipend and a research training and support grant for up to 3.5 years (or 84 months pro rata for part time students).

The scheme is open to all nationalities and subject areas. 

No formal application for the scholarships is required from the candidate. Faculties will make applications for Scholarships on behalf of suitably qualified candidates, to the Doctoral College for consideration.

The recipients of the scholarships must commence their doctoral studies by research between 1 August and 1 December 2020.


Successful candidates will receive the following academic scholarship:

Each component will be payable for a maximum of up to 3.5 years (or 84 months pro rata for part time students), or until the date of the first submission of the thesis, whichever is the soonest. The maximum length of time may be adjusted pro rata for part time students.

The fees and stipend components of the scholarship will be reviewed annually. The stipend will be pegged to the UKRI minimum.

Presidential Scholars will have access to a programme of events, networking opportunities and will have their work promoted on University media. 


For use by potential Supervisors and Faculties only. Click here to access the form that Supervisors/Faculties need to fill in.

Applications for Presidential Scholarships may be accepted from candidates demonstrating exceptional academic performance who have been accepted to commence for doctoral study by research at the University of Southampton in academic year 2020/21.


There is no restriction on nationality, but any offer of the award, and ongoing continuity of the payment of the Scholarship is subject to candidates being able to satisfy:

  • The admissions requirements for candidature for a doctoral qualification by research at the University of Southampton (UoS), including University English Language entry requirements for their chosen area of study.
  • Any UK Visa requirements for periods of study in the UK.
  • The other eligibility and terms and conditions of the Scholarship outlined in this document.
  • Candidates must be highly ranked amongst their cohort in their previous institution, as evidenced by their transcript and/or references.
  • Candidates must have been offered a place on a Southampton Doctoral Programme by research.


Candidates must be in possession of, or due to receive, either

  • A first class or equivalent in their undergraduate or integrated masters degree;
  • and/or a distinction overall, with a distinction in the project or equivalent in a standalone masters.
  • Equivalency may be established by reference to standard comparators such as NARIC.

Other Criteria

  • Recipients of the award are expected to spend the majority of time of study at the University of Southampton in the UK.
  • The scheme is only open to new applicants for research doctorates. Existing students registered for doctorates at the University of Southampton are ineligible for the Scholarships.
  • An individual supervisor may only supervise (as main or co-supervisor) one such Presidential Scholar at a time.
  • Candidates undertaking part time doctoral studies by research are also eligible for consideration, but any scholarship will be paid at a pro rata level (for up to 84 months).
  • A review of the scholarship funding levels will take place each year and continued payment will be contingent on satisfactory progress, as measured by the University of Southampton annual monitoring process.
  • Candidates undertaking taught doctorates are not eligible for consideration for the Presidential Scholarship.
  • The recipients of the scholarships must commence their doctoral studies by research between 1 August and 1 December 2020.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there will now only be one round for 2020/21 starts.

 Round 1 
Final Submission to Faculty 24/1/20
Faculty Decision 14/2/20
Return Applications to Doctoral College 17/2/20
Doctoral College Decision 6/3/20
Successful Candidates Notified by 20/3/20


In each round a two-stage process will be followed:

  • UoS Academic Schools may recommend suitable candidates meeting the eligibility criteria for ranking by the Faculty Graduate School Committee by the Faculty Ranking Date. The Ranked candidates will be forwarded to the Doctoral College by the Forwarding Date.
  • The final decision will be made by a Doctoral College Selection Panel, consisting of the Vice President Research (or nominee), Director of the Doctoral College, Faculty Directors of Graduate Schools.
  • Faculties must ensure that a complete Presidential Scholarship Application form is forwarded on, together with the University application form, for all candidates to the Doctoral College Selection Panel. Applications for candidates not in possession of all of the criteria will be rejected.
  • Successful candidates will receive written confirmation of their scholarship on a letter provided to the relevant Faculty Graduate School Office.  
  • Any award will be conditional on achieving any predicted qualifications and satisfying all the required terms of the award.
  • Candidates who are unsuccessful in the award of a full Presidential Scholarship may be eligible for consideration for a partial or an alternative award of funding.


The primary criteria used for ranking at both Faculty and Doctoral College level will be:

Academic Excellence: having met the minimum eligibility criteria listed above and as demonstrated by academic results, transcripts, awards and distinctions.

Research Potential:as demonstrated by the research plan and its potential contribution of the project as described in their personal statement and/or supervisory statement. 

Suitability of the candidate: as demonstrated by the candidate’s track record, or experience of research to date, the strength of the applicant’s references, performance at interview, and case for support from the supervisor.

Eligibility of the supervisor: staff may only be the main supervisor or co-supervisor of one such Presidential Scholar at a time.

Secondary Criteria

Secondary criteria may also be taken into account in arriving at a Doctoral College ranking.  These include:

  • Inter-Faculty research projects
  • Links to University strategic partners
  • Faculty or University research strategy
  • Composition of the supervisory team
  • The quality of, availability of and contribution to doctoral research training across the university made by a Faculty
  • The availability of alternative funding sources such as a UKRI DTP

Other Funding

  • A Presidential Scholarship may be awarded to a candidate in possession of third-party funding, providing that the award of the Scholarships is compatible with the conditions of the third-party funding (e.g., UKRI 50% rule). In this event the Presidential Scholarship payments will be reduced by the same amount as the third party funding available. The amount of third-party funding available for each candidate must be made clear at the time of forwarding the scholarship application to the Doctoral College Panel. 
  • The number of scholarships awarded will depend on the budget, quality of applicants and available third-party funding. 
  • Candidates in receipt of a Presidential Scholarship will be known as “Presidential Scholars”.
  • Successful candidates who wish to accept the offer of a Presidential Scholarship must agree to abide by all the eligibility, terms and conditions of the award outlined here and any changes to them, throughout the time of the award, or the offer will be withdrawn.
  • The offer of a Presidential Scholarship must be accepted within 10 working days from the date of the offer letter, or it will be withdrawn. Offer letters and responses may be sent by email.
  • Candidates in receipt of an offer of a Presidential Scholarship must register for, and start their doctoral studies, between 1st August 2020 and 1st December 2020.
  • The Scholarship will be paid for a maximum of up to 3.5 years funding (pro rata for part time students), or the date of first submission of the thesis, whichever is the sooner.

Presidential Scholarships may be removed at any time if:

  • Progress of the recipient is deemed not to be satisfactory, as determined by the University Progression Monitoring as defined in the University Calendar, Section V;
  • The recipient who requires a UK Visa for study fails to satisfy any requirement of it and at any time throughout their doctoral candidature;
  • The Faculty Director of the Graduate School in the host Faculty or Doctoral College Director determines that there has been a material breach of the conditions of the award.

Other Conditions

  • A condition of receipt of the award is that Presidential Scholars must agree to contribute to physical and online events promoting the scheme, their research work and activities.
  • The conditions of a Presidential Scholarship may be varied during the time of the award and notification of any changes will be communicated to the recipient.
  • Faculties will be responsible for administering the successful candidates and reporting on their progression annually to the Doctoral College.  
  • The Doctoral College will supply the Faculty Graduate School Office with the relevant offer letters to use, and the budgetary code to charge payments to.
  • The decision of the awarding panels is final.
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