Wolfson Postgraduate Scholarships in the Humanities 2016/17

These scholarships fund doctoral research in three disciplines that align closely with the Wolfson Foundation’s interests: History, Literature and Languages.

Applications closed

Deadline for applications: 5pm, 2 February 2016

We have again been selected as one of the few UK institutions to be awarded scholarships due to our excellent track record and commitment to humanities research.

The Wolfson Postgraduate Scholarships in the Humanities will be awarded to outstanding students who demonstrate the potential to make an impact on their chosen field.  Wolfson Scholarships are awarded primarily on academic merit.

Four scholarships will be available to PhD students applying for entry in Autumn 2016, with at least one in each of the areas of History, Literature and Languages.

Each scholarship offers a stipend of £17,750 per year for up to three years of PhD study and also includes:

  • A full fee waiver (at Home or Overseas rate)
  • A generous Research Training and Support Grant.

Contact us

Research Student Administration Team
+44 (0)1904 324519

Eligibility and availability

In order to be eligible you must:

  • Have applied for a PhD programme in an eligible department/centre, and ideally have been offered a place
  • Expect to begin your PhD studies on 1 October 2016 (deferrals are not permitted)
  • Have obtained a first or upper second class honours degree or equivalent before commencing the PhD
  • Have completed a masters level qualification before commencing the PhD


Your research must fall into one of the following areas:


As well as broad-based historical and historiographical studies, this may include such areas as classics, history of art, or architectural history, provided the research is grounded within historical methodology.

Eligible departments/centres:


As well as literary and textual studies, this may include research that involves critical theory or film and other visual media, provided there is a literary element within the research (eg. translation of literature to screen).

Eligible departments/centres:


Research will be in applied languages rather than linguistics. It may involve the study of literary or historical texts, where these are in languages other than English. Students receiving scholarships under this stream may be based within English literature or history departments.

Eligible departments/centres:


Applications closed

Before applying

You should discuss your Wolfson application with your prospective department/centre.

You should already have applied for a place on an eligible programme, and ideally hold an offer. Please do not start your Wolfson application form until you have applied for a place of PhD study at York, and received your 9-digit student number.

To ensure fairness and transparency we do not accept applications after the deadline.

How to apply

The application form is online. Once you have started, you must keep the form open until it is complete; you will not be able to save your progress. However, you will be able to review your responses before your final submission.

To help you prepare, here are the questions you will be asked during the application process:

If you have already completed an application for AHRC funding through the White Rose College of Arts and Humanities, you must make a separate application for the Wolfson Scholarship. However, we can transfer many of your details from your AHRC application. If you wish to, you may amend your project proposal. You will be given the opportunity to do this while completing the Wolfson Scholarship application.

Applications closed

After applying

You will receive email confirmation of safe receipt of your application within two weeks. If you submit your application within two weeks of the closing deadline, we may not confirm safe receipt until after the deadline has passed.

If you have not received a confirmation email within 2 weeks of submitting your application please contact research-student-admin@york.ac.uk.


Once the deadline has passed, all eligible applications are forwarded to the relevant Scholarships Committee for consideration.

There are a limited number of awards available. The Scholarships Committee will therefore use a set of allocation criteria to choose the successful candidate(s) from the pool of applicants.

The allocation criteria are:

  • Academic excellence (as evidenced in your Scholarship application form and independently verified by the Scholarship Committee with reference to evidence submitted to the relevant academic department when you applied for a place on the programme).

Please note that Academic Excellence is the primary allocation criteria that will be considered. However, consideration will also be given to:

  • The alignment between your proposed research topic and the Wolfson Foundation's interests of History, Literature and Languages;
  • How well your research topic is aligned with York's academic strengths and the research profile of the department applied to;
  • Your commitment to, and ability to engage with, the wider academic community and with the Wolfson foundation, and your understanding of the concept of the public impact of your research.

Candidates short-listed by the scholarships committee may be invited to an interview as part of the selection process. Interviews will be held on Wednesday 2 March 2016. Please note that it is unlikely that we will be able to offer alternative interview dates.

Following selection by the Scholarships Committee, the preferred candidates will be recommended to the Wolfson Foundation. The nomination will include a summary of the applicant's past academic achievements, a brief outline of the intended research, and a letter of support from the proposed supervisor. All nominations are subject to approval from the Wolfson Foundation and so the Wolfson Scholarships will only be confirmed once approval is received.

Allocation decisions are made during February and March, and the nomination to the Wolfson Foundation will be made during late March or early April. We would expect to be able to let applicants know the outcome of their application by the end of April.

The successful candidates will be required to confirm their acceptance within two weeks.

Terms and conditions

Once the Wolfson Foundation approval is received the successful candidates will be sent a formal letter confirming the offer of the Studentship. The letter sets out the value and duration of the award, and asks candidates to accept the Terms of the Scholarship.

For awards with fee waivers

Fee waivers are paid directly to the University on behalf of the award holder and will be deducted from the award holder's account. Award holders will be responsible for paying any outstanding fees.

For awards with stipends

Stipends are paid quarterly in October, January, April and July each year. Award holders will be asked for bank details so that stipends can be paid directly into a preferred bank account.

For all scholarships and studentships

Continued receipt of all scholarships is conditional upon satisfactory academic progress. Scholarship holders should notify the Research Student Administration Team in the following circumstances:

  • a leave of absence is approved
  • a change in programme of study is approved
  • you withdraw from your programme

The Research Student Administration Team may request progress updates from the supervisors of award holders in order to monitor academic progress. Funding will cease where a student withdraws from their programme, and where a student submits their thesis before the end of their third year, funding will cease at that point.

For Wolfson Scholarships

Progress reports

Award holders will be required to provide annual and final progress reports to the University. The final report should include a summary of the research results. These reports will form part of the monitoring and reporting requirements to be sent to the Wolfson Foundation.

Acknowledgement of support

Any outputs during the period of the award, including the final thesis must acknowledge the Wolfson Foundation's support.


The awards cannot be transferred to another institution.


Students should be resident in the UK and live within a reasonable distance of the host university for the duration of their study (with exception of periods of fieldwork or when attending conferences)

Mode of study

Wolfson scholarship holders may be either part-time or full-time. If a student wishes to change between full-time and part-time study, this must be with the permission of the Wolfson Foundation.

Paid work

Award holders are allowed to undertake some teaching work / research assistance. Other paid work is not encouraged for full-time students. Part-time Wolfson scholars may undertake part-time work.

Change of circumstances

Leave of absence must be reported. Extensions to an award period would need to be formally requested and approved. Funding will cease during periods of absence.

Maternity leave

Award holders who become pregnant, with an expected date of birth during the scholarship period, may take a period of six months leave from study during which the maintenance element of funding will continue. Following this, a further period of six months may be taken, during which no funds (for maintenance, research training or fees) will be paid.

Contact us

Research Student Administration Team
+44 (0)1904 324519