ESRC WRDTP Studentship

News | Posted on Monday 6 February 2023

ESRC White Rose Doctoral Training Partnership has been awarded to York Law School. We are inviting applications for this funded PhD studentship.


Funding providers: ESRC White Rose Doctoral Training Partnership

Subject area: Socio-Legal Studies

Deadline for Submission of Applications: Monday 13th March 2023, 17.00

Interview Date: 31st March 2023

Project description: 

In the UK, the largest creditor to those on low incomes is not a bank or private company, but the Department for Work & Pensions (‘DWP’). According to DWP data, almost 45% of those in receipt of Universal Credit owe it money. The DWP reclaims its debts through a ‘deductions’ scheme whereby claimants’ weekly Universal Credit payments are reduced by up to 25% of the standard allowance (or above 25% where rent or utilities debts are repaid to avoid eviction or utilities being cut-off).

This collaborative doctoral research project will investigate the lived experience of benefit deductions, exploring its impact on claimants’ lives. In partnership with a prominent legal NGO, the Public Law Project, it will use this analysis to critically assess DWP decision-making practices around deductions, and to ground policy advocacy work to bring about change.


Candidates should have an excellent background in law or another social science, holding a first-class or strong upper-second-class degree. Applications from candidates with experience of both law and social science are particularly encouraged. An interest in social security law and administration would be an advantage.

This award is available to home and international candidates. Applicants whose first language is not English require an IELTS 7.0 overall (with a minimum of 7.0 in writing, and 6.5 in all other sub-skills), or equivalent. See for further details.

Duration of Studentship & Training Requirements

The studentship will commence in September 2023. It is available on a part-time or full-time basis.

For applicants who do not have adequate social science research methods training credits, the studentship is available on a 4-year basis, the first year of which would entail completion of the MA (Social Research) at the University of York. For applicants who do have existing research methods training credits, the studentship is available on a 3-year basis.

For a 3-year studentship, existing research methods training requirements are as follows: the candidate must have at least 60 credits (not including dissertation) at M level of core social sciences research methods training acquired in the last five years. This must include a broad range of methods, including quantitative, qualitative and mixed methods and the use of appropriate software/tools for their application, and comprehension of principles of research design and strategy, and an appreciation of alternative approaches to research. In instances where a Masters degree was taken five years or more prior to the application for the studentship, full details must be given to explain the relevance of the social sciences training for a 3-year award and whether further relevant research training, qualifications and/or experience has been gained subsequently.


The studentship provides the full cost of tuition fees and an annual stipend (currently £17,668 p.a.). There will be additional funds available for research expenses.


Applicants must firstly submit an application for a place on the PhD programme. You can do so via the online application form.
Applicants should then submit an application for the ESRC WRDTP Collaborative scholarship. Please visit the York ESRC WRDTP webpage for further details on the process and a link to the online scholarship application form.

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