Wolfson Humanities Scholarship

With generous funding from the Wolfson Foundation, the Wolfson Postgraduate Scholarships fund doctoral research in three areas: History, Literature and Languages.

  • Funding: £35,000 per year
  • Academic year: 2024/25
  • Open to: International (including EU), International (non-EU) and UK (home) students
  • Qualification level: Postgraduate research
  • Number available: 3
Applications for 2024/25 are closed.

The Wolfson Foundation awards funding to outstanding students who demonstrate the potential to make an impact on their chosen field. There are three scholarships available for 2024/25, generally expected to represent each of the three areas: History, Literature and Languages.

Each scholarship offers £35,000 per student per year (i.e. £105,000 over three years) and covers:

  • Tuition fees (at home or overseas rate)
  • Maintenance, research, travel and training costs (where there is remaining balance)

Open to International (including EU), International (non-EU) and UK (home) students.

Open to students in the following departments: Centre for Medieval Studies, Centre for Women's Studies, Department of Archaeology, Department of English and Related Literature, Department of History, Department of History of Art, Department of Language and Linguistic Science, Department of Philosophy and School of Arts and Creative Technologies.

In order to be eligible you must:

  • Have applied for, and ideally be in receipt of, an offer of a place on a PhD programme in a relevant department (in the area(s) of history, literature, and languages)
  • Expect to begin your studies PhD studies in September 2024 (deferrals are not permitted)
  • Have an outstanding academic record, usually a first class honours degrees at undergraduate level and a Master’s degree from a recognised university in a field of study relevant to your proposed doctoral research
  • Be resident within the UK for the duration of your studies and live within a reasonable distance of your host university (with the exception of periods of fieldwork or when attending conferences)

It is the Foundation’s hope that the scholars will become significant contributors to the culture of society, whether in the academic sphere or in other areas of intellectual and cultural leadership. You should therefore demonstrate the potential to make an impact on your chosen field.

The scheme is open to all nationalities and to both full- and part-time students.

Please also see the full terms and conditions as well as definitions of subject areas below.

How to apply

Application deadline: Wednesday 24 January 2024, 5pm GMT

Applications will open at 5PM GMT on 6 November 2023 and close at 5pm GMT on 24 January 2024. 

How we allocate

If successful, your details will be passed to the relevant scholarship panels for consideration. 

Key dates:

  • 24 January 2024 (5pm) - Closing date for Wolfson applications. 
  • 31 January 2024 - All eligible applications shared with Departments.
  • 7 February 2024 (noon) - Deadline for Departments to nominate up to two candidates across any of the Subject Disciplines.
  • 13 February 2024 - PGR Leads Panel score all applications to create overall ranking.
  • 14 February 2024 - Faculty Ratification Panel examines and ratifies the top three ranked applications informal offers made and Departments notified.
  • Week commencing 19 February 2024 - York’s successful candidates submitted to the Wolfson Foundation for formal approval.
  • April-May 2024 - Wolfson scholars announced

You will be sent a letter formally confirming the offer of the scholarship. The letter sets out the value and duration of the award and asks you to accept the Terms of the Scholarship. You will be required to confirm your acceptance within two weeks.

Related links

Wolfson Postgraduate Scholarships are available in three areas that align closely with the Foundation’s interests: history, literature and languages. It is generally expected that all three subjects will be represented within a university cohort although this is not a formal condition.

The areas are broadly defined. The Foundation recognises that many research subjects will encompass inter- and multi- disciplinary studies, and that students receiving these scholarships may be based in other departments (for example, music or anthropology).


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


As well as literary and textual studies, this may include research that involves critical theory, theatre, film and other visual media, provided there is a literary element within the research (e.g. translation of literature to screen). It excludes creative writing.


Research should be in applied languages other than English. It may involve the study of literary or historical texts, theatre, film or other visual media, translation, or the philosophy of language, provided that the research is focused primarily on a language other than English. It excludes linguistics. While research can be working with any language, it is expected that the student’s final thesis is written in English.

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

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.

Continued receipt of all studentships is conditional upon satisfactory academic progress. We may request academic progress updates from your supervisor(s).

You should notify us in the following circumstances:

  • A leave of absence is approved
  • A change in programme of study is approved
  • You withdraw from your course

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 output during the period of the award, including the final dissertation or thesis, must acknowledge the Wolfson Foundation’s support. If any aspect of the work is published at a later date, whether in print or digital media, the Wolfson Foundation’s support must still be acknowledged.

Extensions to the period of award

Extensions to the award period may be permissible at the discretion of the university. Where extensions are agreed, no additional funding will be made available from the Foundation.


If a student transfers to another institution, the award cannot normally be transferred with them. It is expected that any balance of funding held by the university will be reimbursed to the Foundation. Unless the student had yet to commence their study, no remaining monies from the scholarship can be allocated to another student.


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

Mode of Study

Changing between full and part-time study may be permissible in exceptional circumstances. Where a student is within their funded period, the university should consult with the Foundation on a revised payment schedule.

Changes to Research

Major change in research direction may be permissible. If the new research direction no longer falls within the subjects of history, literature and languages, the Foundation will have to be consulted before the change is approved.

Paid Work

Students may undertake some teaching work or research assistance, where it is directly relevant to their studies, however other paid work is not encouraged. For students undertaking part time study, other part time paid work is permissible.

Suspension of studies

With the exception of parental leave (see ‘Parental leave’ below), funding will cease during periods of suspension of studies. Where a student is within their funded period, the university should consult with the Foundation on a revised payment schedule.

Termination of studies

Where a student’s studies are terminated before the end of their scholarship, it is expected that any balance of funding held by the university will be reimbursed to the Foundation. Students are not entitled to any funding upon termination of studies.

Visiting fellowships

Students are able to undertake visiting fellowships (or similar) at other institutions during the period of their award where they are directly relevant to their studies. It is expected that the student’s scholarship funding will cease for the period of the fellowship. Any subsequent extension to their studies should follow the process outlined below. No additional funding will be made available from the Foundation to accommodate visiting fellowships.

Parental Leave

Scholars are able to take up to twelve months leave from study where the expected week of childbirth falls during their funded scholarship period, or in the case of adoption where a child is placed during their funded period. It is expected that the end date of the scholarship will be updated to reflect any period of leave taken.

For maternity leave, or leave taken by the main adopter, the maintenance element of funding will continue during the first six months leave. The following three months will be paid at a level commensurate with statutory maternity pay. During the final three months no funds (either for maintenance, research training or fees) will be paid.

Partners may take a period of two weeks leave from study during which the maintenance element of funding will continue. Following this, a further period of up to fifty weeks may be taken, during which no funds (either for maintenance, research training or fees) will be paid.

Contact us

PGR Administration team

+44 (0)1904 325962

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