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UBEL (UCL, Bloomsbury and East London) Doctoral Training Partnership

Birkbeck, along with four other universities in London, is a member of the UCL, Bloomsbury and East London (UBEL) Doctoral Training Partnership, which is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).

More than 40 studentships are available each year across 25 pathways. Studentships are offered on a full-time and part-time basis, across a range of routes, with opportunities for MRes, MSc and MA training attached to your chosen PhD programme, if you do not already hold a Master's qualification recognised by the ESRC.

If you would like to apply for ESRC UBEL funding for postgraduate research studies at Birkbeck, please read the following sections.

The Birkbeck Graduate Research School runs online briefing sessions about applying for studentships – you can find the date of the next session on the BGRS timetable.

How to Apply

UBEL applications are considered in two stages: a UBEL Preliminary application; followed by a UBEL Full application for a shortlisted subset of candidates. The two-stage process ensures that only the most competitive candidates need to undergo the time-consuming Full application process.

UBEL provided a support session for potential UBEL applicants: slides and a recording of the session are available. We strongly recommend that you take time to watch the recording.

In order to be considered for an ESRC UBEL studentship beginning in 2023/24 you will need to submit a Preliminary application using the ESRC UBEL application portal.


  • 30 November 2022: Deadline for UBEL Preliminary applications.
  • 16 December 2022: UBEL will inform candidates of their Preliminary application outcomes. The Full application form will be made available to successful candidates.
  • 31 January 2023: Deadline for Full applications.

Applications are student-led, but in practice are joint with the supervisor. Applicants are advised to be in discussion with prospective supervisors as early as possible in the Autumn term.

UBEL Pathways at Birkbeck

You can apply for UBEL funding at Birkbeck via the following pathways. You should notify the most relevant UBEL pathway contact below before you apply so they can provide you with information about how to apply via your chosen pathway.

Archaeology and Heritage Studies

Economic and Social History


Gender and Sexuality

Health and Wellbeing

Human Geography

Law and Criminology


Politics and International Relations

  • This pathway brings together three world-class departments: Birkbeck's Department of Politics, the SOAS's Department of Politics and International Studies and UCL's Department of Political Science/School of Public Policy. These departments cover a huge range of sub-fields, attract significant research funding, and supervise many doctoral students to successful completion.
  • In addition to provision within Birkbeck, students following the Politics and International Relations pathway will have the opportunity to take modules across SOAS and UCL.
  • Find out more about the UBEL politics and international relations pathway
  • Additional application requirement: You should include a covering letter with your application stating that you wish to be considered for an ESRC studentship. This letter should make clear that Birkbeck and the UBEL DTP are your first choice in applying for an ESRC studentship and explain why your academic studies to date and proposed research project make you a suitable candidate for this highly competitive source of funding.
  • Contact for Birkbeck applicants:


Psychosocial Studies