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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 for 2024/25 entry

Instructions for the 2024/25 entry competition are available on the ESRC website

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 provide guidance about applications and a 'useful documents' section which we strongly recommend you take time to look at.

In order to be considered for an ESRC UBEL studentship beginning in 2024-25 you will need to submit a Preliminary application using the ESRC UBEL application portal.


  • Monday 15 January 2024: Deadline for UBEL Preliminary applications.
  • Week commencing Monday 29 January 2024: UBEL will inform candidates of their Preliminary application outcomes. The Full application form will be made available to successful candidates.
  • Monday 4 March 2024: 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. For each pathway a Birkbeck contact is provided and you should notify them before you apply so they can provide you with information about how to apply via your chosen pathway.

Please note: UBEL encourage interdisciplinary applications so if you are unsure about the most relevant school, please contact the closest contact below and they will be able to advise you further. 

Faculty of Business and Law

Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

Faculty of Science