PhD Bursary Competition

Each year Queen Margaret University invites applications from individuals with a strong academic record for funded QMU PhD studentships.

We are now accepting applications for our 2023 Bursary's starting in September 2023. The closing date for applications is 10 March 2023.

Externally funded opportunities may be available out with these timescales and will be advertised accordingly.

We welcome self-funded applications all year round.

What are the topics?

QMU Bursary Funded PhD Studentships

The QMU funded PhD studentships for September 2023 intake will be allocated to the advertised research topics. 

Centre for Health, Activity and Rehabilitation Research (CHEARR)

CHEARR Bursary Topics (2023)

  • Investigating patterns in foot drop presentation and optimisation of orthotic device prescription [BUR 23-11]
  • Evidence based classification for Frame Running, a new Para Athletic event [BUR 23-13]
  • Novel applications of a soy sauce industry co-product with health and sustainable benefits [BUR 23-14]
  • A feasibility study of the impact of paediatric kidney disease on physical activity, quality of life and psychosocial adjustment [BUR 23-23]

Clinical Audiology, Speech and Language (CASL) Research Centre

CASL Bursary Topics (2023)

  • Speech, Language and Communication Needs: their Relationship to Adverse Childhood Experiences [BUR 23-07]
  • Aptitude in Accent Switching [BUR 23-08]
  • Ultrasound in Phonetics and Phonology [BUR 23-09]

Centre for Applied Social Sciences (CASS)

CASS Bursary Topics (2023)

  • Well Played! An investigation into play and learning in adolescence [BUR 23-01]
  • Preterm infants and cognitive outcomes: using longitudinal data to identify early markers for risk of adverse outcomes. [BUR 23-02]
  • Playing For the Planet: A Longitudinal Study of the Efficacy of Pro-Environmental Content in Video Games [BUR 23-03]
  • Critically Exploring Madness Through Creativity: A Practice-Based, Phenomenological Enquiry [BUR 23-04]
  • Access to Environmental Justice [BUR 23-05]

Centre for Communication, Cultural and Media Studies (CCCMS)

CCCMS Bursary Topic

  • Beyond the monument: Discovering marginalised heritages of Scotland through creative practice [BUR 23-06]

Institute for Global Health and Development (IGHD)

IGHD Bursary Topics

  • Refugee care and its integration with national health systems [BUR 23-19]
  • The impact of climate change on health and on healthcare system and community resilience [BUR 23-20]
  • Place-based engagements with integration policies and/or practices, conceptualising integration broadly to include the wellbeing (not just of refugees but of all members of society) [BUR 23-21]
  • Social connections, coping and resilience in conflict and/or disaster-affected settings [BUR 23-22]

Centre for Person Centred Practice Research (CPCPR)

CPCPR Bursary Topics

  • Person-centred culture [BUR 23-15]
  • Experiences of person-centredness [BUR 23-16]
  • Person-centred interventions [BUR 23-17]
  • Person-centred curriculum [BUR 23-18]

Would you like to suggest your own research topic?

If you wish to apply to undertake a PhD in a topic outwith the specific funded topic areas, or undertake PhD research on a non-resident basis, you are welcome to apply for the self-funded PhD programme. By "self-funded" we mean that you would need to find another source of funds to pay your tuition fees and living costs, for example, via a career development loan or employer supported funding.

Please visit the PhD course page and see the 'How to Apply' tab below for further information.

What does the bursary cover?

Successful candidates commencing study in September 2023 will receive:

  • a full waiver of tuition fees;
  • an annual stipend of £17,668 lasting 3 years for full-time study; and
  • a research budget of £2,000 to cover project expenses and travel.

Please note that topics fully or partially funded by external partners may have different conditions attached, and these will be specified within the documentation.

Successful candidates will also be enrolled on the Researcher Enhancement and Development (READ) programme, which has been designed to formally recognise the learning that accompanies the successful completion of the QMU PhD programme. Successful completion of the READ programme will allow candidates to receive a 60 credit Doctoral Certificate (DCert) in addition to the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) award.

Who can apply?

PhD studentships can only be awarded for candidates willing to undertake research in specific topics as determined by the University and or funding partners. No scholarships are available for other research projects.

To be eligible for a bursary, the following criteria must apply:

  • the applicant meets the standard entry criteria for the QMU PhD Programme;
  • the research proposal is in one of the topic areas specified;
  • applicants will be expected to study on a full-time basis, and the successful candidates must be willing to be resident within reach of Edinburgh (applications for distance-learning study will not be accepted); and
  • applicants must be willing to study for a full PhD, not an MPhil.

Successful candidates are likely to have a good qualification in the relevant topic: either a first class Honours degree or a Masters. Dedication, enthusiasm and strong communication skills in both written and spoken English are essential. A valid IELTS certificate is required if English is not your first language and you have not completed a Masters degree from a UK institution or international institution where the course was delivered and assessed in English, within the last five years. Applicants may come from the UK or any other country. Where applicable, international applicants must be able to meet the UKVI requirements to be granted a Student visa.

How to apply

An overview of the PhD course is provided via the PhD course page. Guidance on applying for the PhD is provided here.

You can apply to the PhD bursary competition online using the Admissions Portal (accessed via the 'Apply Now' button at the bottom of this section). The application process includes completion of an application form and submission of supporting documentation, including a research proposal.

The online application form allows you to save your progress, and you will be able to complete your PhD application in multiple stages, if required.

Following submission of your completed application, you will receive a QMU applicant ID number. Please quote this in any correspondence you have with QMU.

Application form

Please pay close attention to the spelling of your email address within the online form, as this is how we will contact you about your application.

Please ensure you select the appropriate course with the corresponding bursary code for your application (e.g. BUR 23-XX).  When searching for the appropriate code, we recommend you enter 'bursary' into the keyword field which will then display all the bursary options.

Supporting information and documents

As part of your application, you will need to write a personal statement that sets out your experience, suitability for doctoral study, and motivation for applying to study on the QMU PhD programme.

As part of your application, you will need to provide:

  • the bursary code for the topic to which you are applying (e.g. BUR23-XX);
  • your PhD research proposal;
  • copies of your degree certificate(s) and transcript(s);
  • confirmation of your English language ability (if required); and
  • copies of two letters of reference.

You will be able to upload these supporting documents as part of the application process. This is an important part of the admissions process, and without seeing supporting documents tutors will not have enough information to make a decision on your application. If you are currently undertaking a Masters or Honours Degree and therefore, don't yet have your transcript or certificate for this course, these can be provided at a later date following the submission of your application.

PhD Research Proposal

All applicants to the QMU PhD programme must provide a proposal for research that has academic merit and is capable of generating new knowledge. We will use your research proposal to check how well you understand the research process

Your PhD research proposal should:

  • be a maximum of 1000 words long;
  • summarise what the research is about;
  • set out why the research is important, making reference to current literature;
  • identify provisional research questions; and
  • suggest how the research questions can be investigated.

Please note that the research proposal must be written in your own words and should NOT include text that has been copied from books or articles. This is considered plagiarism and will lead to the automatic rejection of your application. In some cases, academic reviewers may submit research proposals to Turnitin in order to verify the legitimacy of the proposed research.

QMU bursary funding is only available for PhD study based at QMU, and for topics that have been specified by the University.

Qualifications (certificates and transcripts)

Please upload copies of your degree certificates and transcripts for any undergraduate or Masters degrees that you have completed or are about to complete.

Evidencing English language ability

If English is not your first language, you will need to provide an IELTS certificate or have completed a degree which was delivered and assessed in English within the last five years.

Only valid IELTS certificates are accepted as evidence of English language capability.  You need a score of 6.5 (with no less than 6.0 in each element).  IELTS certificates are valid for two years after the test date.

If you completed a degree, at a non-UK institution, that was delivered and assessed in English, then you will need to provide a formal letter from the institution, on headed paper, stating that your degree was delivered and assessed in English. 

If your documents are in any language other than English then they will need to be accompanied by a formal certified translation into English, by either the awarding institution or a sworn translator.


Two academic references are required.

Referees must provide your reference in the form of a formal letter on headed paper. The reference must be dated and signed (and ideally stamped). Please note that we may contact your referee to verify the reference letter prior to it being accepted.

Referee contact details should include a professional email account. Please do not provide personal email addresses for referees (such as Gmail, Hotmail or Yahoo), as these will not be accepted.  


The deadline for applying to the QMU bursary competition is 10 March 2023.

Apply Now



For further information regarding the PhD Programme please contact the Graduate School Team at

For further information regarding the Application process please contact  

Graduate School

For further information or enquiries please get in touch.

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Graduate School

Graduate School Professional Doctorate and Ph.D Enquiries 0131 474 0000
Master Research Degree - Application Enquiries Admissions Team 0131 474 0000