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 2021 Bursary's starting in September 2021.  The closing date for applications is 11 March 2022.

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 2021 intake will be allocated to the advertised research topics. Please check the relevant Research Centre below for details of the topics advertised (click the Research Centre name for full details of the topics):

Centre for Health, Activity and Rehabilitation Research

  • A feasibility study of the impact of paediatric kidney transplantation on physical activity, quality of life and psychosocial adjustment [BUR 21-17]
  • Injury risk in competitive youth cyclists [BUR 21-18]
  • Frame Football [BUR 21-19]
  • Evidence based classification system for RaceRunning (Frame Running) (BUR 21-20]

Clinical Audiology, Speech and Language Research Centre

  • Acquisition of English phonology, phonetics and meta-phonological awareness in bi-dialectal contexts and bi-dialectal families [BUR 21-21]
  • Phonetic planning and silent transitions into and out of audible speech [BUR 21-22]
  • The perception and production of typical disfluencies in speech [BUR 21-23]
  • The use of ultrasound tongue imaging in dysphagia and swallowing [BUR 21-24]
  • Functional synesthetics of voice and colour: how do lay people describe voice quality? [BUR 21-25]

Centre for Applied Social Sciences

  • Content and predictive capacity of video-recorded eyewitness identification confidence [BUR 21-01]
  • Exploring social prescribing of occupation and its impact on community [BUR 21-02]
  • From childhood adversity to adult behaviour: Understanding the far-reaching influence of ACEs in shaping perception and behaviour [BUR 21-03]
  • More than just playing: developing a holistic eco-pedagogy of outdoor learning that supports creativity and social justice in education [BUR 21-04]
  • Participation outcomes in preterm children at 10-12 years in the United Kingdom: analysis of the Millennium Cohort Study [BUR 21-05]
  • Preparing Educators for the Twenty-First Century: How is Social Justice understood and valued in Education? [BUR 21-06]
  • Social movements and the hegemony of occupation [BUR 21-07]

  • Social togetherness and the movement of groups [BUR 21-08]

Centre for Communication, Cultural and Media Studies

  • Decolonising Film Festivals and Film Festival Studies [BUR 21-11]
  • Ageing Masculinity in British Film [BUR 21-12]

  • Archives of Liveness: Small Music Venues, Place and Heritage Cultures in Scottish Popular Music [BUR 21-13]

  • Dystopian / Utopian screen fictions [BUR 21-14]

  • Engagement and public interest [BUR 21-15]

  • Documenting performance and/or animating archives [BUR 21-16]

Centre for Person-centred Practice Research

  • A person-centred research study that considers the identity and personhood of artists working in healthcare settings and how this is negotiated in ways that enhances authenticity.

    The study could consider a specific issue such as emotional burden or vulnerability as part of the research focus. [BUR 21-29]

  • a doctoral research study to enable a deeper and closer exploration of how the BOLD programme impacts on particular participants and their communities, specifically: Collaborative leadership practices in care home settings with persons living with dementia and enhancing citizenship through BOLD leadership.[BUR 21-30]

Institute for Global Health and Development

  • Health Systems [BUR 21-09]
  • Psychosocial Wellbeing, Integration and Protection [BUR 21-10]

Queen Margaret Business School

  • Digitalization Strategies in Scottish Hospitality Businesses [BUR 21-26]
  • The development and management of social enterprise and alternative community-based enterprise systems [BUR 21-27]
  • An exploration of factors that influence scale-up decision making in SMEs in Scotland [BUR 21-28]


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 2021 will receive:

  • a full waiver of tuition fees;
  • an annual stipend of £15,225 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) (consideration for delayed travel to Edinburgh due to Covid-19 restrictions will be considered); 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 21-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. BUR21-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.

References 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 Friday 12 March 2021.

Apply Now



For further information regarding the PhD Programme please contact the Graduate School Team at graduateschool@qmu.ac.uk.

For further information regarding the Application process please contact Admissions@qmu.ac.uk.  

Graduate School

For further information or enquiries please get in touch.

Show Contacts

Graduate School

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