Postgraduate research funding

The School's postgraduate community is one of the largest and most diverse and dynamic postgraduate communities in the UK, and is committed to supporting financially the best-qualified applicants.

Funding your programme will be a crucial factor in your decision to apply for a postgraduate research degree, so the earlier you consider your funding options, the better.

Each year, we award over £1 million in studentships and bursaries for doctoral study.

There is a range of awards on offer for both home/EU and international students at PhD level. 

Search for funding opportunities

Choose your country and programme of study to search our postgraduate research funding opportunities database.

Alternatively, you can view funding opportunities for all of our School's programmes.


Please see available awards below:

NWCDTP CDA Award: ‘Total Liberation’: Feminism, Socialism and Red Rag (1972-1980)

Project Description: 

‘We are in no mood’, stated the first editorial of British feminist-socialist periodical Red Rag: a Magazine of Liberation (1972-1980), ‘to wait for socialism to bring us liberation.’ Red Rag brought together and shaped leading post-war feminists, and provided cutting-edge analysis of key issues around gender, class and sexuality, but has been overlooked by historians. This fully-funded PhD project, run in collaboration between the University of Manchester and the People’s History Museum, seeks to fill that gap. The project challenges the usual parameters of labour and feminist history respectively by grappling with the particularly close relationship between socialism and second wave feminism in Britain. The project contends that the various positions and debates in Red Rag not only anticipated later feminist works, but remain instructive for radical social movements now. The key questions posed by the PhD thesis will be: what was Red Rag?; how did it respond to its moment?; and, why does it matter, now?

Reflecting the research methodologies of the supervisory team and the pedagogical ethos of the PHM—an institution which promotes learning as social change—the project therefore links past and present. It integrates: theoretical analysis of questions of gender, capital and class; periodical analysis (close reading of the context, form and content of Red Rag and its articles, pictures, poems and stories); and empirical historiography (analysis of documents detailing the journal’s production, distribution and reception). The Labour History Archive and Study Centre (LHASC) at the PHM holds the unique primary sources necessary to cast light on these relationships, including a complete run of Red Rag and related periodicals (Women Today and Tomorrow, Marxism Today, The Link).  The PhD student will spend on average four days a month in the PHM. In addition t       o writing a PhD thesis, they will conduct various tasks related to cataloguing and promoting the PHM’s holdings in feminist history, benefitting from expert training in archival research, digitization, cataloguing and public engagement.


Qualifications needed: 

An undergraduate degree at first/upper second-class level and a Master’s degree (completed with an overall average of 65% or higher [merit], with a minimum of 65% in the dissertation; or in its last year with an overall average of 65% or higher [merit]) in one or more of the following disciplines: English, Women’s Studies, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Cultural History or cognate subjects related to the project’s theme. International students will have to have equivalent classifications. The NWCDTP bases its assessments of qualifications attained outside the UK on the British Council’s NARIC guide. We are committed to working with students from underrepresented communities and those from non-traditional academic backgrounds.



The successful candidate will receive: 

  • Home/EU feesat the standard RCUK rate. The studentship will cover tuition fees up to the Home rate (currently £4,596; further rates subject to confirmation from UKRI). The University of Manchester is committed to cover the remaining fees should an international student be the successful candidate.
  • A maintenance grant of £17,668 for the academic year 2023/24 (the level of the grant for the following years is subject to confirmation from the AHRC).



Both home and International students are eligible to apply to this scheme. 

  • To be classed as a home student, candidates must meet the following criteria:
    • Be a UK National (meeting residency requirements), or
    • Have settled status, or
    • Have pre-settled status (meeting residency requirements), or
    • Have indefinite leave to remain or enter

If a candidate does not meet the criteria above, they will be classed as an International student.


How to Apply:

Applicants should email to the following by 6 February 2023 at 5pm GMT: 

  • Academic CV (max. 2 pages)
  • Two letters of reference by two named referees, one of whom should be your most recent academic tutor/supervisor.
  • Copy of first degree and Master’s degree transcripts (or anticipated grade if applicable);
  • A sample of your strongest written work (6,000 words maximum);
  • Letter of application (max. 2 pages) outlining your suitability for the studentship and how you would anticipate approaching the research. This should include the research questions that you would focus on and the way in which you would develop them.


You will work with the following team of supervisors:

Prof. Daniela Caselli, University of Manchester;

Prof. Ben Harker, University of Manchester;

Dr. Shirin Hirsch, People’s History Museum Researcher;

Mr Simon Sheppard – Archive Manager, People’s History Museum;

Ms Jenny Mabbott – Head of Collections and Engagement, People’s History Museum.


For further information email

Dual-award between The University of Manchester and The University of Melbourne

The University of Manchester has existing, highly productive links with The University of Melbourne and is extending this relationship to our Global Doctoral Research Network (GOLDEN) by establishing another cohort of collaborative postgraduate research projects. We are currently recruiting the fourth cohort of collaborative postgraduate researchers for fully funded studentships, now known as the Dr Isabel Clifton Cookson Scholarships.

About Dr Isabel Clifton Cookson

A pioneering Australian palaeobotanist, Dr Isabel Clifton Cookson (1893-1973) received her first-class honours in biology and zoology from the University of Melbourne. After graduating she received a government research scholarship to study flora in the Northern Territory, and then travelled to England to work alongside Professor Lang, a specialist in fossil plants at The University of Manchester.

During her 58-year career, Dr Cookson authored and co-authored 93 scientific publications. Her papers on fossil plants are said to have helped to shape theories of early plant evolution.

What is a dual-award programme?

This dual-award programme offers candidates the opportunity to apply for a project with a strong supervisory team both in Manchester and Melbourne. A dual-award is a PhD programme that leads to awards from two partner institutions, which recognise the contribution of the collaborating institution. PhD candidates will be registered at both Manchester and Melbourne and must complete all of the requirements of the PhD programme in both the home and partner university.

PhD candidates will begin their PhD in Manchester and will then spend at least 12 months in Melbourne. The amount of time spent at Manchester and Melbourne will be dependent upon the project and candidates will work with their supervisory team in the first year to set out the structure of the project.

PhD candidates on a dual-award programme can experience research at two quality institutions and applying for a dual-award programme will support you to develop a global perspective and will open the door to new job opportunities. Boost your intercultural skills and experience the opportunities studying in Melbourne and Manchester provide by applying to one of our available projects in the scheme

You can read about the existing projects on Melbourne’s website.


The University of Manchester has six studentships available and is now offering candidates the opportunity to apply to one of the projects below to start in September 2023. 

You will spend at least 12 months at each institution and will receive a dual PhD at the end of the 3.5 year programme.

Funding for the programme will include tuition fees, an annual stipend at the minimum Research Councils UK rate (TBC for 2023/24), a research training grant and student travel to Melbourne.  

How to apply

Available projects are listed below, the expected start date for candidates in Manchester based projects is September 2023.

Candidates will need to meet the minimum entry requirements of both Universities to be accepted and will be registered at both institutions for the duration of the programme. The entry criteria for the University of Melbourne can be found on their ‘How to Apply’ webpage.

Candidates looking to apply for a Manchester-based project are encouraged to contact the named Manchester supervisor for an initial discussion before submitting an official application form. 

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion is fundamental to the success of the University of Manchester and is at the heart of all of our activities. We know that diversity strengthens our research community leading to enhanced research creativity, productivity and quality and increases our societal and economic impact.

We actively encourage applicants from diverse career paths and backgrounds and from all sections of the community regardless of age, disability, ethnicity, gender, gender expression, sexual orientation and transgender status. All appointments are made on merit.

The University of Manchester and our external partners are fully committed to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion


Deadline for Manchester based applications: 17 March 2023.

For further information about applying for one of the Manchester based projects can be found on our ‘how to apply’ page.

Available projects

You can browse our available projects below.

From Plantation Slavery to Imperial Labour: Exploiting Workers in Britain, India and Australia

This project will be based at The University of Manchester, with at least 12 months spent at the University of Melbourne.

Project description:

This PhD project will explore how economic thinking, colonial governance and business practice shifted to generate new forms of imperial labour in Britain and its empire between 1750 and 1850. This period saw the radical transformation of work in colonial and industrialising contexts. In particular, the PhD will focus on workers in Lancashire, Bengal and New South Wales. From the second half of the eighteenth century, imperial and economic conditions resulted in the exploitation of labour in these sites in ways that had not previously been common in Britain or its empire: child labour in Lancashire’s factories; the corporate exploitation of indigenous labour in Bengal; and convict transportation and assisted migration to New South Wales. However, too often these diffuse but economically connected experiences of labour have been examined independently, undermining the opportunity to examine a broader, global perspective, and making it more difficult to assess the implications of these experiences when examining inequalities generated during this period of British imperialism. By combining them, this PhD will undertake an important comparative study of labour regimes in regions that were rapidly changing in light of their connection of Britain’s imperial and economic development, vitally drawing them together to identify and analyse how workers across the world were exploited by common (or not) conceptions of labour and economic activity.

This PhD project will focus on the following questions:

  • How did labour practices change in response to economic and imperial change in Britain, India and Australia?
  • What impact did private business enterprise have on exploitative labour practices?
  • How did imperial labour regimes influence the Abolitionist movement, and how were they shaped in turn by abolition?
  • To what extent was Britain’s imperial system understood as a connected economic system, and how did this shape labour policy?
  • To what extent did labour practices in each location shape the others?
  • How did labour practices across Britain’s empire generate local and global inequalities, and how did these shape local economies?

The collaborative structure of this PhD programme offered by Manchester and Melbourne will allow the student to draw on the expertise and support of the academic community at both institutions, as well as being able to spend time in relevant archives in both the UK and Australia. The primary supervisor at Manchester, Dr Edmond Smith, is an expert in imperial and economic history, while the second supervisor at Melbourne, Prof Zoë Laidlaw, specialises in colonial regimes and imperial networks. Together, they will provide the student with a strong supervisory and training agenda designed to ensure the best possible outputs from this PhD programme.

The project will draw on business, government and family records relating to the organisation and exploitation of labour in Lancashire, Bengal and New South Wales. Specifically, the research will engage with on extensive private archives in Manchester and the north-west of England, as well as East India Company and British state records in London, and early colonial, convict, and business records in Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne.

Supervisory Team:


Publishing the Postcolonial: 1960s-present

This project will be based at The University of Manchester, with at least 12 months spent at the University of Melbourne.

Project description:

This project seeks to better understand and trace the development of postcolonial studies through examining the publication history of journals that contributed to the establishment of the field in the UK and beyond. It also aims to trace the influence that journal publications have had on both reflecting and shaping arguments as well as contributing and creating a framework for an entire discipline. 

‘Publishing the Postcolonial 1960-present’ aims to capture the role of postcolonial journals, in particular the UK-based Journal of Postcolonial Writing (JPW) (formerly World Literatures Written in English), as well as the Australia-based journal Postcolonial Studies, in shaping the evolution and development of postcolonial studies.

Specifically, this project seeks to investigate how JPW has responded to contemporary developments in the study of colonialism and decolonisation; how it has helped to shape and reflect the direction of postcolonial studies; how it has pushed the boundaries of the discipline and to what effect; how it has engaged with a variety of genres; how it has provided timely visibility to under-presented literatures and geopolitical contexts; how it has explored themes such as precarity, diaspora and dislocation and new trends such as minority genres; eco-criticism; energy humanities; how it has contributed to the decolonising agenda; and the ways in which it has engaged the PGR community. The project also seeks to better understand the context within which the journal Postcolonial Studies was established in Melbourne, its history and remit and its current contribution to the development of the field in the Australian context.

Supervisory Team: