Carnegie PhD Scholarships: What You Need to Know to Increase Your Chances

By Austin Osho

Scholarship Snapshot
Scope: Hybrid
Target Country: Scotland
Number of awards: 12–15 PhD Scholarships
Target Audience: First-class students from any background
Deadline: February 28, 2023

The Carnegie Trust is an organisation that offers a range of scholarships annually to candidates who have demonstrated exceptional academic ability and who wish to undertake a PhD programme at a Scottish university or higher education institution. The scholarships are open to applicants of any nationality, and any research field is eligible for consideration.

However, to qualify for the scholarship, the prospective PhD student must have obtained a first-class honours degree from a Scottish university or HEI (higher education institution) that is recognised by the Carnegie Trust. Additionally, the first-class honours degree must be in a subject that is closely related to the field of study that the student intends to pursue at the doctoral level.

The length of the scholarship differs based on whether the student is studying full-time or part-time. For full-time students, the standard duration of the scholarship is 36 months, with the possibility of an extension of up to 42 months in certain circumstances. On the other hand, for part-time students, the scholarship’s standard duration is 72 months, with the option of an extension of up to 84 months in specific cases.

Eligible Host Institutions

The Scottish institutions listed below are eligible to hold the Carnegie PhD Scholarships:

  • Universities: Aberdeen, Abertay, Dundee, Edinburgh, Edinburgh Napier, Glasgow, Glasgow Caledonian, Heriot-Watt, Highlands and Islands, Queen Margaret, Robert Gordon, St Andrews, Stirling, Strathclyde, West of Scotland;
  • Higher Education Institutes: Glasgow School of Art; Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

Scholarship Benefits

The Carnegie PhD Scholarship funding package includes:

Annual stipend: currently £17,904 for AY 2022–23, adjusted annually.

Tuition Fees: The Trust will cover tuition fees at the Research Councils UK (RCUK) indicative fee level for the relevant academic year (universities are expected to waive any outstanding balance).

Research allowance: £3,000 for the whole tenure.

Scholarship Types

All the awards listed are managed under one scheme. Eligible candidates who succeed in their application will be granted the most suitable scholarship based on their area of study. The scholarships are granted and maintained under identical terms and conditions.

Carnegie PhD Scholarships

These scholarships are available for students to pursue a doctoral degree in any field, and they are funded by the Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland.

Caledonian Research Foundation (CRF) Scholarships

The administration of the CRF Scholarships is overseen by the Trust, acting on behalf of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. These scholarships were funded by the Caledonian Research Foundation. In general, one scholarship is awarded for doctoral research in Life Sciences, while another is offered for research in Arts and Humanities.

Carnegie-Cant-Morgan PhD Scholarship in Botany/Plant Science

Funded by a legacy from Mr. Keith Morgan, this scholarship in plant science is awarded every three years. It will next be offered for a PhD starting in 2023–24.

Eligibility Requirements for Carnegie PhD scholarships

Meeting all the criteria outlined below will enhance your likelihood of being considered for this prize.

  1.  You already hold or are on track to graduate with a First Class Honours degree from one of the eligible host organisations in Scotland;
  2. This undergraduate degree is in a subject related to the academic field of your proposed doctoral research.
  3. You have been accepted to a doctoral programme at one of the eligible host organisations.

Who can’t apply?

You are not eligible for nomination if:

  • Your undergraduate degree is not from an eligible host organisation in Scotland.
  • You came to Scotland to study for a postgraduate master’s but completed your undergraduate degree in a different country.
  • Your first-class honours degree is in a discipline unrelated to the academic field of your PhD.
  • You have already started a PhD or will be starting before the academic year 2023–24.

Application Process

To be considered for a Carnegie PhD Scholarship, you need to be nominated by one of the 17 eligible host organizations. Since each institution has a limited quota of nominations, they each have their own selection process for candidates.

As a starting point, it is advisable to contact the Scottish institution where you plan to pursue your PhD to learn about their selection process for candidates. Subsequently, candidates and potential supervisors should begin preparing their applications for the internal competition in advance of the internal deadline. The previous year’s internal application and process may be used as a guide to anticipate what may be expected for the current year’s call, typically announced in November or December.

Following the nomination, applicants will receive access to the Carnegie Trust’s application portal to submit their final application, along with an endorsement from their prospective supervisor. Furthermore, the prospective supervisor must provide an institutional statement of support.

The deadline for internal applications is usually in January or early February of each year. Successful candidates and their potential supervisors will then collaborate to create the final full application to be submitted to The Carnegie Trust in late February for the commencement of studies in the following academic year.

Please refer to the “Downloadable Documents” tab on the Carnegie PhD Scholarships webpage for the application form template.

Selection Criteria

The selection criteria are:

  • Academic ability and research potential 
  • Project originality, significance, and feasibility
  • Fit between the candidate, project, and research environment
  • Overall quality

Terms and Conditions

  • The applicant must hold an offer of study with GCU before applying, or the application will be rejected.
  •  The absence of a First Class Honours degree from a Scottish university cannot be compensated for by a postgraduate master’s degree undertaken in Scotland.
  • Awards are not transferable to any other programme or academic session.
  • Funding is not available for part-time or distance-learning versions of these programmes.
  • Display outstanding potential for research at the postgraduate level.
  • Demonstrate academic excellence and a strong performance in their final year dissertation project, as well as evidence of consistency and/or increasing levels of achievement throughout their studies.
  • Submit a research proposal that exhibits excellence, originality, and significance.
  • Ensure a good fit between the proposed research and the environment and facilities offered by the institution at which the PhD will be undertaken.
  • Seek out high-quality supervisory arrangements.

Overall, the Carnegie PhD scholarships are highly competitive. The average success rate over the past few years for students nominated by their university has been 25%, and these scholarships are awarded only to the most outstanding candidates who meet the organization’s rigorous selection criteria.

Successful recipients of the scholarship will benefit from full financial support to cover tuition fees, living expenses, and research costs, as well as opportunities for networking and career development.

At Scholarship Monitor, we are committed to providing you with up-to-date information on scholarship opportunities. Make sure to always check back for more updates and take advantage of the resources we have provided to help you achieve your academic and career goals.

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