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Manchester & Liverpool Doctoral Training Programme

PhD (ISCED 2011 level 8)


Duration 8 semesters
Entry level Bachelor
Cost see website

What is our Doctoral Training Programme?

The Manchester-Liverpool DTP is one of 14 Doctoral Training Partnerships funded by NERC to train the next generation of researchers to address major challenges in the Environmental Sciences. Our DTP brings together the Universities of Manchester and Liverpool with the National Oceanographic Centre in a consortium with world-leading expertise across the breadth of the NERC remit.

Our students work at one of the three host partners, registering for a PhD at the University of Manchester or Liverpool. Their research projects may be exclusively based at one of the partners, or involve collaboration between them – but the training programme is provided jointly. Our training is tailored to suit the individual needs of each student, drawing on our strength in each research theme, as well as providing a broader environmental overview to the research challenges in environmental sciences. The studentships are for 3.5 years with a possible extension to 4 years in exceptional circumstances. 

We offer a wide range of different research topics within the three themes of atmospheric sciences, ocean sciences and earth and environmental sciences. Some topics are very specific, with a clear goal, while others are more general with plenty of scope for the student to refine their own research direction. With partner institutions in the public and private sector, the DTP offers students opportunities for additional training, work experience and internship placements, as well as CASE projects which are jointly supervised by University and external partners.

We are looking for high-calibre, motivated applicants wishing to conduct research in the environmental sciences, who have the potential to be the research leaders of the future.

Application procedure

How to apply


View the studentships category for details of current projects. Contact the lead supervisor to register your interest and to ensure that he/she will be able to effectively support your application. In many cases potential supervisors will be able to arrange for you to visit either The University of Manchester or University of Liverpool for an informal discussion about the project. 


Applications should be made using either the Liverpool or Manchester application procedures. Students should choose a PhD topic from the Available  Studentships, and follow the application link shown alongside. 

Please note that, even if requested by the application form, you do not need to upload a “research proposal”, simply provide the title and supervisors for the project you are applying for.

An online application should be submitted to the host institution leading the project.  You should select the application link next to the particular project on the website. 

The programme is “NERC Manchester-Liverpool DTP” 

Funding is “NERC DTP Funding” 

Your application cannot receive consideration until you provide all supporting documents, as follows: 

  • Evidence of prior academic qualifications– these will be certificates or transcripts to show that you meet, or expect to meet the entry requirements. 
  • Evidence of English language ability, if English is not your first language. Please note that some English language test results are only valid for two years. Your English language test report must be valid on the start date of your programme. 
  • Two academic references - Before we can give full consideration to your application, we will need a minimum of two strong academic referencesThese can be submitted with your application if they are signed, or alternatively, they can be emailed directly by the referee to the admissions team at your host institution. 
  • Personal statement/statement of purpose. 
  • CV. 


We will call the strongest applicants for interview.  Invitations to interview will be issued up to 1 week before the interview day. Interviews for all projects will be held at the relevant institution (eg, The University of Manchester, University of Liverpool or The National Oceanography Centre) mid to end February each year. We seek to make offers to students who have the best qualifications for the projects and who perform best at interview. 


We will first make informal offers shortly after interview to the strongest candidates in each pillar.  A second round of offers will be made once the DTP selection meeting has been held in mid-March.  Once you accept an informal offer for a studentship, you need do nothing further.  Over the next few weeks, you will be sent a formal offer/funding letter. 


Applicants must have, or be about to obtain, a first class or upper second degree. If you have a lower second degree, but have also obtained a masters qualification, you are also eligible. If you do not have these qualifications but you have substantial relevant post-graduate experience please contact the School holding the studentship to find out if your relevant experience is sufficient. 

Our studentships provide funding for tuition fees and stipend, are funded by NERC and are available to UK nationals and other EU nationals that have resided in the UK for three years prior to commencing the studentship. Students from EU countries who do not meet the residency requirements may still be eligible for a fees-only award. Overseas students are not at this time eligible for funding from NERC. 

For further guidance about eligibility please refer to the terms and conditions of the Research Councils UK training grant. 

If you do not satisfy the NERC eligibility rules, but can access your own support, please check the available projects directly at the School of Environmental Sciences of the University of Liverpool or the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Manchester.


pplications for the next round of DTP studentships are now open.

Studentships for the Doctoral Training Partnership are organised around three pillars:

  • Atmospheric Sciences
  • Ocean Sciences
  • Earth and Environmental Sciences

There are a minimum of 12 studentships available each year, supported by the Natural Environment Council, and augmented by typically 5 studentships from the Doctoral Training Partnership of the Universities of Manchester and Liverpool, and the National Oceanography Centre.

Each studentship is funded for 3½ years with possible extension up to 4 years in exceptional circumstances.

Students who wish to propose their own research topic may do so, but should contact a prospective supervisor first. A project description similar to the ones shown in this website should be submitted with the application, and the prospective supervisor should alert the DTP Administrator about the proposal.

ISCED Categories

Marine Geology
Physical and chemical oceanography
Oil, gas and mineral resources