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To be eligible for Aspiring Researchers: AH, you will need to meet the following criteria: 


Essential criteria (all required):  

  1. have, or expect to have and be able to prove right to live and work full time in the UK for the duration of the programme;  

  2. have completed or at be in the penultimate or final year of undergraduate study at a UK or Republic of Ireland university;  

  3. have an interest in undertaking a postgraduate research degree (MPhil or PhD) in the Arts and Humanities, and intend to apply to postgraduate research study for 2025-2026 entry;  

  4. not have already completed or be currently studying a postgraduate research degree (e.g. MPhil, DPhil, PhD, etc.) or have an offer to start a postgraduate research degree. 

Note: if you have already received an offer for postgraduate research study or have completed a postgraduate research degree, you are not eligible to apply for the programme. You will be asked to confirm this when applying and accepting your offer.   

       5. have an interest in undertaking a research postgraduate degree in the arts and humanities, and be intending to make an application to a UK higher education institution for 2024-2025 entry. 


Academic criteria (all required):  

Be on track to achieve or have achieved a final undergraduate degree grade of a high 2:1 or First in an arts and humanities subject. 


Socio-economic criteria (at least one):  

  • be in the first generation of their family to study at undergraduate level   

  • have entered university at undergraduate level from a care background or a Foyer resident  

  • have been a young carer under the age of 18 or have caring responsibilities during their undergraduate study;  (providing unpaid support for a family who has a physical or mental health condition, or misuses substances)  

  • be estranged from their parents/guardians 

  • have been in receipt of free school meals at secondary school

  • be in receipt of full state support for maintenance for their course of undergraduate study 

  • be a mature undergraduate student (aged 21 or over on the first day of an undergraduate course)     

  • would be a mature postgraduate student (aged 25 or over on the first day of a postgraduate course)  

  • be either a single parent, or lone guardian of a young person who is aged under 18 and/or is still in full-time education    

  • have refugee status


We particularly encourage applications from students not studying at a Russell Group university and/or identify as Black or Mixed Black, Bangladeshi or Mixed Bangladeshi, Pakistani or Mixed Pakistani.   


Widening Participation Criteria  

Please indicate whether you satisfy any of the widening participation criteria by selecting the appropriate criteria on the application form. The corresponding question on the application form, as well as further details, where applicable, can be found in the table below.  

If you are shortlisted, we may contact you to request evidence to support the widening participation criteria you have selected. This ensures transparency and fairness in our assessment processes.  


Question, Further Details  

Free School Meals  

Question: Were you eligible for Free School Meals at secondary school? 


‘Free School Meals’ refers to school meals available free of charge to individuals whose financial circumstances make them eligible. 

Care or Foyer Background 

Question: Have you ever lived in public care or as a looked-after child for a period of three months or more?  


This can include: 

  • living with foster carers under local authority care 

  • living in a residential children's home 

  • being 'looked after at home’ under a supervision order 

  • living with friends or relatives in kinship care – either through a formal arrangement (e.g. a Special Guardianship order) or an informal arrangement without Local Authority support 

Estranged from Family 

Question: Do you consider yourself estranged from your parents/guardians?  


An estranged student is someone under the age of 25 who is not communicating with their parents/guardians due to a breakdown in their relationships and has had no physical and financial support from them for at least 12 months. You may also have been assessed as independent by Student Finance during your undergraduate study. 

Single Parent or Guardian 

Question: Are you/have you been a single parent, lone foster parent, or lone guardian of a young person who is aged under 18 and/or still in full-time education during your undergraduate degree course? 

Caring Responsibilities  

Question: Do/did you have caring responsibilities for a family member or friend who could not manage without this help during secondary school and/or your undergraduate study? 

Caring responsibilities include providing unpaid care to a family member or friend who could not cope without your support, lasting for 3 months or more occupying more than 10 hours per week. This may be due to illness, disability, a mental health issue, or substance misuse. 

First Generation Applicant  

Question: During your time at secondary school, did any of your parents, step-parents, or guardians have an undergraduate degree (e.g. BA, BSc, etc.), or a postgraduate qualification such as a master’s, a postgraduate diploma, a postgraduate certificate, or a doctorate? 

Mature Student  

Question: Are you a mature undergraduate student? (That is, aged 21 or over at the start of your current undergraduate course.) 


Question: Would you be a mature postgraduate if you were to start postgraduate study in October 2025? (That is, aged 25 or over on 1 October 2025.) 

State Support  

Question: Are you in receipt of full state support for maintenance for your course of undergraduate study?   

Refugee Status 

Question: Are you, or have you been, recognised as a refugee, stateless person, or asylum seeker, or been granted humanitarian protection status by the UK government?