AHRC Doctoral Programme in Celtic Languages

The new collaborative Doctoral Training Centre in the Celtic Languages is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council for the period 2014-19, and will manage over that period doctoral scholarships and training programmes in Celtic Languages, Literatures and Cultures. A consortium of 12 higher education organisations across the UK will award doctoral studentships and support the training of students in a new, collaborative fashion. The Consortium Members are the universities of Aberdeen, Bangor, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Oxford, Swansea, Queens University Belfast, the University of Ulster, the University of the Highlands and Islands/Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, the University of Wales Trinity Saint David, and the University of Wales Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies; the Centre is managed by the University of Glasgow.

Part of the Centre’s activities will be training programmes in Celtic languages, literatures and cultures, and students will be enabled in an unprecedented way to partake of shared supervision and resources across these universities, and to engage with partners outside the higher education sector. The consortium will be aided in this by three core partners, BBC Northern Ireland, Bòrd na Gàidhlig, and the National Library of Wales.

AHRC Website

In 2014/15, the CDT in Celtic Languages will fund approximately 5 studentships, which may be held at any one of our consortium HEIs; supervision across two HEIs is also possible, but you must be primarily admitted to one HEI.

Applicants for CDT studentships must hold a conditional or unconditional offer of a place on a PhD programme at one of the consortium’s Higher Education Institutions (HEIs). Applicants must be nominated for a CDT studentship by the host institution. HEIs will select their nominations by Friday, 14 February 2014 at the latest. Nominated students will then be advised to complete an application for a CDT studentship by Friday, 28 February, employing the CDT application form.

The studentships will cover the University’s Tuition fees (currently £3,900) for the period of your enrolment (to a maximum of 3 years), and a bursary based on the annual RCUK rate, which is currently set at £13,726.

CDT funded PhD students will also have access to an extensive programme of research training accessed through a Student Development Fund. This will include:

  • LANGUAGE TRAINING for individual students. Advanced training in the student's specialist language(s) and, where appropriate, introductory training in other Celtic languages.
  • DOCTORAL VISITORSHIPS will involve appropriate visits, normally for no more than a semester, to a different RO than the supervising RO(s). Travel and accommodation will be funded.
  • NON-HEI PLACEMENTS with our three core partners will support students pursuing group and individual work-based projects.
  • FIELDWORK for research (eg, linguistic or place-name survey, time-limited visits to archives, libraries or collection; interview work in the field.
  • TRAVEL AND SUBSISTENCE COSTS for individual students: (i) accessing essential research resources outside of the consortium; and (ii) enrolled for joint supervision across Consortium partners.
  • CLARSACH: Part of our flagship event, the Celtic Languages Annual Research Symposium and Collaboration Hub (CLARSACH), will be workshops related to research and employability skills which cut across the sub-disciplinary concerns of the consortium, but which will be orientated towards the parameters of the field of Celtic Studies.

Applicants for AHRC studentships from the Centre for Doctoral Training in Celtic Languages must be nominated by one of the CDT consortium Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), who will serve as the ‘host HEI’. They must also hold a conditional or unconditional offer of a place on a PhD Programme at that HEI. Applicants will normally hold a postgraduate Masters qualification by the time they begin their doctoral study. Studentships are available for full-time and part-time study. Students who have completed their first year of doctoral study, or part-time equivalent, are eligible to apply for a studentship for the remainder of their registered period of study. Students who are ‘writing up/thesis pending’ are not eligible to apply.

In line with AHRC regulations, in order to be eligible for a studentship, a student must also meet certain conditions relating to residence: applicants must be ordinarily resident in the UK (for reasons other than education), or ordinarily resident in a member state of the EU. Students from EU countries other than the UK are generally eligible for awards restricted to the payment of tuition fees only but do not qualify for maintenance awards. Full details regarding residency can be found in Annex A of the AHRC's Student Funding Guide. Students are advised to read these details carefully and, if there is any doubt as to eligibility, they should discuss this with the HEI’s Graduate School or point of contact.

The application process is made up of two stages.

1) UWTSD

In order to be considered for nomination to the AHRC CDT you will first need to apply for Doctoral Study (with initial registration as an MPhil student) through UWTSD’s application procedure.  The deadline for receipt of applications to UWTSD is Friday 31st January 2014. Students being nominated for UWTSD as the host HEI will be advised of this by Friday, 14th February 2014 at the latest.  In the first instance you should contact the UWTSD Postgraduate Research Office at:

Email: pgresearch@tsd.ac.uk

Telephone:   01570 424900

You should also speak to prospective supervisors in the School of Welsh and Bilingual Studies to discuss your interests. You will need to provide a detailed description of your proposed research project. Contact:

Dr Jane Cartwright j.cartwright@tsd.ac.uk  01570 424870 
Dr Christine Jones c.m.jones@tsd.ac.uk   01570 424931  /  01267 676774

2) Application process for nominated students

The CDT in Celtic Languages will accept applications from nominated studentships submitted centrally via email to the CDT administration at the University of Glasgow by Friday, 28th February 2014 at midnight. Late applications will not be accepted.

The application form itself will be made available early in the New Year, and must be completed by the applicant. The deadline for completion and receipt at the UWTSD Postgraduate Research Office is 10.00am on Wednesday 26th Feb 2014.

All applicants must hold a conditional or unconditional offer of a place on a PhD programme from the host HEI before submitting their application.

Note: within the context of the CDT in Celtic Languages it will be possible for students to have access to co-supervision across the HEIs in the CDT consortium. Students may wish to explore this possibility prior to making the CDT application—but the application should still be prepared in collaboration with your host HEI.

Applicants are responsible for making sure that the host HEI knows about their application, is prepared to nominate the applicant for the competition, and will supply the host HEI Supporting Statement by the same deadline.


Along with information about previous qualifications and prizes, the studentship application form will require applicants to provide the following information:

TITLE: a straightforward, descriptive, and informative title for their proposed PhD project

SUMMARY: a research question and overall aim of the project (200 words) [A summary of the project’s main aims in clear language]

PROJECT DETAIL: research context, methods and sources (1000 words) [Context: An assessment of how your research will engage with recent study in the subject; why you are the right person to undertake this research; Methods: an account of the methodology and approach you will take; Sources: a discussion of the texts, documents, objects, data or practices your research will draw upon; Fit: why the host HEI (and any co-supervisory HEI if applicable) is the most relevant to your research aims; Inter-disciplinarity: any interdisciplinary considerations; Ethics: briefly mention if there are ethical issues involved with your research that will need approval]

BENEFICIARIES: benefit, impact and partnership (600 words) [Benefit: An account of why your research question is important and worth investigating, and which communities within the disciplines of the Celtic Languages, Literatures and Cultures might benefit from it; Impact: what impact might your research have for other people outside of Higher Education; how might you disseminate your ideas during and beyond the process of writing the thesis itself; Partnership: are there non-academic partners (not limited to the 3 core partners engaged with the CDT in Celtic Languages) who might particularly benefit from or assist in your project, such that some form of non-HEI collaboration might be explored during the period of doctoral study]

Skills and Training Assessment (400 words) (How prepared are you currently to undertake the proposed research? What skills do you envisage the Doctoral Training Programme being able to supply, at your host HEI or across the CDT’s activities? This may include a variety of further specialist training, including (further) language study, perhaps in another Celtic language or period of language; of what benefit would this particular type of doctoral training be to your work?)

The Host HEI Supporting Statement will request detailed information from your host HEI relating to:

Applicant: the achievements of the applicant demonstrated by qualifications, awards, published papers, references, etc. (300 words)

Proposal: the quality of the applicant’s research proposal e.g. originality, proposed methodology, timeliness, importance, etc. (400 words)

Fit: the fit between the student and the project; between the project and the proposed supervisory HEI(s); and the fit with the CDT research environment, reflecting on any training required by the student and impact/partnership possibilities (400 words)

Supervision: the supervisory expertise available for the specific research project, with notification of any formal cross-institutional supervision arrangements within the CDT consortium HEIs, and including suggestions for further cross-CDT training

Ethics: any ethical issues attached to the research and the plans to be put in place to address these

CDT Review Process

Once applications to the CDT in Celtic Languages have been received by the deadline of 28th  February 2014 the applications and their HEI supporting statements will be read and assessed by the CDT Awards Committee, chaired by Prof. Mícheál Ó Mainnín of Queen’s University, Belfast, and comprised of representatives from all of the 12 consortium HEIs. The recommendations of the awards committee will then be communicated to the CDT Executive, and the Executive will finalise the awards.

We envisage approximately 5 studentships being awarded for commencing study during 2014-15. 

We aim to be able to announce awards and reserves in late April or early May, 2014.

CDT Competition Timetable

Before 14th  February: Applicants should have a conditional or unconditional acceptance to a PhD programme in the host HEI, bearing in mind the local processes and timelines for acceptance to the local programme.

14th February: By this date applicants should be informed whether the host HEI is nominating the applicant to the CDT competition.

26th February (10.00am) Deadline for completion and receipt of the completed CDT application at the UWTSD Postgraduate Research Office

28th February: Deadline for receipt of application forms and HEI Supporting Statements to the CDT studentship competition (central administration University of Glasgow).

March/April: Meetings of CDT Awards Committee and Executive.

Late April / early May: Announcement of awards and reserves.