University of Edinburgh logo British Antarctic Survey logo National Oceanographic Centre logo University of Leeds logo

Apply Now

Details of projects for entry in 2023 will be available shortly here

The deadline for applications for entry in 2023 will be midnight on Sunday 15th January 2023 (note this means between Sunday and Monday and will be GMT).

Please read this section carefully before following in the Step by Step instructions for submitting an application.

You may also find it useful to read our Frequently Asked Questions for Applicants, watch this years Applications Webinar or come along to one of our applications drop in sessions with our EDI champion please sign up below:


We offer fully funded a 3 year 9 month studentship (this includes your maintenance grant + University fees + research costs).  

  • The maintenance grant is paid at the standard  UKRI rate (currently £17,668 in Session 2022/23, and will likely increase each year of your study approximately in line with inflation). Maintenance grants are not subject to UK income tax or national insurance. 
  • All your fees to the University will be paid by SENSE.
  • Your extensive SENSE training programme and travel/accommodation costs will be covered, in addition to any research cost (e.g. fieldwork or purchasing satellite data). Beyond this, you will receive a Research Training and Support Grant (RTSG) of £1050/year to cover conference attendance, any additional research visits to other institutions (including visiting your other supervisors),and other miscellaneous costs. SENSE students may be eligible to apply for extra travel funding from the centre which will be assessed on a case by case basis. 
  • Please note that any cost incurred in obtaining a visa to study in the UK will not be funded by the centre.

Entry Requirements 

We expect most  applicants to have a  degree equivalent to a UK first class honours, or a high upper second class, in an environmental science, maths, physics, computer science, or an engineering discipline. However, we will consider applications from a wide range of backgrounds, including those with non-traditional  qualifications or from industry – please feel free to contact us to have a chat about your suitability for the programme.  

Our students will come from a diverse range of backgrounds, ethnicities, and experiences. All host partners are committed to advancing gender equality, as demonstrated through signing the Athena SWAN Charter, a commitment to the advancement and promotion of the careers of women. We particularly encourage applications from UK-domiciled underrepresented groups, which we have identified as Black, Asian and minority ethnic candidates, disabled persons and those from a disadvantaged socio-economic and alternative backgrounds. All scholarships will be awarded on the basis of merit, and all the best candidates will be interviewed.

This year we guarantee interviews for up to 50% of our previous years allocation, for UK BAME or disabled applicants who meet the minimum requirements and are deemed appointable by their potential supervisor. To be considered for this scheme please email

Candidates who already hold a PhD are unlikely to be considered.

International Applicants

We accept applications from both home and international applicants. Please be aware that due to funding regulations we are only able to offer 30% of our studentships to international applicants. There is no additional fee requirements for international applicants however the centre will not provide funding for obtaining the necessary visas to study in the UK,

Please also be aware that due to immigration regulations studentships based at British Antarctic Survey or National Oceanography Centre are not available to international students.

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 would be classed as an International student.

Proof of English language ability

All PhD applicants must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of their English language ability:

  • IELTS Academic: total 6.5 (at least 6.0 in each module)
  • TOEFL-iBT: total 92 (at least 20 in each module)
  • CAE and CPE: total 176 (at least 169 in each module)
  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with distinctions in all four components

A postgraduate degree must be studied on a full-time, continuous basis, be at least 12 months in duration and awarded no more than 2 years from the proposed start date. An undergraduate degree must be studied on a full-time, continuous basis for at least two academic sessions (years) and awarded no more than 2 years from the proposed start date (i.e., by October 2023 for the current entry round). IELTS, TOEFL, Pearson Test of English and Trinity ISE must be no more than two years old at the beginning of your degree programme (October 2023).

Postgraduate Studies English language requirements

The Selection Process

Step 1 

Application: Submit an application via the University of Leeds application portal. Step by step guidance is available here. The deadline for applications is midnight on Sunday 15th January 2023 GMT.

Step 2 

Selection: Your application will be reviewed by the supervisors of the project that you apply to, and SENSE’s recruitment committee who will read an anonymised application.

Applicants will be invited for interview based on the following criteria:

  • Score for Bachelor’s degree
  • Score for master’s grade, or relevant industry experience
  • References
  • Any scientific outputs (not expected or essential, but let us know if you have any)
  • Research skills / experience
  • Technical experience
  • Earth Observation experience

Please note that it is not necessary for a candidate to be proficient in all these areas: SENSE provides extensive training in Earth Observation, advanced data techniques and programming. We recruit candidates from a broad range of backgrounds and we consider each application individually.

Step 3 

Interview.  We will call the strongest applicants for interview. The interview panel will be Earth Observation experts from the University of Edinburgh, University of Leeds and industry, with a range of specialities. Interviews will be held in early March 2023 at the University of Leeds (online interviews will be available). We seek to make offers to students who demonstrate the best aptitude for the projects based on their application and performance at interview. 

Step 4 

Offer.  We will make a formal offer to the successful candidate shortly after interviews. 

Once you accept the offer of the study place, you will be sent a formal funding letter. 


The deadline for applications is midnight Sunday 15th January 2023 GMT.


If you require any further information please contact this email address is checked by the centre administrators who are not involved in the candidate selection.