PHEDS programme applications for 2020 have now closed

Applications for 2021 entry are expected to open in Autumn 2020. Please keep checking this page for updates.


You will…

  • be highly motivated to make a significant scientific contribution to tackling chronic disease burden through research that can inform well-evidenced, cost-effective public health strategies
  • be able to demonstrate your enthusiasm to work collaboratively in an interdisciplinary environment
  • have completed an undergraduate degree (equivalent to 2.1 or above) in a relevant discipline (e.g. mathematics, statistics, epidemiology, public health, psychology, nutrition, quantitative sociology, politics, economics, systems engineering, business studies, geography).
  • have completed a master’s degree at merit or distinction (or a non-UK equivalent) in a relevant subject, or more than one year of formal employment in either a relevant scientific environment or in public health decision making
  • have quantitative maths skills equivalent to A at A-Level (may also be evidenced through university modules or work)
  • have excellent verbal and written communication skills
  • meet English language requirements (international applicants).

We particularly want to encourage applications from disadvantaged or under-represented group, and will ensure that at least one out of our seven annual scholarships is awarded to a UK candidate who meets one or more of our Widening Participation Criteria.

The programme is open to UK/EU applicants, and to non UK/EU applicants who are nationals of Low- and Middle-income countries (as defined by the OECD – see list here). Non-EU candidates must be able to comply with UK immigration regulations.

The scheme is not open to clinicians, or those who have recently completed medical training, as these candidates can apply to alternative Wellcome funding schemes. Those who can demonstrate that they have already left clinical careers and have been working in academia, policy, or other areas for a significant period of time are eligible. Explain this carefully in your personal statement.

Key dates

Applications open on the 31st of October 2019, and close on the 1st of January 2020.
Interviews will take place in the first two weeks of February 2020.
Interviews will be in Sheffield, with an option to Skype for those overseas.

How to apply

Complete an online application by clicking here and upload the following mandatory documents:

  • degree certificate(s) and academic transcripts listing courses/modules and marks awarded
  • A level certificates or high school leaving certificates
  • evidence of maths skills (see eligibility criteria)
  • two academic references, or one academic and one employment reference (relating to a contract of more than one year)
  • CV – maximum 3 sides A4, font size 10 or larger, pdf or MS Word format. See for ideas of what to include.
  • A personal statement explaining why you are the right person for the programme and why this is the right programme for you at this time – maximum 800 words, font size 10 or larger, MS Word
  • evidence of English language skills, if you are an EU or overseas candidate from a country other than a majority English-speaking country (see eligibility criteria)

Optional supporting documents:

  • Widening Participation Application Form
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) test results, which we can consider as additional evidence of academic ability
  • evidence of academic publications or academic prizes (after age 16)

You should not submit a research proposal.

English language requirements

All EU (except ROI) and overseas candidates from countries not classed as majority native English speaking countries must submit a valid IELTS AcademicTOEFL or Pearson test score as evidence of fluency in English. This must have been taken no earlier than two years before the course start date.

Required scores are:

Overall score of 7.5 and a score of at least 7.0 in each testing area (speaking, listening, reading and writing)

Overall score of 103, with at least
22 in listening
24 in reading
25 in speaking
24 in writing

Pearson test
Overall score of 72 with at least 67 in each of the listening, reading, writing and speaking components.


Choose referees who know you well and can comment on your skills, ability and ‘fit’ with the programme.

References should either be provided on University/company headed paper, signed, scanned and uploaded on the application system or by providing their professional email address in the application system and generating reference requests. Ensure your referees are available to respond quickly as applications without references cannot be considered.

Choosing the correct options in the online admissions system

In ‘Part 2: Course Applications’ select ‘Add new research course’.

Then choose:

  • Qualification applying for: Doctoral Training Course.
  • A further drop down menu will appear with a list of possible courses.
  • Select the Wellcome programme from the list.
  • How do you want to study: Full time
  • When do you wish to start your research: September 2020

Contact our Doctoral Training Centre Manager if you have further questions.

Writing your personal statement

We know that writing a personal statement can be daunting! Please check out our Tips for writing a personal statement for the PHEDS Wellcome DTC Application.