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Our offer

Be part of a thriving community of doctoral students

M4C’s commitment to postgraduate training and support offers students creative opportunities to develop skills and attributes for research, life and work. Our vision is to be a major catalyst for arts and humanities postgraduate research in the Midlands and beyond.


Through our Open Doctoral and Collaborative Doctoral Awards Midlands4Cities will fund and support outstanding research for 460 doctoral research students between 2019 and 2024. M4C studentships can be undertaken full-time and part-time. Our awards include 3.5 years funding for a full-time Open Doctoral Award and 4 years funding for a Collaborative Doctoral Award (a maximum of 7 years and 8 years respectively for part-time study). Awards for UK residents cover UK tuition fees and provide a stipend at the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) rate. International students will also be able to apply for an AHRC funded postgraduate studentship for the start of the 2021/22 academic year. EU applicants are now classified as international students. They will be eligible for tuition fees at the UK rate and a stipend to support living costs. UKRI (AHRC) funding will not cover international fees set by universities. For further details please read the UKRI Guidance on EU and International Eligibility for UKRI funded studentships. A studentship consists of three elements:
  • Payment of tuition fees for UK and international applicants of £4,407 per annum (indicative rate) for 2020 entry as set by UKRI (pro-rata for part-time study).
  • A maintenance grant (or stipend) for UK and international applicants of £15,285 per annum (indicative rate) for 2020 entry as set by UKRI pro-rata for part-time study).
  • Additional funding opportunities which include a Research Development Fund to support primary research activities, an Engagement Fund to enable students to undertake placements and other professional development activity and a Cohort Development Fund which supports groups of M4C students to design training, development and research activities.
I was awarded M4C money to go to The University of the West Indies in Jamaica. This was an amazing experience that allowed me to disseminate my research on an international stage and network with key scholars and practitioners specialising in Caribbean dance. — Tia-Monique Uzor

Expert supervision

Applicants for an Open Doctoral Award can draw on supervisory expertise within and across the dynamic mix of universities which comprise Midlands4Cities. This allows you to find the perfect supervisory team for your project either within a single university or across M4C institutions. Midlands4Cities doctoral researchers have access to world class supervisory expertise across the breadth of arts and humanities subjects. Where relevant, your supervisory team may also include a member from a non-university partner organisation (for example from the cultural, creative or heritage sector).
Applicants for a Collaborative Doctoral Award pursue a PhD research project which has been jointly developed by a Midlands4Cities university and an external partner organisation. Collaborative Doctoral Awards offer:
  • Projects which respond to particular needs in the cultural, creative and heritage sectors
  • Access to training, facilities and expertise beyond a purely academic setting
  • The opportunity to develop skills and experience that significantly enhance future employability
The Digital Arts and Humanities Summer School was really about being ambitious. We wanted to not only see how diverse a group of new skills we could make available to PhD students, but also how impactful it could be in the long-term.


Midlands4Cities has an extensive range of regional, national and international partners who provide training and placement opportunities for our students. A placement is an excellent opportunity for personal and professional development, enabling you to develop skills, apply research expertise outside of academia and gain valuable experience to add to your CV.
During the period of your PhD study you will have the opportunity to develop a placement for up to six months with one of the many organisations that collaborate with Midlands4Cities. Alternatively, we will support you to develop a placement with an organisation which is part of your own research network. A placement will provide access to new resources, contacts and organisational cultures (for example you could be based in a museum, gallery, studio, archive, heritage organisation or specialist laboratory).
Working on Journey to Justice: Nottingham was an amazing experience. I learnt a lot during my time as postgraduate project lead and developed a range of skills that will prove invaluable in years to come.


Midlands4Cities provides a collaborative research training environment by combining the postgraduate training offer at each M4C university with an extensive and customised programme of research and employability training that connects the M4C community.
The Midlands4Cities ethos of ‘Quality Thesis Plus’ enables students to develop arts and humanities research skills, explore interdisciplinary methods, discover research networks, and path-find professional careers via the Midlands Arts Programme (MAP). This includes cohort development initiatives that range from writing workshops with the Royal Literary Fund and Policy Engagement training with the Institute for Government, to workshops with creative practitioners that ‘Lift the Lid’ on work and careers in the cultural industries.
Tina & Anna’s one-on-one advice and immersive training helped me overcome a long-lasting writing block, I have taken a different approach to writing and feel more in control and able to think creatively. (Royal Literary Fund Writing Workshop)

Virtual Postgraduate Platform (VPP)

To build and support the Midlands4Cities community we have a digital online platform – the Virtual Postgraduate Platform (VPP). This is a single online space for M4C doctoral researchers and supervisors that provides a shared point of access for:

Equality Diversity and Inclusion

Midlands4Cities recognises it’s responsibility to operate in a way which creates equal opportunities for all our applicants and students. EDI Policy

Next steps

We offer two routes for PhD study:
  1. Open Doctoral Awards: These awards invite you to design and agree a research project with academic supervisors within the M4C partnership. There is the potential to build cross-institutional supervisory teams to maximise fit and expertise.
  2. Collaborative Doctoral Awards: These awards are jointly developed and co-supervised between an M4C university and an external partner organisation. CDAs offer diverse and unique projects that respond to particular needs in the cultural, creative and heritage sectors.
Information & apply