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Midlands4Cities Fully Funded PhD Studentships

AHRC Midlands4Cities funding

The AHRC-funded Midlands4Cities Doctoral Training Partnership (M4C) brings together eight leading universities across the Midlands to support the professional and personal development of the next generation of arts and humanities doctoral researchers.

M4C is a collaboration between the University of Birmingham, Birmingham City University, University of Warwick, Coventry University, University of Leicester, De Montfort University, Nottingham Trent University and the University of Nottingham. M4C will award 460 doctoral studentships between 2019 and 2023, including 40 Collaborative Doctoral Awards. M4C provides:

  • Studentship funding and enhanced support for professional training
  • Expert supervision within and across our dynamic mix of university partners
  • Networking and collaboration across the Midlands, nationally and internationally
  • Links to leading cultural organisations and creative economy partners.

There are two routes to PhD study with M4C:

Open Doctoral Awards where you agreed 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. Studentships are 3.5 years for full-time study.

Collaborative Doctoral Awards (CDAs) see you apply for advertised projects co-designed, and jointly supervised, between an M4C university and an external partner organisation. CDAs offer diverse and unique research projects that support the work of the partner organisation. Studentships are four years for full-time study. BCU will be working in collaboration with Ex Cathedra, Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, and Stan’s Cafe.

Applications for 2021/22 - recruitment is now closed.

Recruitment for 2022/23 will reopen in October 2021.

Applying to study at Birmingham City University for Midlands4Cities

Make an enquiry

Please download our expression of interest form, complete it and send to This will ensure that you receive all BCU-specific guidance for applying for M4C funding.

In order to ensure that there is sufficient time to develop a full application, the annual deadline for the submission of an expression of interest is 30 November. If you miss this deadline and would still like to be considered, please contact

Download expression of interest form

The application for a Midlands4Cities studentship is a two part process: applying for a place to study and then applying for funding. It is essential that you read the Midlands4Cities applicant guidance notes before starting your application.

Research degree programmes in the arts and humanities at BCU.

Top tips for writing your research proposal

Don't know where to start with your PhD application? Dr John Mercer, Professor of Gender and Sexuality at Birmingham School of Media, shares his advice.

John's top tips:

  • What’s your topic and what’s the problem?
  • Who cares and why does it matter?
  • Every word counts, so choose them carefully!

Read more