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Queen’s University/China Scholarship Council PhD Scholarships 2021

This page provides information for prospective applicants for the Queen’s University/China Scholarship Council Awards.  

There will be up to 20 full PhD scholarships available for candidates starting their studies in the 2021-22 academic year.  Applicants currently in the first year of a PhD programme at Queen's in the 2020-21 academic year may also apply, if they meet the eligibility requirements (including academic criteria and English language).  Such applicants must have commenced their PhD on or after 1 September 2020 in order to be eligible for consideration.

Scholarship Value

Queen’s University Belfast provides a full tuition fee scholarship for successful applicants.  For those commencing the first year of PhD studies in 2021, the scholarship will cover up to three years full-time international PhD tuition fees, and one year thesis only/writing up charge (approximately £300).  The award is subject to registration at Queen’s, continued funding by the China Scholarship Council and to confirmation of satisfactory progress.

The China Scholarship Council provides:

• Maintenance stipend (as specified by the CSC)
• One economy class return journey from China to the UK
• Funding to cover visa application fees


(i) Candidates must be citizens of the People's Republic of China at the time of application, and either permanently resident in China or studying overseas. (Those working overseas are not eligible.)

It should be noted that citizens of Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan are not eligible for consideration under the CSC joint funding route. Candidates must hold a PRC passport.

(ii) Successful candidates must return to China upon completion of their degree.

(iii) Candidates will also be required to satisfy the selection criteria set out by CSC. Details can be found on the website:China Scholarship Council.

Areas of Research

Applicants to all postgraduate research areas will be considered, subject to available supervision. Please consult the School websites for details of research opportunities.

Academic Criteria

The required minimum academic qualifications are normally an undergraduate Bachelor degree with good grades (considered by the University to be equivalent to a UK Bachelor Honours degree, Second Class Upper Division or higher) and a Master’s degree with good grades, awarded by a recognised higher education institution. 

Applicants who do not have a Master’s degree, but who hold very high grades in an undergraduate Bachelor degree from a recognised Chinese higher education institution may be considered on a case-by-case basis at the discretion of the relevant School.

Applicants currently in first year of a PhD programme, or who are currently employed in China, are eligible to apply if they also meet the criteria above.  Such applicants must have commenced their PhD on or after 1 September 2020 in order to be eligible for consideration.

Applicants who have been studying outside China must hold the equivalent of a UK Bachelor Honours degree Second Class Upper Division (2:1) or better, and a Master’s degree with good grades.

By the deadline for receipt of applications to Queen’s University Belfast (Tuesday 26 January 2021), applicants must have met the English language requirement (IELTS or TOEFL internet-based test) for their chosen degree programme (see requirements below) as well as have provided evidence of all academic qualifications undertaken to date.

English Language Requirement

An IELTS score of 6.5* overall with a minimum of 5.5** in each test component OR TOEFL internet-based test with overall score of 90* and minimum marks as follows: Listening (17), Reading (18), Speaking (20) and Writing (17). 

*IELTS/TOEFL test must have been taken within the past two years. All IELTS/TOEFL test results must be sent to Queen’s by 26 January 2021.

**NB: Applicants wishing to undertake a PhD programme offered by the Queen’s Management School, School of Law, or the School of Psychology must obtain higher English language overall and component scores as outlined within the Queen's University Belfast Course Finder.

Exemptions to English Language Requirement

If you have completed an academic qualification to the required standard, equivalent to a UK Bachelor's degree (or higher) which was taught in one of the majority English-speaking countries listed below*, you are normally exempt from additional English language requirements. Exceptionally, some programmes with higher requirements will still require an IELTS test, including all research programmes offered by the School of Psychology.

*Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Ireland, Jamaica, Malta, New Zealand, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, United Kingdom, United States of America



Please note that Steps 1 and 2 must be completed in full by Tuesday 26 January 2021.

Step 1 – Apply for Admission

  • Applications for PhD admission must be made electronically by Tuesday 26 January 2021 via the Queen's postgraduate admissions online application portal 
  • Scanned copies of all academic transcripts and certificates (from Bachelor and Master degrees as applicable), as well as English language test results should be uploaded at the time of application. 
  • Any outstanding documentation must be submitted to Queen’s University by the deadline of Tuesday 26 January 2021, in order to be considered. Applicants should specify in their online application that they will be applying for the Queen's/CSC Joint Scholarship Scheme.
  • It is recommended that applicants contact the relevant University School regarding a suitable research project and possible supervisor, preferably before submitting a PhD application.

Successful applicants will be issued with an offer letter confirming conditional or unconditional admission. An unconditional offer of admission will not be issued unless we have received all necessary documentation to support an application, including:

  • Two academic references
  • Scanned copies of official transcripts for completed programmes as well as those currently in progress. Final Bachelor Degree and Graduation Certificates for programmes already complete should also be provided.
  • English Language test certificate acceptable to the University.

Please note that upon fulfilling any outstanding requirements for admission to a PhD programme (for example, provision of a satisfactory Masters qualification result), students are normally expected to commence their PhD programme in October 2021.

Step 2 – Apply for Queen’s/CSC Funding

  • Applicants must also submit a completed Queen’s University Belfast/China Scholarship Council PhD Scholarships 2021 funding application form [] to the Admissions and Access Service by email: The application form can be completed electronically using Microsoft Word (if you are unable to type on the form, please click on the security warning and enable the content). 
  • The deadline to submit the application for CSC funding to Queen’s University Belfast (with all the necessary documentation) is Tuesday 26 January 2021.  No late applications will be considered.
  • Selection Process:  After the deadline for the submission QUB-CSC applications (Tuesday 26 January 2021), the University selection panel will convene in February 2021 to review all applications and finalise nominations. A notification of nomination for a QUB-CSC joint award will be issued to successful applicants in early March 2021 (date to be confirmed). Those nominated for a QUB-CSC joint award will be required to reply to Queen’s University Belfast in March 2021 (date to be confirmed), advising if they wish to accept the nomination with a view to submitting an application to CSC. Following this, the final list of nominated candidates will be sent to the China Scholarship Council  for consideration.

Step 3 – Apply to CSC

Applicants must submit a separate application to the CSC by its stated deadline, by following the local application procedures in China.

Applicants must also satisfy the selection criteria set out by the China Scholarship Council (CSC) by completing the CSC Application Form and CSC Employer Reference Form which can be found at  Applications to CSC must be submitted online by the closing date which will be published on the official CSC website (estimated to be between 10 March and 31 March 2021)

Please note that all three of the above steps must be completed.