Further guidance

Further guidance on the Open-Oxford-Cambridge AHRC DTP review process and on completing the OOC DTP Application Form is available below, or can be downloaded as a pdf

The review process


There are three stages to the selection process for OOC DTP studentships: i) institutional review, ii) consortium-level review, and iii) confirmation of awards by the OOC DTP Management Board.

Stage 1: Institutional review

The first stage of the selection process will be completed by the university through which you have applied for an Open-Oxford-Cambridge AHRC DTP studentship. On the basis of local recruitment and selection procedures, each university will nominate a select number of applicants to be considered by the DTP.

Stage 2: Consortium-level review

At the second stage, your application will be assessed by one of four OOC DTP Studentship Selection Panels, which will be composed of senior academics from the Open University and the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge. The Studentship Selection Panel members will review and score applications individually before meeting to discuss and rank the applications. The answers given in section B of your OOC DTP Application Form will be used by the panels to evaluate your application for funding. In addition to this form, panel members will have access to core information about your application for doctoral study including your university, department/faculty, degree programme, and mode of study (full or part-time). Panel members will not have access to academic references or any other documents that you might have submitted to your university during your application for admission.

OOC DTP Studentship Selection Panel Subject Coverage
Panel Subject coverage
A History; Development Studies; Classics; Archaeology;
B Law and Legal Studies, including Legal History; Philosophy; Political Science and International Studies; Theology, Divinity and Religion;
C Languages and Literature; Linguistics; Cultural Studies; Museum Studies; Cultural Geography; Anthropology;
D Music; Fine Art; History of Art; Design; Media; Drama and Theatre Studies; Dance; all Collaborative Doctoral Award applications.


Stage 3: Confirmation of awards

At the final stage of the selection process, the Studentship Selection Panels’ scores will be moderated and combined into two ranked lists by the Open-Oxford-Cambridge AHRC DTP Management Board: one list for the standard route studentship applications, another for CDA studentship applications. The Board will then determine the number of awards to be made from each list.



Studentship Selection Panels will look for evidence that you have the appropriate skills and experience to complete a doctorate in the field proposed (‘preparedness for research’), and that your proposed research is clearly articulated and well-conceived (‘quality and feasibility of proposal’). This evidence will be evaluated in relation to particular questions on the OOC DTP Application form: answers to questions one and two will be used to assess your preparedness for research; responses to question three will be used to evaluate the quality and feasibility of the doctoral research project proposed.

Open-Oxford-Cambridge AHRC DTP scoring criteria and descriptors
Category Descriptor Score Quality
Preparedness for research Excellent background knowledge and/or relevant linguistic skills. The applicant demonstrates outstanding potential and preparedness in relation to skills (such as languages, or transferrable skills from work experience), training and previous research or fieldwork experience. All skills gaps have been identified, and there is a plausible plan to address them. 16-18 Excellent
Solid background, but applicant may require specific training. The applicant demonstrates strong potential and preparedness in relation to skills, training and previous research or fieldwork experience. Any crucial skills gaps have been identified and there is a plausible plan to address them.  13-15 Very good
Gaps in background knowledge which could be remedied by guided reading. The applicant shows satisfactory potential and preparedness in relation to skills, training and previous research or fieldwork experience. Most of the small and large skills gaps have been identified and there is a plausible plan to address them.   10-12 Good
The applicant shows some potential and preparedness in relation to skills, training and previous research or fieldwork experience. Some skills gaps have not been identified or the plans for addressing such gaps may not be plausible within the timeframe. 7-9 Fair
The applicant has not identified the skills or preparation necessary to the project, and there are significant gaps that mean the project is unlikely to reach a successful conclusion.  4-6 Weak
Serious lack of subject-specific or relevant training and/or generally short on background knowledge and skills.  1-3 Poor

Quality and Feasibility of Proposal

Promising, ambitious and original project, matched by the applicant’s strengths. This is highest priority for funding. The proposal has clearly articulated aims and focus, and is feasible within the given time and resource limitations. The research proposed is well situated in the relevant literatures, and the project is well conceived. The research methodology is appropriate. The proposal clearly shows the potential impact of the research.


Well-conceived and viable project which also demonstrates the applicant’s potential. The proposal is original and rigorous. It is feasible within the timeframe.  13-15 Very good
Project requires honing and development but has clear potential and viability. The proposal has originality and rigour but could be better designed or elaborated. Despite good potential, there are one or more areas for obvious improvement.  10-12 Good
Badly conceived project or overworked subject. The proposal does not display originality. It does not engage with the relevant literature; weak methodology. Should not be funded. 7-9 Fair
The proposal has significant and serious flaws, and should not be funded.  4-6 Weak
No identified project; general indication of interests only. Should not be funded. 1-3 Poor



The OOC DTP Application Form


The application process varies depending on which institution you are applying to for funding. Please follow the guidance given in the How to Apply pages.



The OOC DTP application form is a Word docx file. Please save and then open in Word or Word for Mac. The file's formatting should allow you to complete the form without editing the rest of the file.

If after saving and opening the file you find that you cannot click into and complete the form's fields, please get in touch with the OOC DTP team. 


These details will help us monitor the number of applications to specific subject areas. Answers in this section will not be used in the evaluation of your application for studentship funding.

The Open-Oxford-Cambridge DTP supports discipline-based projects in all of the subject areas covered by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, but also welcomes interdisciplinary research and research in emerging fields of study and creative practice. Please select your primary research area from the options given or list if 'other'.



Your answers to these questions will be used by the OOC DTP Studentship Selection Panels to evaluate your application for funding.


Guidance on completing section B


Please provide details of any undergraduate and master’s degrees that you have taken, including information on the institution, the degree course, dates and the result (if known). Where directly relevant to your proposed programme of doctoral study, please also list any professional qualifications. Finally, please give details of specific language and/or other research skills (e.g. palaeography) that you have acquired, and that are relevant to your doctorate. Please do not include other CV information here.


Use this section of the application form to demonstrate that you have the qualifications, skills and experience required to successfully complete your proposed doctorate. If your project requires particular skills that you need to acquire or improve, identify these and briefly explain how you plan to gain or develop them during your doctorate.

If you are applying for a Collaborative Doctoral Award, please explain how collaborating with your CDA partner organisation will benefit your doctoral training and/or professional experience. You might wish to mention specific training opportunities that you are likely to gain, and/or the resources and expertise that will be available.


You are advised to discuss your research proposal with your supervisor before submitting your application. If you are applying for a CDA, you are expected to discuss your approach to the project with the university and/or partner supervisor ahead of submitting your application. The advertised project details should inform your own research proposal, but should not be copied verbatim into the application form.

Please give a provisional, working title for your research proposal.

Your proposal should clearly articulate the aims and objectives of your doctoral research. It should engage with appropriate literature, outline your proposed research methods, and where appropriate indicate the potential impact of the research.

If you are applying for a Collaborative Doctoral Award, please explain how collaborating with your CDA partner organisation will benefit the research, as well as detailing the potential impact of the research on the partner and other audiences.

You are not expected to include full citations or a bibliography, although may do so if you wish provided the text does not exceed the word count. Please ensure however, that you contextualise your research plans with reference to the most pertinent literature.

It is important that you write in clear, precise English, and that you express your ideas in a way that is accessible to non-specialists. The Studentship Selection Panel members will not necessarily be experts in your particular field, so it is advisable to avoid or to explain discipline-specific jargon or terminology.


You may use this section of the form to mention any individual or personal circumstances that have significantly impacted upon your prior educational opportunity. This might include (for example) details of disability, chronic or acute illness, caring responsibilities, educational or socio-economic background.

Information provided here will not be used in the initial scoring of your application by the Studentship Selection Panels, but might be taken into consideration during the ranking of applicants. It will not be used by the DTP for any other purposes.