Coventry University | PhD Study

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PhD Study

Who is this programme for?

We are looking for exceptionally talented, motivated and creative scholars interested in a new generation of issues linked to the sustainable food supply for the planet, the governance of food systems, technical and social aspects of food production, hydrological processes and change, eco-hydrology, provision of clean water, and community resilience or adaption to climate change.

What we offer

An engaging Doctoral Training Programme (DTP) providing bespoke and relevant training and mentoring, delivered by an international team of field experts. The DTP is versatile and flexible in addition to having rigour and relevance, allowing you to choose creditable development activites that fit your needs and research schedules. 

An array of DTP activities including discipline-specific seminars and workshops, annual summer schools, peer-to-peer presentations and discussions, as well as various social activities throughout the year. We encourage and facilitate student-led activities to complement and enhance this programme. 

The Doctoral Training Centre (DTC) and access to facilities. The University has invested over £7.5 million to establish the dedicated research facility at Garden Organic, Ryton Gardens, which boasts extensive office space, meeting rooms, IT equipment, soil and water labs, a computational modelling lab and a video-editing suite. As an integral part of CAWR, you will have access to all facilities and equipment. 

The CAWR Research Community. We are an international team of 50 strong academics, from early career researchers, to full professors who are world leading experts in their respective fields. As a CAWR student, you will be regularly invited to participate in our thematic group meetings, guest seminars and general staff meetings, thereby gaining access to research expertise and mentoring beyond the immediate supervisory team. This allows you to gather insight into work culture, practices and norms by working alongside researchers and other professional services staff at the centre. You will have dedicated administrative support through the various stages of your progress, from application to award. 

Post-doc Incentive for PhD students with a successful track record and prompt completion, who are offered the opportunity to compete for 1 year of post-doctoral funding at Coventry University. 

How to apply

Informal expressions of interest, including a motivation letter, a resume and a brief research proposal, can be submitted to potential supervisors within CAWR.

Entry requirements:

  • a recognised Masters degree in a relevant discipline from a reputable institution,
  • the potential to engage in innovative research and to complete the PhD within a three year period of study,
  • English language proficiency (IELTS overall minimum score of 7.0, with a minimum score of 6.5 in each component). 

For details on the formal application process and forms, please see Making an Application on the University’s website.

For potential supervisors and their areas of expertise, please see our staff list.

Contact our Current PhD students to hear first hand about their experience at CAWR.

CAWR studentships and other funding opportunities

Fully-funded Joint PhD programme Coventry University, U.K. and Stellenbosch University, South Africa



Project description:

We invite applications for a 3.5 year fully-funded PhD which will be co-hosted by the Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience, Coventry University and the Water Institute, Stellenbosch University. The successful candidate will be a full-time PhD student based for specific periods of time in the two institutions, but essentially conducting research on water in South Africa, and based out of Stellenbosch University. We encourage female, LGBT and particularly candidates from economically marginalised backgrounds in South Africa to apply.  

This studentship will investigate, evaluate and contribute to a critical understanding of water access and use among smallholder farmers in South Africa. The proposed scholarship draws from the observation that policy reforms in land and water governance and management to transform and reverse inequities from the past have largely failed to translate into practice. The central goal of this PhD proposal is to understand how the agency and capability of diverse smallholder farmers in South Africa aligns (or not) with reforms in land and water legislation and policy aimed at redressing past injustices. We are particularly interested in proposals that will pay attention to how race, ethnicity, class and gender intersect in the context of emerging smallholder farmers as well as proposals that demonstrate attention to understanding and unpacking institutional barriers and challenges to successfully implementing reform agendas and strategies.   

As part of your application, please submit the following:

  • a two-page research proposal, spelling out the research question, conceptual framework, location and potential for impact (maximum 2 pages)
  • a full CV
  • a motivation letter demonstrating your interest and eligibility on the topic of the proposed research
  • (maximum 1 page)
  • the names of two referees (to be called upon should you be shortlisted)
  • any further details on your research skills (list of publications)
  • proof of English language proficiency.

Please submit the above documents as one email to the following persons no later than December 15, 2018 (1800 UK time); also address any queries to:

Dr Deepa Joshi at

Dr Leanne Seeliger at

Coventry University Scholarships:

For information regarding the scholarships that are available via Coventry University please see the 'About our Scholarships' page for further details.

Postgraduate Doctoral Loans:

A Postgraduate Doctoral Loan can help with course fees and living costs while studying on a postgraduate doctoral course, such as a PhD. For more information click here.



Moussa Sidibe

"I always perceived a PhD as a daunting task, I shall admit that undertaking it in a transdisciplinary and innovative oriented research centre as CAWR, makes it easier. As a CAWR PhD student I feel lucky to be in contact with brilliant minds from all around the world."

Christopher Yap

''Doing a PhD at CAWR means grounding your research in practice. The Centre has such a diversity of staff and students, but what they have in common is a commitment to having an impact in the real world. I am an urban geographer, but through my time at CAWR I have worked closely with economists, natural scientists, and participatory practitioners. The Centre’s emphasis on interdisciplinary thinking and working, and non-traditional approaches to research, makes it a rare and important place to study particularly if, like me, you are interested in the politics of knowledge production within and outside of academia.''