James Beattie Scholarships

Application Deadline: 15 September 2020. Eligible to Overseas students. Covers Overseas portion of tuition fees plus stipend. Please note: the scholarships listed are available for a January 2021 start date.

This innovative scholarship programme provides an opportunity for postgraduate research students to undertake a package of training and career development, including teaching or research assistance, and to join a research network concentrated in a particular field of study.

PhD Projects

Northern Communities: Scotland’s links with Poland-Lithuania, 1550–1750

This network will draw on the developing links of the new Research Centre for Polish-Lithuanian Studies with the Museum of Polish History (Warsaw) and the National Museum of Scotland to examine the rich political, religious, cultural and trading links between Scotland, and in particular northeastern Scotland, with the Commonwealth of Poland-Lithuania in the early modern period. Scotland’s links with Scandinavia have been substantially documented, but although much work has been undertaken identifying Scottish migrants to the inland provinces of Poland-Lithuania, in part carried out by RIISS, and documented in Peter Bajer’s comprehensive study, less work has been done on Scottish migration to the Polish province of Royal Prussia, where the major cities were largely German in culture, and Lithuania proper. 

PhD Project: Images of a Foreign Land

Supervisors: Professor Robert Frost, Professor Karin Friedrich

Application deadline: 15 May 2020

One of the most intriguing aspects of the relationship between Poland-Lithuania and Scotland in the early modern period is the way in which the substantial migration of Scots to Poland-Lithuania affected the image of Poland-Lithuania in Scotland, and the image of Scotland in Poland-Lithuania. This project will chart the changing attitudes on both sides as in political and religious terms the two systems diverged in the seventeenth century. It will examine in particular the crisis years of the mid-seventeenth century, when both systems faced civil war and fundamental political upheaval, and its aftermath. It will also look at discussions of the Polish-Lithuanian union during the debates surrounding the unions of 1603 and 1707.

For more information about the project and how to apply, please visit the FindaPhD website.

Irish & Scottish Liberalism in the Long Nineteenth-Century

Competing notions of Liberalism informed domestic and imperial British politics during the long nineteenth century. And yet, its particular influence on Irish and Scottish thought remains woefully understudied. Drawing from the expertise of Prof. Michael Brown, Dr Colin Barr, and Dr Bradford Bow in the fields of Irish history, Scottish history, and intellectual and political history, the proposed network will solicit applications for two places to study Irish and Scottish Liberalism in the period between 1798 and 1914.

PhD Project: Irish Liberalism in the Long Nineteenth Century

Supervisors: Professor Michael Brown, Dr Colin Barr, Dr Bradford Bow

Application deadline: 15 May 2020

This project is intended to investigate the ideology, development, decline and practical activities of Irish liberalism in the long nineteenth century. The project will build on the expertise and resources of the Research Institute for Irish and Scottish Studies, which includes an active seminar and workshop series.  The Institute also hosts a number of ongoing research projects concerned in whole or in part with the history of the island of Ireland, including the ‘Global Daniel O’Connell’ project.

For more information about the project and how to apply, please visit the FindaPhD website.

Epistemic values, virtues and vices

The Network Epistemic Values, Virtues and Vices aims to explore the nature of and relations holding between epistemic values, epistemic virtues and epistemic vices. Since this topic is currently at the centre of the investigation of several philosophical disciplines (e.g. general epistemology, social epistemology, epistemology of education, ethics, feminism and gender issues), the projects of the Network will prove attractive to applicants with different backgrounds and interests.  

By ‘epistemic values’ we refer to intellectual goods like knowledge, rationality and truth. By ‘epistemic virtues and vices’ we refer to traits or dispositions of a subject such as (virtues) curiosity, objectivity, intellectual honesty, and (vices) dogmatism, intellectual dishonesty, gullibility. Epistemic virtues and vices facilitate or, respectively, hamper the subject’s achievement of epistemic goods and values.

PhD Project: Varieties of Epistemic Injustice

Supervisors: Dr Luca Moretti, Dr Federico Luzzi

The notion of epistemic injustice — the injustice done to someone in their capacity as a knower — has attracted increasing attention since it was influentially discussed by Miranda Fricker in ‘Epistemic Injustice: Power and the Ethics of Knowing’.

Possible theses written under this project will aim to reach some of the following goals:

- Explore the possible applications of testimonial and hermeneutical injustice, as described by Fricker, to novel domains;

- Motivate more nuanced understandings of either or both of these two notions;

- Examine the extension of testimonial injustice to other epistemic sources;

- Investigate the notions of prejudice and marginalization which epistemic injustice fundamentally relies on

For more information about the project and how to apply, please visit the FindaPhD website.

Awards and eligibility

The School of Divinity, History and Philosophy is pleased to offer the James Beattie Scholarships, named for James Beattie (1735–1803), Professor of Moral Philosophy at Marischal College.

Given other sources of funding available to UK/EU applicants, these scholarships are open only to Overseas applicants. In support of this, the scholarships will waive the overseas portion of tuition fees (the difference between the Overseas rate of tuition fee and the UK/EU rate of tuition fee) and include a stipend of £6,000. Subject to satisfactory progress, the scholarships will be awarded for three years.

The awards are open to Overseas students applying to start their first year of study for a research degree in 2020-2021.

Applicants must apply for admission to one of the PhD research projects listed above on a full-time, on campus basis.

Successful scholars will undertake a package of training and career development opportunities. This will include a set number of hours of teaching or research assistance. The career development package will be phased in year-by-year and supported by relevant training.


Applicants must be of outstanding academic merit and potential for independent research, as evidenced by the candidate’s academic record, prior qualifications, proposal and references. Selection will be based on this evidence and upon the strength of the proposed engagement with the advertised research project.

Applicants must be classified as Overseas students for fees purposes as set by the University of Aberdeen.

Applicants must hold, or expect to hold prior to commencement of studies, an undergraduate degree at UK first class or 2:1 honours level, or the international equivalent. It is preferable but not a requirement that you hold a Masters relevant to your chosen area of study. Other factors such as financial status and nationality are not taken into account.

Before you Apply

Contact a member of the supervisory team listed for the PhD research project you are interested in (see above). This is an opportunity to discuss your potential fit with the project, how your own research interests will benefit the project, and how you intend to frame your research proposal.

Application process

Application will be via the PhD application portal. Further information on the process may be found at this site.

You must include a detailed research proposal (1000-1500 words) which sets out how you will engage with the advertised PhD project, degree transcripts and certificates, and be supported by two academic references. Further guidance on research proposal may be found here.

You should mark your application “DHP James Beattie Scholarship” in the Intended Source of Funding.

The deadline for applications is 15 September 2020 for a January 2021 start date.