James Beattie Scholarships

James Beattie Scholarships

James Beattie Scholarships

Application deadline is 31st July 2022.

The James Beattie Scholarship is available for Overseas students only with a start date of September 2022.

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.

Available PhD Projects

Images of a Foreign Land. Early Modern Poland-Lithuania and the Problem of Cultural Transfer.

Supervisors: Professor Robert Frost (robert.frost@abdn.ac.uk) and Professor Karin Friedrich (k.friedrich@abdn.ac.uk)

This project investigates the changing attitudes towards and images of the multi-national and republican Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.

Poland-Lithuania was not the only republican system in early modern Europe, but one of the longest lasting and largest. During the 16th century, Poland-Lithuania emerged as a republic based on the Aristotelian vision of the mixed form of government. The citizens of this republic, the nobility of Poland-Lithuania, gained the right to elect their monarch viritim in 1573. While the king remained an essential part of the political system, his authority was limited by the Henrician Articles, first sworn to in 1576, which required him to call a legislative assembly (the Sejm) every two years. This constitutional arrangement also contained a clause justifying the withdrawal of obedience should the monarch act in breach of the law.

Poland-Lithuania attracted migrants from all over Europe who sought the relative freedom of religious exercise and toleration, a strong civic culture, rights of self-government for their community, as well as economic exchange and military service. From the late Middle Ages, and due to -many urban foundations on Magdeburg Law, settlers came from the German lands to populate Polish towns and cities. Italians joined via trade routes, attracted by a shared Humanist culture. Jews founded communities in Poland-Lithuania after being expelled from elsewhere, receiving extensive privileges from the Polish crown and noble patrons for their legal and religious self-government. Scottish migrants in Poland-Lithuania served as mercenaries and traders but also joined urban communities in careers as mayors and administrators of magnate properties. Dutch Mennonites settled in the Prussian areas of Poland on the Baltic, and Czechs and Moravian Protestants found shelter.

While these multi-national communities in Poland-Lithuania have appeared in extensive studies, there has been little research into the influence of Polish-Lithuanian ideas on Scotland, England, Germany, the Netherlands or Italy. Allan Macinnes has argued that the Polish institution of confederation, which gave a legal basis to collective action by the citizen body, may have influenced the 1638 National Covenant in Scotland. Robert Frost has investigated the basis of Scottish knowledge of Poland-Lithuania; the Anglo-Scottish and the Polish-Lithuanian unions followed broadly similar paths, from a union of the crowns to a union of the parliaments. Historians of Germany and Prussia, including Karin Friedrich, have studied the image of Poles and Poland in the Holy Roman Empire and the Prussian lands. Italian studies have mainly focused on Italian influences on Poland, mainly through contacts between students and universities of both countries, or the presence of Italians at the Polish court.

Under expert supervision by leading scholars on the subject, the PhD candidate will have latitude to design their own case. The candidate will investigate cross-European influences and attitudes in a period when republican and mixed constitutional systems became increasingly exceptional in an early modern Europe of absolute monarchies. A particular focus will be encouraged on the crisis years of the mid-seventeenth century, when the Commonwealth as well as other European countries faced war, civil war, economic hardship and fundamental political upheaval.


This scholarship is open to students subject to the higher (overseas/international) rate of fees. This will include EU applicants subject to the higher rate.

This scholarship will cover, by fee waiver, the difference between home fees and overseas fees. The home fees for 2022/23 are £4,567 and overseas fees are £17,900. Thus, the value of the fee waiver will be £13,333. The successful candidate will be liable for the home portion of fees, £4,567 annually, which will be fixed for the duration of their programme, as well as receive a stipend of £6,000 per academic year. Subject to satisfactory progress, the scholarship will be awarded for three years. Details of the cost of study can be found by visiting: Fees - PGResearch 2022-23.pdf (abdn.ac.uk)

Applicants must apply for admission to the PhD research project 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

Before you apply, please contact the supervisory team by email 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 “DHPA James Beattie Scholarship” in the Intended Source of Funding field on your online application.