Eligibility and FAQs

Below are the eligibility requirements for the RIS programme. The first section of our application form deals with eligibility: we will ask you to confirm a few statements, more information on which you can find below.

If you have any questions related to the eligibility requirements, or wish to discuss your circumstances with a member of the recruitment team, please contact us on 0203 005 3344 or email apply@researchersinschools.org.

Our Eligibility Requirements

In order to apply for the RIS programme you need to:

  1. Be committed to increasing the number of young people from underrepresented backgrounds who progress to highly-selective universities 
  2. Have or be on course to achieve a PhD in an area of study closely related to one of the following subjects:                            
    Physics Mathematics English
    Biology Computer Science Modern Languages
    Chemistry Geography Classics (Latin/Greek)
  3. Have an undergraduate degree or equivalent
  4. Have GCSE grade C/4 (or standard equivalent) in mathematics and English.
  5. Not already hold Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) or QTLS
  6. Have or be able to obtain the right to work in the UK (we may be able to support a small number of candidates who are eligible for the Salaried route to be sponsored by schools in our network. See Can international/non-EEA applicants apply for the programme?)

Who decides the eligibility requirements?

The first three are requirements of the Researchers in Schools Programme. As a unique route into teaching we believe that recruiting people with PhDs who are committed to the programme’s aims will mean that together we can achieve our mission.

Requirements 4, 5 and 6 are nationally-set requirements for anyone who wants to train to be a teacher in England. You can read more about these on the The Department for Education’s Website.

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I don’t have GCSEs or any equivalent. Can I still apply?

Yes. However, if you don’t hold GCSE qualifications in Maths and English, you may be required to sit a GCSE equivalency test or offer other evidence to demonstrate your ability.

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My qualifications aren’t from the UK, can I still apply?

Yes. If all or part of your qualifications are from outside the UK, you may be asked to formally recognise any overseas qualifications through UK NARIC. You can compare overseas qualifications to the British degree standard on GOV.UK. If you don’t hold GCSE qualifications in Maths and English, we may require you to sit a GCSE equivalency test or offer other evidence to demonstrate your ability.

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I haven’t fully completed my doctorate yet, can I still apply?

This depends on the routes you have a preference for (see the Your Teacher Training section):

  • For anyone on the bursary route, you must have completed your viva before 1st August 2020. If you have outstanding corrections after this date, you will need to discuss this with a member of our team.

  • To be considered for the salaried route, you must have completed your thesis, viva and any outstanding corrections before 1st August 2020. Here, the requirements are stricter to reflect the challenge and workload of the salaried route.

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Can international/non-EEA applicants apply for the programme?

We welcome applications from international applicants, though placement opportunities are often limited and, because of this, require a large degree of flexibility in terms of your geographical preferences.

Additionally, due to national visa regulations, sponsorship is only a possibility for the following combinations of placement school location and subject:

All areas of England

  • Maths
  • Physics

Inner and Outer London Only

  • Chemistry
  • Computer Science
  • Mandarin

In very limited cases, Biology specialists may also be eligible for sponsorship, but only where they are employed to teach an element of Physics. This will be dependent on the requirements of your potential placement school and therefore suitable placements cannot be guaranteed at any stage of the process.

If you have further questions regarding sponsorship, please email apply@researchersinschools.org

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Can I apply to teach a foreign language if I’m a native speaker but my PhD is in another subject?

To be considered for the programme, you must hold a PhD in the subject you wish to teach. Therefore candidates who only have knowledge of a language through being a native speaker wouldn’t meet this requirement and, instead, should apply to teach the subject of their PhD. Candidates who should be eligible to teach a foreign language would include those with a PhD in the language/literature of the language they wish to teach.

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I’m an EU National, what does this mean for my application?

The UK government has reached an agreement with the EU that will protect the rights of EU citizens and their family members living in the UK, after the UK leaves the EU.

EU citizens who are resident in the UK by exit day will be able to make an application via the EU Settlement Scheme if they wish to remain in the UK. This will allow them to continue living, working and studying in the UK as now – subject to identity, criminality and security checks.

Financial support

May 28 2019, The DfE  announced guarantees on student finance for EU nationals, including for those intending to study on Teacher Training courses. These guarantees are not altered if the UK leaves the EU without a deal. Trainees who are EU nationals, and who start a course in England in the 2020 to 2021 academic year or before, will continue to be eligible for ‘home fee’ status and student finance support from Student Finance England for the duration of their course, provided they meet the residency requirement.

They recognise how important it is that students have information on eligibility for student support before applications for courses open. Information on student funding and loans is available on the Funding my Training and Student finance webpages.

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Next steps


I'm eligible, how do I apply?

If you’ve checked the information above and are confident you meet the eligibility requirements, you can start your application by clicking below

Apply Now


I'm not sure I'm eligible, what should I do?

If you’re not sure if you are eligible for the programme based on the above, or if you have any other questions, please click below to get in contact with us

Contact us