If we could offer one piece of advice to prospective PhD students, it would be to start searching for funding as early as possible, preferably a year in advance. Grant-based and scholarship opportunities are highly competitive with many more applicants than funding opportunities and so we would strongly encourage you to consider a ‘plan b’ in case your application is unsuccessful. It is important to ensure that you have a realistic plan in place to cover both your tuition fees and your living costs before you commence your studies. Sometimes PhD students find that their funding runs out prior to the completion of their doctorate. It is, therefore, important to get a realistic picture of how long you are likely to take to complete your PhD and to plan accordingly. If you have any concerns about financing your studies, please contact our service as early as possible. Likewise, if you are a current PhD student and have any concerns about your financial situation.
The University offers a range of scholarship opportunities for students wishing to take a PhD. The University’s scholarship and student funding pages also contain a wealth of information on scholarship opportunities from a broad range of external bodies including the Carnegie Trust. We would definitely recommend that you take a look. We would also suggest that you speak with your personal tutor, supervisor or academic mentor about funding options, as they may be aware of other grant-giving bodies and educational trusts that are very specific to your discipline.
Check the eligibility criteria and application process for a studentship from one of the government’s research councils. These studentships can cover cost of your fees, as well as providing a stipend of up to £15,009 per year towards your living costs and additional support to assist with research/fieldwork costs and travel costs. We strongly recommend that you speak with your personal tutor, supervisor or an academic mentor before you submit an application.
Student Finance England and Student Finance Wales have recently started to provide new PhD students with financial support in the form of a doctoral loan. These loans provide eligible students with up to £25,000 (for eligible students from Wales) or £25,700 (for eligible students from England) in financial support over the duration of their doctorate. The amount provided each year is, however, calculated by dividing the sum requested by the number of years officially required to complete your chosen course. This loan is paid directly to you and can be used to assist with your living costs or with your tuition fees. It is important to take account of the university’s fee payment arrangements when deciding how to utilise this loan. Further information on the relevant eligibility criteria, repayment terms and application process for these loans can be found here and here. Student Finance Northern Ireland (SFNI) and Student Award Agency Scotland (SAAS) do not currently offer doctoral loans.