Sources of funding
UK Research Councils
The most substantial forms of external postgraduate research funding for UK/EU applicants are Doctoral Training Partnerships offered by UK Research Councils. These are:
- Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)
- Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)
- Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)
- Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)
- Medical Research Council (MRC)
- Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)
- Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)
Each year, these Research Councils invest around £2.8 billion in research and this includes a number of postgraduate studentships. The majority of awards are for postgraduate researchers, though there are some awards for taught postgraduates. Research Council awards are advertised directly by the University. International students should note that the UK Research Councils do not normally provide funding for students from outside the European Economic Area.
Loans, bursaries and discounts
You may also wish to consider the range of loans, bursaries, and other funding opportunities available to research students.
- Centenary Alumni Discount (20% discount on postgraduate course fees for alumni)
- Family Loyalty Discount (10% discount on postgraduate course fees for family of international students and alumni)
- Postgraduate loans (available for MA, MSc, LLM, MBA, MRes, MEM, and MPhil degrees)
- Doctoral loan (available for PhDs and other doctoral studies)
- Sir Thomas White Loan Charity
Grants and scholarships
- Schlumberger Foundation Faculty for the Future fellowships (available for women taking courses in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics)
- Saïd Foundation Scholarship Programme (available for Syrian, Lebanese, Jordanian or Palestinian MA or PhD students who are resident in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine or Israel)
- Cumberland Lodge Scholarships provide access to mentoring, networking and funded residential programmes for doctoral students.
Many of our postgraduates fund their studies through sponsorship by their employer. Employers are increasingly aware of the value that those with a postgraduate qualification can bring to their organisation, and the full range of benefits that can come from recruiting postgraduates has been highlighted in a number of recent reports. Employers may be particularly keen to sponsor programmes with a clear vocational relevance or where the programme can be taken part-time or by distance learning - allowing you to combine your studies with your career and apply your learning to your work.
Many of our international students also receive sponsorship - usually from their home governments or employers. Potential applicants from outside the European Union are encouraged to research sponsorship opportunities in their home countries that are available to fund postgraduate study in the UK.
Some studentships - such as those funded by the UK Research Councils - are open only to applicants from the United Kingdom or European Union.
Further funding opportunities
In addition to the organisations above, other bodies sometimes provide funding opportunities. These include:
- British Academy
- British Federation of Women Graduates
- Fulbright Commission
- Leverhulme Trade Charities Trust
There are various places to look for more sources of funding. The Directory of Social Change run an online directory including details of nearly 8,000 funders providing combined funding of over £8 billion a year.
You might also look in The Grants Register, an annual publication, containing details of over 4,000 awards from funders in 80 different countries. Reference copies of The Grants Register are available from most larger public libraries and British Council libraries.
Information about funding can also be found at FindAPhD, who run an annual scholarship competition, as well as on jobs.ac.uk, studentfunder, and Prospects.
If you're an international student, it may be worth contacting the British Council.
Alternatively, why not combine your postgraduate course with your career and earn while you learn? Many of our Research Degrees are available part time, subject to eligibility, and we have a number of distance learning degrees where you can study part time from where you live in the world.