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How to Fund a PhD in the UK if You Can't Afford to Do it Yourself

How to Fund a PhD in the UK if You Can't Afford to Do it Yourself main image

First of all, congratulations! If you’re reading this, we’re assuming you’ve received an offer for a place on a PhD program in the UK. It’s not everyday you get to be rewarded for the ingenuity and feasibility of your research project, and finding a PhD supervisor to agree to mentor your project is definitely a step ahead in the right direction. If the elation you first felt when hearing the news has already given way to worry over money, hopefully we can help to ward off some of those concerns for you. If you can’t afford to pay for your fees out of your own pocket and haven’t received a university scholarship, here are some other ways to pay the fees.

Regularly search university job websites for available positions

Often universities will advertise research posts on specialist jobs websites like UniversityJobs.com or Jobs.ac.uk, so it’s a good idea to check these daily to find out about any part-time or full-time openings on campus that may contribute toward your fees, rent and living costs. Whether it’s a research post, or even just an admin job, being able to say you study and work “at the university”, especially if it’s in your research department, could open doors for you, in addition to being a convenient arrangement.

Explore your funding options both at home and abroad

You may be eligible for funding opportunities both at home and in the country of study, so if you’re coming to the UK from abroad then explore all of your options. If you’re from the US, for example, you could apply for a European Union residents could always try to apply for an ERASMUS or get funding for a joint degree through . Explore other funding opportunities . 

Shoot a promotional video and set up a campaign on Hubbub

If you’re thinking of going down the crowdfunding route, Hubbub.org is a good place to start. Set up an account either through your university if they subscribe to the site or individually. It’s much more geared toward education than other sites like Kickstarter so your campaign won’t get lost among a sea of artists and entrepreneurs. To promote your campaign, film a promotional video with your smartphone and offer symbolic gifts to donors, keeping them updated on your project. Share a link to your campaign on a dedicated Facebook and Twitter page, with your own hashtag, asking your friends and relatives to share on their accounts.

You could also try to contact your local newspaper, like , who raised over £2,000 for her MPhil in Development Studies after appearing on the Yorkshire Evening Post and BBC Radio Leeds’ Breakfast Show. Depending on the newspaper’s news agenda at the time, they might want to slot you in for an interview and get your crowdfunding campaign lots of extra clicks.

Latin words for charity awards

Did you know charities funded PhDs? Well, they do, and you might be able to get a charity or trust to contribute toward your living costs, fees, research expenses, conferences and/or travel. In the UK, there are thousands of organisations offering grants to projects they find interesting or even to students from certain demographics, such as the Vegetarian Charity, who give grants to vegan and vegetarian students, or the Leverhulme Trades Charities Trust, who help students whose parents are grocers, chemists, and commercial travellers.

Consider taking out a postgraduate loan

If you’re from the EU or the UK, you’re eligible to take out a of up to £25,000 from the UK government. Repayments are 6% of your annual income when it reaches £21,000.  You would get £8,300 a year on average if your PhD takes three years, less if it takes longer. Obviously, this won’t be enough to cover all your fees and living costs, so you’ll need to consider the full cost of study and where the rest of your money will be coming from.

Latin words for a QS scholarship

Top Universities offers a US$10,000 PhD scholarship to applicants who attended a QS World Grad School Tour event and completed a QS Graduate Applicant Survey by April 30 2018. To apply, you would also need to write a short essay about how the PhD will help your career ambitions. More information can be found on the QS events pages.

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Thiện Bình L, Dianne P & 39 others saved this
Written by Mathilde Frot
I'm originally French but I grew up in Casablanca, Kuala Lumpur and Geneva. When I'm not writing for QS, you'll usually find me sipping espresso(s) with a good paperback.

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2 Comments

Hi, this is Ahsaan from India completed my M.tech with 9.74 CGPA out of 10 from IIT (ISM) Dhanbad in Structural Engineering. While completed B.tech with 8.16 CGPA out of 10 from NIT Jamshedpur in Civil Engineering. I have good research priposal even Supervisor from University of Manchestor ready to supervising but due to high fees structure and leaving cost and not idea of much about funding I am not able to get enrolled myself in top university. So I need some help regarding funding for my own research idea to top university of Uk like Imperial College London, University of Cambridge, Oxford, Manchestor etc

Hi ehsaan how are you ?