PhD Grants and Funding

Undertaking a PhD is an expensive choice. To begin with there is the cost of the university fees, which can make quite a hole in even the deepest of pockets. Kings College London, for example, lists the fee for the first year of a PhD in law as £6,300 for UK/EU students and £15,850 for overseas students. In addition to the academic fees, there are the living expenses, travel and other incidental costs as well as the potential earnings that you forego by studying for your PhD. Part-time work may help, but another way to cope with the costs of the PhD is to apply for a funded studentship or a grant award.

As funded positions at specific universities, PhD studentships are a good option for those students flexible enough to follow the funding. However, even if you intend to attend a particular university it is still worth checking to see if they offer an appropriate studentship. Some studentships are attached to a department, but others – especially those in science disciplines – are often linked to a particular project. Again, the more flexible you can be, the easier it will be for you to find a studentship, many of which are offered on a ‘first come basis’, and are competitive. It is a good idea to research your options as early as possible so that you can submit an application in good time.

Apart from funding offered by the universities themselves, there are a number of independent bodies that offer grants for PhD students. The FindAPhD website offers a guide with links and would be a reasonable place to start. Other relevant bodies include the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). If you are an overseas student, you should contact your own Ministry of Education as well as the British Council. In future posts, I will consider some of the funding and grant options in more detail.