Postgraduate funding options


There are a variety of options for finding postgraduate funding. Some of these depend on the course you study, or the institution where you're studying.

Universities often offer a range of bursaries, scholarships, stipends and awards, as do a range of charities and organisations. There is also a range of postgraduate funding options from the government.


Types of funding


Government backed loans

The UK government has announced it will launch a postgraduate loans scheme for loans up to £10,000.

The loans will be available from 2016-17, and aims to benefit 40,000 students.

At the moment, the loans are only offered to master's students under the age of 30.




Charities and foundations

Bursaries and scholarships are available from a range of charities, foundations, trusts, professional bodies and societies.

These funds are often awarded to students from a low socio-economic background, those who've achieved academic excellence or those whose studying will benefit a local community.

Learned societies sometimes offer funding for postgraduate or post-doctoral research. Examples include the British Academy and the Royal Academy of Engineering.



A studentship refers to a place in a postgraduate course (most commonly a PhD) that comes partially or fully funded.

There can be stipulations about how the money can be spent - i.e. all the funds to go towards tuition costs.

Studentships are highly competitive. The seven UK Research Councils award around 8,000 studentships each year to a range of institutions.


Bursaries and scholarships

A bursary is a monetary award given to students who meet a certain set of criteria. This can include household or family income, academic achievements, subjects studied or where a student lives.

The term 'bursary' is often used interchangeably with scholarship.

Depending on the institution, bursaries can be a one-off payment or given in instalments.

Subject-based awards

Certain awards are given to students studying a particular subject area. These include teaching, social work, and medicine and healthcare.

Institutions and training providers may also offer financial support to students studying specific areas.



Professional and career development loans

Many banks offer professional and career development loans from £300 to £10,000. The loans are to help pay for courses and training that help further your career, or get you into work.

The loans are usually offered at a reduced interest rate, with the government paying interest while you study.


Hardship funds

Funds are available to students who are experiencing financial difficulties, including coming from a low-income family, are a single parent or are encountering unexpected financial difficulties.