Funding postgraduate study in the UK

Research Council funding

Grants are for research degree programmes and taught postgraduate courses and can be applied for through one of the Research Councils (RCUK) – only one body will be appropriate to your area of study. Obtaining these grants is highly competitive and they are not given to all students who apply for them.

Am I eligible?

Information of Research Council eligibility can be found at: Eligibility for Research Council funding

How to research into grants

Research into available grants by applying directly to your university department or by visiting the websites of the relevant Research Council body. A list of Research Councils can be found on the RCUK website.

How to apply

Research Council grants are mainly distributed to university departments, so students should apply directly to their department for this funding. The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) can sometimes be applied to directly.

When to apply

Departments will begin advertising their grants in the October/November before the start of the course in the following academic year. Lists of availability can be found on Prospects, but also check your department’s website.


A small handful of UK universities offer scholarships – you will need to research into if your chosen course or university offers this and apply as advised by that institution. Either conduct a search engine search or have a look on the institution’s website or in their promotional course material.

State funding

There is currently little state funding in England. The main groups funded are trainee teachers, social workers and NHS employees. Direct Gov has further information on funding postgraduate study for these areas plus information about charity funding, learned society funding and disabled students allowance.

Charity funding

Charities of varying size offer funding in the form of grants, studentships, bursaries, competitions, scholarships and prizes. These can be found on the Prospects website or in the publications listed below - particularly the Alternative Guide to Postgraduate Funding.

Employer funding

If the postgraduate course is related to your job, some employers will sponsor you or pay for you. It is important to make a strong case for how the qualification will benefit you and the company and present this to your line manager. Senior management and sometimes the personnel manager will have the final say on funding for your professional development.


The UK Government supports Postgraduate Doctoral Loans These can help with course fees and living costs while you study a postgraduate doctoral course, such as a PhD. Information is here.

Some students take out personal bank loans if they are unable to receive any further support.

Part time jobs

Many part time postgraduate students fund their studies through a part time job. See the LSEs information on job hunting and search for part time jobs and opportunities on LSE CareerHub.

International students

It is important to explore the funding options in your home country when you are considering postgraduate study. Contact your education ministry for information on funding.

Scholarships are sometimes available for international students. The university you are applying to should have a web page about what they offer, or be able to give you the information you need.

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