Funding further study
Further study can offer the path to the future you want but one large obstacle may be standing in the way - money. It's often easier to secure a place on a course than it is to get funding.
Competition for funds can be fierce, but there are a number of options open to those looking to fund further study.
Funding available through your course provider
Begin by contacting the admissions office for the course you are interested in. Your chosen course may have a quantity of funded places available. Many of these will have been financed by Research Councils or other sources including industry and professional bodies. These organisations do not normally accept direct applications from students so it is likely that you will need to apply through the institution offering the course.
Questions you could ask the admissions office include:
- Is there funding available for the course?
- How and when should I apply for it?
- If funding is not available, how do current students fund themselves?
- How have previous students funded themselves?
- Can I study part-time?
- Are there any discounts? Newcastle University can get a 20% alumni tuition fee discount to carry out further study at Newcastle University.
The admissions office should also be able to tell you if there are any studentships available. Studentships vary between institutions and departments but they may offer a maintenance grant and/or payment of tuition fees. Studentships are usually offered for very specific research projects at both PhD and master's level. Studentships at Newcastle University are advertised on the university vacancies pages.
Ask the admissions office if there are research assistantships available within the department. This is a salaried position within the department, with the work being registered for a higher degree, or time allocated to pursue your studies. Conditions and salary vary, so find out exactly what your duties will involve.
Scholarships are not normally expected to be repaid, and can often fund both your study and some living expenses. Because of this they can be extremely competitive. Scholarship awards are based upon various criteria, which usually reflect the values and purposes of the donor or founder of the award, so you may need to study a specific subject, have certain personal characteristics (such as your nationality or gender) or study in a particular country or university.
Most scholarships have strict deadlines so carry out your research well in advance of starting your studies. Check the websites and with the admissions offices of universities you are interested in as they may have a scheme that is not listed here.
- FindAMasters - click the scholarships icon in the course descriptions to see available funding.
- FindAPhD - includes full PhD scholarships.
- Education UK - British Council search engine for scholarships and bursaries.
- jobs.ac.uk - details of PhD scholarships.
- Postgraduate Studentships - funding opportunities open to potential postgraduates, at both taught and research level.
- Postgraduate funding - small grants for postgraduate funding. Includes top-up grants, travel bursaries, exchange programme funding, living cost grants, fee waivers, Masters funding.
- Prospects link to further sources of funding and have a funding database.
- Scholarship-search.org.uk - search for undergraduate and postgraduate scholarships by subject or organisation.
Specific scholarships include:
- Aerospace MSc Bursary Scheme - Funding for tuition fees is available for up to 500 students to undertake MSc programmes at UK universities which are accredited by the Royal Aeronautical Society, or supported by the leading aerospace companies, starting in academic years 2014/15 and 2015/16.
- BAFTA Scholarships - scheme to financially support a selection of UK students in their study of film, television or games.
- Biometrika Trust Research Fellowships - offer two research fellowships for junior researchers in statistical theory and methodology. Aimed at outstanding PhD graduates.
- British Council – range of scholarships administered through the British council, with varying eligibility criteria.
FindAPhd and FindAMasters scholarships - students wishing to start their postgraduate studies in autumn 2015 at any university listed on FindAPhD.com or FindAMasters.com can register to be in with a chance of winning a £5,000 PhD scholarship or a £5,000 Masters scholarship.
- provides a range of grant schemes
to support the UK scientific community and collaboration between UK based and overseas scientists. Do not provide funding to Masters or PhD students, but offer fellowships to those who are at or above PhD level.
- BUNAC Educational Scholarship Trust (BEST) Scholarships -
financial assistance to eligible UK applicants who are looking to undertake postgraduate study in the USA or Canada. Strict criteria apply so check the site for more details.
- Canon Foundation in Europe - up to 15 Fellowships awarded to highly qualified European and Japanese researchers in all fields each year.
- Chevening UK government scholarships - UK government’s global scholarship programme, funded by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) and partner organisations. Awards outstanding scholars with leadership potential from around the world to study postgraduate courses at UK universities
- Commonwealth Scholarships - for UK students who want to study in Pakistan, South Africa and Singapore. Citizens of other Commonwealth countries should contact their national nominating agencies.
- DAAD (German Academic Exchange Programme) - scholarship information for academics and students at Irish and UK universities wishing to study/research in Germany.
- Erasmus Scholarships - any student of any nationality, studying at a higher education institution which is awarded the Erasmus Charter for Higher Education can apply. Apply to your Erasmus+ office to get information about the possibilities of studying or doing a traineeship abroad. Newcastle students can find out more here.
- Frank Knox Fellowships - Fellowships to Harvard University for British graduates.
- Fulbright Awards – for UK students interested in studying in the US.
Fulbright Scholarships for 2016-17– For UK Citizens to Study in the USA - has a deadline of 6th November 2015.
- Hong Kong PhD Fellowship Scheme - based in eight different Hong Kong institutions and aimed at new full time PhD students, irrespective of their country of origin, and ethnic background.
- Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) - opportunity for short-term visits for pre- and post-doctoral UK researchers and researchers from Europe and North America based in the UK to conduct cooperative research with leading research groups at Japanese Universities and Institutions.
- Kennedy Memorial Trust - used to fund a wide variety of programmes at MIT and across all the graduate schools within Harvard - from PhD to LLM, from MPH to MArch. It can also fund a Special Studentship for those wanting a general programme of non-degree study.
- UNESCO Fellowships Programme - global scheme designed to offer financial support for people who want to further their education overseas.
Other sources of funding
If there is no funding available through the institution consider finding your own funding. There are numerous bodies which will support further study, but some only provide small or partial grants. You should apply early, as the awarding committees may meet infrequently, and investigate them carefully as they can have narrow eligibility. You will
need to write a persuasive application letter and CV. You can get help with your application from the Careers Service. You can also attend our careers workshop
on How to Write Your CV, which runs throughout the year.
Some charities and grant making trusts may offer funding to support students undertaking postgraduate study. You can find further details in the following publications available in the Robinson Library:
The Association of Charitable Foundations (ACF) is the leading membership association for grant-making charities in the UK. They produce a downloadable leaflet Applying to a Charitable Trust or Foundation and have an extensive list of links to UK Trusts and Foundations.
See also FindAPhd - guide to Funding PhD Study Without a Scholarship - which has advice on applying to a charity or trust for funding.
Other possibilities include:
- industry/company sponsorship - talk to academics to identify companies with a potential interest in your research or knowledge. You may be asked to work voluntarily for the company that sponsors you.
- professional bodies - relevant organisations such as the Law Society, and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) may occasionally help students with their postgraduate course funding. Academics and Careers Service staff can help you identify organisations.
- Local Authority discretionary awards. These are rare and are usually only for vocational courses.
Some universities, including Newcastle, offer financial support to their students. This includes the Access to Learning Fund (UK students) and the Financial Assistance Fund (international and EU students) which are intended for emergencies and unplanned circumstances only.
Funding for teacher training, social work, medical and healthcare courses
You can apply for funding for:
Graduate-entry medical students can also get support from Student Finance
England for fees charged over £3,465.
If you are funding yourself, it will involve making a major financial investment. You might want to consider:
- part-time study and work - ask the admissions tutor if this is feasible for your course but be realistic about your study commitments
- a year out - this could be an opportunity to gain relevant experience and earn some money
- financial support from family members or through 'crowd funding' (Guardian article - 'How to find funding for your PhD').
- a bank loan - postgraduate/professional studies loans are available from specific banks and loan companies, however, each individual bank will have its own rules and regulations e.g. transferring your account to them
- Professional and Career Development Loans - a deferred repayment bank loan for learning that enhances your job skills or career prospects.
- Tax Credits - you may be entitled to Child Tax Credit or Working Tax Credit. The Student Wellbeing Service can give you guidance on your eligibility for this.
New UK Government Postgraduate Loans Scheme
A new system of postgraduate loans for Masters courses is being developed for students at English universities. They will be introduced from 2016.
First announced as part of the UK’s Chancellor’s 2014 Autumn Statement, these government-backed student loans will provide up to £10,000 a year for taught Masters courses in all subject areas. Details are yet to be confirmed but FindAMasters has the information that has been released so far.
Additional funding resources
For further information on funding study abroad see individual country information under Studying abroad on our Finding Courses page.