Competition for funding can be fierce, but there are a number of options open to those looking to fund further study. Begin by contacting the admissions office for the course you're 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 don't normally accept direct applications from students. It's likely 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 alumni can get a 20% alumni tuition fee discount to carry out further study at Newcastle University.
In addition to the resources on these pages, universities sometimes offer scholarships and bursaries for international students. Contact the department or institution you are applying to for more information. We offer several international scholarships each year.
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 here are advertised on the individual school or institute's pages.
Ask the admissions office if there are research assistantships available within the department. These are salaried positions 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.
Studentship information can be found at:
The following websites provide further information on funding, including funding offered by course providers:
- Prospects - funding database
- TARGETcourses - funding for postgraduate study
- gov.uk - funding postgraduate study
- MastersCompare - Masters courses with funding
- Turn2us - use the grants search facility to search for educational grants
For further information on funding study outside the UK, see individual country information under studying abroad on our Finding Courses page.
Scholarships are not normally expected to be repaid. They can often fund both your study and some living expenses. Because of this they are extremely competitive.
Scholarship awards are based upon various criteria, which usually reflect the values and purposes of the donor or founder of the award. For example, 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 websites and contact the admissions offices of universities you are interested in. They may have a scheme that is not listed here.
For international students, in addition to the resources listed here, the British Council lists scholarships schemes offered by the UK government and colleges and universities.
Scholarship websitesScholarship websites
The following websites provide information about scholarships:
- FindAMasters - click the scholarships icon in the course descriptions to see available funding. Offer an annual £5,000 Masters scholarship plus a number of smaller awards in any subject.
- FindAPhD - includes PhD scholarships
- Education UK - British Council search engine for scholarships and bursaries
- jobs.ac.uk - PhD scholarships
- Postgraduate Studentships - taught and research level postgraduate funding opportunities
- Postgraduate funding - small grants for postgraduate 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
- The Idealo Scholarship for Pioneers of Tomorrow - 10 scholarships with a total value of almost £80,000. Each recipient will receive £650 a month for a year to put towards their studies as well as coaching tailored to their subject
See also Student Wellbeing - Bursaries, Scholarships and Prizes - many of these have specific criteria and may be for undergraduate rather than postgraduate study - but are still worth investigating.
UK-specific scholarship websitesUK-specific scholarship websites
The following websites provide information about scholarships in the UK:
- BAFTA Scholarships - financial support for selected UK students to study film, television or games
- Biometrika Trust Research Fellowships - two research fellowships for junior researchers in statistical theory and methodology
- British Council – scholarships administered through the British Council, with varying eligibility criteria
- Royal Society - provides a range of grant schemes to support the UK scientific community and collaboration between UK based and overseas scientists
Overseas scholarship websitesOverseas scholarship websites
The following websites provide information about scholarships overseas:
- BUNAC Educational Scholarship Trust (BEST) Scholarships - financial assistance to eligible UK applicants looking to undertake postgraduate study in the USA or Canada
- 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
- Commonwealth Scholarships - for UK students who want to study in Pakistan, South Africa and Singapore via 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 studying at an institution awarded the Erasmus Charter for Higher Education can apply. Newcastle students can find out more on the Study Abroad and Exchanges website.
- Frank Knox Fellowships - fellowships to Harvard University for British graduates
- Fulbright Awards – for UK students interested in studying in the US
- Hong Kong PhD Fellowship Scheme - based in eight different Hong Kong institutions and aimed at new full time PhD students
- Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) - opportunity for pre and post-doctoral UK researchers to conduct cooperative research with leading research groups at Japanese Universities and Institutions
- Kennedy Memorial Trust - funds a wide variety of programmes at MIT and across all the graduate schools within Harvard
- UNESCO Fellowships Programme - global scheme designed to offer financial support for people who want to further their education overseas
If there is no funding available through the institution, consider finding your own funding through alternative sources. 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. 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 Philip Robinson Library:
See also FindAPhd - guide to Funding PhD Study Without a Scholarship - which has advice on applying to a charity or trust for funding.
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.
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
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.
For specific sectors, such as teacher training or social work there is some government funding that you can apply for. There is also a new UK Government Postgraduate Loans Scheme.
Funding for teacher training, social work, medical and healthcare courses
You can apply for funding for:
- Initial Teacher Training
- social work - through a social work bursary
- most medical or healthcare courses - through an NHS bursary
Graduate-entry medical students can also get support from Student Finance England for fees charged over £3,465.
UK Government Postgraduate Loans Scheme
A non-means-tested postgraduate loan scheme is available for all eligible Master’s level students, including taught and research Master's qualifications.
The loan, administered by Student Finance England, will be for a maximum of £10,280 for courses starting on or after 1 August 2017. It is repayable and interest will be charged. Full eligibility criteria and application details can be found at Gov.uk Postgraduate loans.
Information can also be found on Newcastle University's Postgraduate Master's Loan Scheme page
FindAMasters also has regularly updated information on the scheme.
Ask SFE about Postgraduate Loans is a Student Finance England video guide to the postgraduate loan presented in British Sign Language.
Tuition fee loans of up to £5,500 will be made available to Northern Irish students wishing to study taught postgraduate courses from 2017. Full details are yet to be confirmed but Prospects: Postgraduate loans in Northern Ireland has answers to most key questions.
Local Authority discretionary awards
Local Authority discretionary awards are rare and are usually only for vocational courses.
If you are funding yourself, it will involve making a major financial investment so there are a number of things 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.
This could be an opportunity to gain relevant experience and earn some money.
Support from family or 'crowd funding'
Financial support can come from from family members or through 'crowd funding' (Guardian article - 'How to find funding for your PhD').
Postgraduate/professional studies loans are available from specific banks and loan companies. Each individual bank will have its own rules and regulations, eg you may need to transfer your account to them.
Professional and career development loans
Professional and career development loans are deferred repayment bank loans for learning that enhances your job skills or career prospects.
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.