The majority of students undertaking postgraduate study fund themselves. As well as tuition fees you will also have to consider living costs. If you intend to do postgraduate study you need to think very carefully about what you hope to gain from your studies and how you intend to pay off any loan undertaken. Because of funding problems, increasing numbers of courses are being offered on a part-time or distance learning basis. This enables students to fund their studies while working.
Funding from research councils
Getting funding for postgraduate study is not easy. The situation varies depending on a range of factors including the nature of the study / course and the institution where you intend to study.
Most funding for academic courses stems from the six Research Councils and the Arts and Humanities Research Board.
- Research Councils UK
- Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)
- Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)
- Economics and Social Science Research Council( ESRC)
- Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)
- Medical Research Council (MRC)
- Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)
- Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)
Applying for funding
It is best to check directly with the various funding bodies regarding types of awards on offer, eligibility criteria and application procedures. For most funding awards you apply direct to the relevant university department and not to the funding body. The department will then nominate suitable candidates for awards. Closing dates vary and it is important you allow sufficient time to ensure departmental and research council deadlines are met.
Funding for vocational courses
Whatever type of study you are considering, it is advisable to consult the department running the course about funding. They will know if the course attracts funding from research councils or other government agencies and will have information about other possible sources of funding.
Portfolio and alternative funding
Many students use a range of funding sources to finance their way through postgraduate study. The following are sources you may wish to consider:
- Student Money
A database of funding opportunities from the academic, charity and commercial sectors. Also relevant for undergraduate study.
- Gov.uk: Funding for postgraduate study advice - awards, scholarships and loans.
The Association of Commonwealth Universities advertise both scholarships and courses for universities in the UK and overseas, particularly in Australia, New Zealand and Canada.
- Institutional funding and employment
Information from the Prospects website.
- Career Development Loans
Main source of loans for vocational courses.
- Employer sponsorship
Information from the Prospects website. This type of funding is more likely for people in employment.
Whatever type of study you are considering it is advisable to consult the department running the course about funding. They will know if the course attracts funding from research councils or other government agencies and also have information about other possible sources of funding.