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Funding for postgraduate study in the UK

  • Funding my further study - general information on funding postgraduate study on the Prospects website. Includes good overviews of the main options and of important factors for consideration.
  • Student Money - includes a funding database, budget planner, loan repayment calculator and a wage predictor, to help you assess the benefits of further study.
  • Postgraduate Studentships - dedicated website in the UK to bring together all the different types of funding opportunities open to potential postgraduates, at both taught and research level, all in one place.
  • Alternative Guide to Postgraduate Funding - for SOAS students only. Please note: subscription to this database will expire at the end of October 2015.
  • PhD Funding - a checklist of possible funding opportunities

UK Research Councils

There are seven 'Research Councils' which offer funding to postgraduate students, four of which are relevant to SOAS students specifically. They are government agencies, funding specific research areas, and at postgraduate level they offer competitive studentships, funding either one-year Master's-level study or three-year MPhils or PhDs. Individual institutions often advertise their research council funded studentships in the educational press – see below for details of these. You should also check individual university and college websites, and those of the specific departments that you are interested in, as they will advertise any research council awards currently available.

Scholarships and Bursaries

  • Individual institutions will have their own bursaries and studentships. For complete listings of all institutions, with links to their respective websites, go to the Prospects Postgraduate Database.
  • Times Higher Education Supplement - studentship and bursary advertisements placed by individual institutions, often including research council studentships available at particular institutions. The THES is available for reference in our Information Room. Published weekly.
  • Guardian Education – also provides listings of studentships at particular institutions.
  • Education UK - site dedicated to scholarships for UK study, brought to you by the British Council.
  • Scholarship Search - online database of scholarships available by subject and organisation.

Charities,Trusts and Other Funders

There are many more trusts and funding opportunities provided by specific foundations or organisations, to aid those with particular backgrounds or interests. For example the British Federation of Women Graduates supports women undertaking postgraduate research in the UK (not Northern Ireland) and Skill provides educational information, including funding information, for people with disabilities. The Wellcome Trust is a major funding organisation supporting medical-related fields.The resources below will help you to locate other possible opportunities.

  • Educational Grants Advisory Service  - an online database of trusts offering postgraduate funding to students, including loans, grants, benefits, access funds, hardship funds, bursaries and charitable trusts.
  • Educational Grants Directory and Grants Register - both of these resources are available in our Information Room. 
  • Hobsons Postgrad Guide - an online resource for all postgraduate courses and funding.
  • Prospects Funding Postgraduate Study - provides advice on getting funding.
  • Postgraduate Studentships
  • Association of Charitable Foundations (ACF) - a leading membership association for grant-making charities in the UK. They produce a downloadable leaflet Applying to a Charitable Trust or Foundation.
  • Career Development Loans - offered by three High Street banks in co-operation with the Department for Education and Skills. You can borrow up to £8,000, the interest on which is paid back by the Department for Education and Skills (DfES) while you are studying, and for one month after completion of your course.

Funding for International Students

For information on funding opportunities specifically for international students to study in the UK, please see the following:

  • UKCISA  - general finance for international students, as well as links to further resources.
  • British Council - searchable database of scholarships and links to further funding opportunities.
  • Education UK - British Council site, which includes a scholarship search function, a budget planner and information on costs of studying in the UK.

Self funding

  • Study part-time study, work part-time - ask the admissions tutor if this is feasible for your course but be realistic about your study commitments.
  • Take a Gap Year - this could be an opportunity to gain relevant experience and earn some money. We have several books on Gap Years in our Information Room.
  • Financial support from family members.
  • Bank loan - postgraduate/professional studies loans are available from specific banks however, each individual bank will have its own rules and regulations e.g transferring your account to them.
  • Career Development Loan (CDL) - a deferred repayment bank loan to help you pay for vocational learning or education.
  • Tax Credits - you may be entitled to Child Tax Credit or Working Tax Credit.