Sources of funding
Funding can be limited and competition is fierce so many students pay for themselves either by working while studying or taking out loans. There is no set minimum or maximum course fee that universities can charge and, as it can vary considerably, it’s important to check what you are getting for your money.
Government-backed postgraduate loans
Master’s - operated in a similar way to undergraduate loans. Worth up to £10,280, these are non-means-tested and cover tuition fees and living expenses. You can find out more and check eligibility at Student Finance - Postgraduate Funding.
PhDs – loans will be introduced from 2018/19. Worth up to £25,000, these will be non-means-tested, and will cover tuition fees, maintenance or any other study-related costs. They're aimed at students who have lived in England for the last three years for a reason other than study.
Scholarships and grants
- The university at which you will be studying may offer scholarships. Find out about scholarships offered by Brunel. To be entitled to any scholarship you will need to apply and be accepted on to the course.
- FindAMasters.com Postgraduate scholarships available for all subject areas at any university currently listed on their website. Offer an annual scholarship and a number of smaller awards in any subject.
- FindAMasters.com Funding for International Students in the UK
- Google Scholarship for students with a disability
- PostgraduateFunding.com Database of grants
- Postgraduate Studentships Searchable database of funding from charities, trusts, other general funding bodies, plus details of studentships and scholarships offered by University departments, for both taught and research study
- Scholarship Hub Search for UK scholarships, grants or bursaries
- Scholarship Search Search by level of study, award type, subject and organisation
- TARGETpostgrad Search for funding or scholarships - for UK, EU and international students - by level and subject of study; institution; funding source and country of origin from universities and other degree-awarding institutions; Research Councils, charities and trusts and independent research bodies
- Publications such as the Grants Register, Charities Digest, and Directory of Grant Making Trusts at your library.
- Snowdon Trust offer grants for students with a physical/sensory disability to help with additional disability-related costs that are not fully provided from statutory funding
Professional and Career Development Loans (PCDLs) are commercial loans offered by the Co-operative Bank. Worth between £300 and £10,000 and can be used towards tuition fees, study costs and living expenses.
This involves asking a large number of people to contribute to your postgraduate study costs by donating relatively small amounts of money. Popular crowdfunding websites include: Crowdfunder and GoFundMe.
Some employers will fund existing employees to undertake part-time postgraduate study and other employers, such as large firms of solicitors, fund relevant professional courses.
Knowledge Transfer Partnerships
An opportunity for graduates to work within a commercial environment (paid a salary at industrial rate) while studying for a higher degree and with support from academic experts. Find out more: Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP).
Funding a PhD
For an overview of methods to fund a PhD go to the Research degrees section of the Brunel website.
The seven Research Councils allocate Training Grants (TGs), commonly known as studentships, to universities and departments. Universities are responsible for allocating the grants and so PhD applicants should apply via their university for a Training Grant and not to a Research Council.
The seven grant-awarding Research Councils are:
In science, engineering and technology many postgraduate research projects are funded by Research Councils, industry or government. There are fewer sources of funding in arts and social sciences. Check with your project supervisor about funding before you commit yourself.
Find out more
- Find and compare PhD research projects and programmes, with doctoral opportunities and scholarships and advice on postgraduate research and funding.
Offer an annual scholarship and a number of smaller awards in any subject.