How to Find Funding for Postgraduate Study


Postgraduate courses are becoming an increasing popular route for those looking to broaden their horizons and become an academic expert in their respective field. Unbeknown to many individuals considering postgraduate study, there are many funding options available to support you during your studies.

Take a look at how you can pursue the next step of your development with our guide to funding for postgraduate courses…

Get ahead with a Research Council studentship

Studentships provide paid positions for postgraduate candidates enabling them to gain financial support for course fees and living expenses.

Studentships are funded by Research Councils UK (RCUK), a body that invests public money into the research of advanced knowledge and ideas. Their aim is to improve the UK economy, help society and in turn create a more sustainable world for further generations. RCUK fund postgraduate courses throughout the UK to help achieve these objectives, and via a thorough recruitment process offer assistance with fees via scholarships and bursaries.

The RCUK is made up of various councils, including the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) and the Medical Research Council (MRC). Candidates must apply for funding via the institution they wish to study with.

Sector-specific postgraduate funding

There are a number of sectors that provide their own funding, including the education, social work, medical and healthcare industries. Postgraduate courses within these particular sectors can gain financial support through various routes. For example, funding is provided for initial teacher training courses and social work postgraduate degrees.

Postgraduate candidates training for medicine, dentistry or healthcare are also eligible for the NHS bursary, which will help cover the cost of living and tuition.

Charity and society grants

Grants are awarded by many charities and trusts throughout the UK, especially for individuals from poorer backgrounds or of particular academic success. There are a number of publications that provide advice for obtaining financial support from trusts and charities, including the Educational Grants Directory, Charities Direct, Grants Register or Directory of Grant Making Trusts.

Society grants are also available for postgraduate study from the British Academy, Royal Academy of Engineering and the Royal Society, however, this support is industry-specific.

Obtaining funding through sponsorship

Limited funding is available through sponsorship either via your current employer, who may be looking to expand your skills in a course relevant to your position, or an independent business or individual. Many businesses or individuals sponsor students through their university or college, and actively donate awards that assist with further progression.

Professional and Career Development Loans

Professional and Career Development Loans are essentially bank loans that enable candidates to financial support themselves and settle postgraduate course fees. Through these loans, candidates are able to borrow up to £10,000 at a reduced interest rate and the government pays interest while you study. Applicants should apply three months before the start of their course, and qualification is at the bank’s discretion depending on your circumstances and repayment conditions.

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