Research degrees - the Graduate School

Funding opportunities

Funding for postgraduate students comes from a range of key sources

Funding for postgraduate students usually comes from one or more of a range of key sources:

  • research councils
  • charities and trust funds, including those funded by the UK government
  • Higher Education institutions
  • overseas governments (international students only)
  • employers
  • professional and career development loans
  • self-funding (including family funds).

These funding sources will fund either taught or research postgraduate study, with the possible exception of professional and career development loans, which are intended to assist students with vocational or career related courses, and may therefore apply more readily to taught courses.

Examples of most of these types of funding are included on the postgraduate studentships website with the exception of funding you may be able to obtain from your employer and self-funding.

UK Research council and AHRC studentships

UK Research Councils do not make studentship awards directly to students, but allocate them to departments and supervisors who then advertise for candidates.

Funding for PhD studentships from UK Research Councils is available to UK citizens or those who have been ordinarily resident in the UK for a period of three years or more.

EU nationals may qualify for a fees only award.

Below are links to the student web sites of the UK Research Councils.

  • Research Councils UK (RCUK)
  • Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)
  • Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)
  • Medical Research Council (MRC)
  • Engineering and Physical Science Research Council (EPSRC)
  • Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)
  • Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)
  • The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)

UK research charities

Studentships from UK charities have varying eligibility criteria.

Awards are generally not made directly to students, but allocated to supervisors who then advertise for candidates.

Details of eligibility requirements for some of the major research charities are available through the links below:

  • Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC)
  • Leverhulme Trust
  • Wellcome Trust.

International students studying in the UK

For any overseas students, your first port of call should be grant-awarding bodies in your own country (eg The Ministry / Department of Education) and your local (or nearest) office of the British Council.

The British Council manage a small number of international studentship grants in some countries and should be able to tell you what other awards may be available to you - they also produce the Sources of funding for international students guide.


Occasionally, the University offers studentships to exceptional candidates in particular research areas. To find opportunities, please visit our jobs page.