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Funding for a PhD (in UK)

  1. Jan 20, 2015 #1

    I have applied for a PhD in the United Kingdom ( I am not familiar with their system) and they said that they can offer me a place but they pay only my fees. So I understand I have to pay my food and housing without salary, which seems impossible to me...

    Do you know if there exists European or UK institutions that are willing to give money to PhD students?

    Thank you.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 20, 2015 #2
    Can you get a part time job and squeak by?
  4. Jan 20, 2015 #3
    I am sorry, I do not know what "squeak by" means. Perhaps I could get a part time job to get more money but a PhD is supposed to be a full time job and they have asked me to justify that I can have funding prior to the beginning of the program, so this cannot be a solution for now unfortunately. Don't you have the names of institutions for funding?
  5. Jan 20, 2015 #4


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    Usually PhD candidates do part time teaching of some kind. They usually get paid for this. This work usually looks very good on a resume.

    There are some scholarships available for grad work. You usually must apply to be considered. Check with the university what scholarships exist.

    The prof you hope to work for may have some money and may be willing to toss you the odd copper.
  6. Jan 20, 2015 #5
    Ok, I think it is a common feature to PhD in many countries. But do you know how much one gets from this teaching job in UK?

    Thank you, I will try that. But it is just a general program with many professors involved, so I do not hope to work for someone in particular so far.
  7. Jan 21, 2015 #6


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    Unfunded PhD positions are very rare in the UK(for science, it is common in social sciences). It does happen on rare occasions (I've come across it once) but my impression is this would normally only happens if the student has some other -separate- source of funding. A typical case would be a foreign student who had managed to get a scholarship from his/her country.
    Teaching would normally be "integrated" with your PhD and should under normal circumstances not take up much of your time (a 3 year PhD is short enough); i.e. you might asked be a teachers assistant for a course given by your department and doing so could be prerequisite for getting paid. However, far from all PhD students have to teach, and in some cases teaching (or marking papers) will actually give you some extra money on top of your regular funding .

    Hence, I would be extremely cautious about accepting a position without funding. You will not be able to support yourself by working AND do a PhD.

    Also, PhD students are -from a financial point of view- very cheap labour, in most experimental projects the cost of the student is not going to be that high compared to the cost of actually running the experiment (although this can get complicated because of various budgeting rules). Hence, the fact that they can't afford to pay you could potentially indicate that they don't actually have enough money, in which case this could also affect your chances of successfully completing your project.

    Are you applying to a doctoral training centre? Or are you in direct contact with a potential supervisor?
  8. Jan 21, 2015 #7
    Hello f95toli and thank you for your answer.

    Yes, it is a doctoral training centre, something that lasts 4 years instead of 3. But it does not seem to be a problem, they do not look like so poor. Perhaps they have first selected citizens from UK and then considered my application only when they had no more budget for student stipend...
  9. Jan 22, 2015 #8
    I have a related question for f59toli or anyone else who is familiar with graduate education in the UK. I have heard that most science PhD students in the UK are funded. Is this true for international students as well, or only for UK and EU students?

    For example, Cambridge offers automatic funding only for UK students. Some departments there say they have money for PhD students, and it appears there are a few scholarships, but the largest one has only 80 places for the entire university. I admit that I do not know much, but from what I have read from websites it seems that either 1) very few grad students in the UK are international, 2) they are self funded, or 3) the money comes out of thin air.

    Most American graduate schools (in science) explicitly say that admission means full funding (international or not).
  10. Jan 22, 2015 #9
    Anyone who has information about the initial question (organisations willing to provide money for PhD students) is welcome.
  11. Jan 24, 2015 #10
    As an incoming UK PhD, I understand that the situation usually is that research councils will only award maintenance payments (i.e. your salary) to students who have been in the UK for 3 years (excluding time spent in education).

    Some universities have a scheme that will award funding to some international PhD students who do not have other funding, you should look through the university website and look if there is one you can apply for.
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