How to get PHD Funding?

For those students looking to pursue their PhD, there are huge costs involved. In a country like the United Kingdom, being a self-funded PhD student can be quite an expensive venture. One can expect to pay a yearly tuition bill ranging between £3,000 to £6,000 (about US$4,300-8,700) for domestic students. On the other hand, international students are expected to cough up about £18,000 ($26,000) for the first three years of a PhD programme.

It should be noted that the price to pursue a PhD programme in the US is higher than in the UK. The course fee ranges from anywhere between US$28,000 to US$40,000 annually. In Germany, the scene is quite different for PhD students. They usually do not pay any tuition fees at all, apart from a nominal semester contribution of about €150 (US$162) and €200 (US$217).

How to get PhD funding?

Here are some ways:

From National Research Councils

One way of getting funding is through national research councils. In the UK, seven research councils provide PhD funding, with each of them covering an academic discipline. In Europe, funding is provided by the European Research Council. The US and Canada also have their own national research councils that offer financial support to students either through scholarships, individually or for funded research projects. Wondering how to get PhD funding? Here’s one way.

From Universities

In most cases, a number of universities provide good scholarships, studentships as well as PhD funding opportunities. These grants or funding scholarships usually cover a significant portion of the tuition fees for the entire year, or maybe more. There are certain universities that offer scholarships to doctoral students, covering field trip costs and conference attendance.

For students who want PhD funding, another great way of obtaining it is through the PhD position, which is sometimes referred to as PhD studentships or assistantships. These are basically jobs linked to the PhD program. They could involve teaching, research or both. This is among the best ways for students to support their research while being involved in other, often team-based, research projects and working.

Charitable and Commercial Organisations

There are quite a few non-academic organisations that aid in funding PhD studies in collaboration with the university providing the course. CASE (Cooperative Awards in Science and Engineering) studentships provide funding for PhD programmes that span four years. They are part-funded by a non-academic ‘co-operating body’ like a UK industrial firm, charity, or public sector organisation. Students give at least three months of their time working in-situ at the co-operating body. The financial body in turn makes a financial contribution to the project and the student. There have been instances where students find working full-time work as a great learning experience. This apart, there are CASE-Plus studentships where students spend another year working full-time with the co-operating body after completing their PhD.