Skip to Content

How to Find Funding for a PhD


If you want to apply for postgraduate research but are unsure of how funding works as a research student, then you are in the right place.

Applying for research funding can be a competitive process and your success in securing funding will depend on your qualifications, experience, and research aspirations.


If you’re hoping to study a PhD, you will be expected to pay tuition fees, and research support fees which include materials, as well as cover your living expenses. Fees will vary depending on your fee status and whether your research is funded or self-funded.


You can only apply for funding once you have made an application or have an endorsement from the university.

Researching potential funding sources and preparing your application can be a lengthy process, so you should allow plenty of time. Many of our students start looking up to one year before their proposed start date.

Some funding sources will have closing dates early in the year and you should thoroughly read the project details to determine whether you meet the essential criteria.


Funded Projects

At Queen’s, we regularly advertise fully funded PhD projects on our website.

Before applying for a fully funded project, be prepared to spend some time researching your options and checking the details of any project you are interested in.

View all research opportunities

Doctoral Training Programme and Studentships

We currently have over 15 flagship doctoral training programmes, funded centres, and partnerships, which aim to seek out and nurture outstanding postgraduate research students, as well as provide world-class training within a thriving research culture across a number of disciplines.

Benefits of undertaking a doctoral programme through one of Queen's Doctoral Training Programmes typically include:

  • Competitive stipends and maintenance grants
  • Unique multi-disciplinary, fully funded opportunities
  • Access to world-leading experts 
  • Involvement of leading industry, business, government and charity partners in both training and research

Doctoral Training Programmes

University Scholarships and Funding

We proudly offer scholarships and funding opportunities for postgraduate research. As we mentioned previously, you will need to have applied to study with us before applying for funding.

If you are a student from outside the UK, you may be eligible for a scholarship or country-specific funding.

Research scholarships and funding

We also recommend checking the websites of individual schools and departments as they may have extra funding sources available for students.

Postgraduate Doctoral Loans

If you are a UK national, you may also be eligible for a postgraduate doctoral loan from the government.

Research Council PhD Studentships

In the UK, one of the main sources of funding is the UK Research Council. Explore the relevant research council in your field to see if they have any opportunities available:

Funding bodies support PhD students in different ways. Some will pay tuition fees only; some will include a stipend (maintenance/living costs) or travel expenses; while others will simply be a one-off award to ease the financial burden of further study.

Similarly, each funding body will have its own criteria for eligibility, including how long you have been a resident in the UK. At PhD level, funding will tend to be awarded on academic merit; however, there are some awards that consider financial background and other criteria such as gender (such as in the case of the British Federation of Women Graduates).

Employer Sponsorship

Employers are always keen to develop their employees through training. Employers in medical, legal, and technology-driven industries may be interested in sponsoring your PhD.

You will need to spend time putting together a proposal for your training to secure your funding, clearly indicating the benefit this training will bring to your future work.

Private Loan Providers

Specialist loans are available for postgraduate students from some financial institutions. You should make sure you are clear on the terms and conditions of the scheme.

Alternative External Funding

Funding may be available from external funding bodies such as trusts and charities, research foundations, government agencies, the private sector, or your home government. Your prospective supervisor and previous undergraduate/master's study advisors may have sources of knowledge in this area.

If you are currently studying at a university, your institution may have access to these funding resources, but these will only be accessible through your university’s IT network:

  • Vitae is an organisation that aims to help researchers with their professional development and can offer advice on finding sources of academic funding.
  • The Alternative Guide to Postgraduate Funding is a popular resource helping all postgraduates, regardless of subject or nationality, to find funding for PhD, Masters, and PGCE studies – register here.  

Still have
some questions?

If the above has not answered all your questions or worries, here are some of the most common questions we get asked about doing a PhD.

  • Can I self-fund a PhD?

    Some postgraduate students decide to self-fund their research studies, whether that’s through using their savings, working alongside study or receiving support from friends and family. If you are a self-funded student, you can apply with your own research proposal or for a pre-defined project on our website.

  • Can I work while studying for my PhD?

    A lot of students decide to take on part-time work while studying for a bit of extra cash, however, this can be challenging if you decide to study full-time.

    There are opportunities for you to find work within the university, but the hours of work are limited to an average of nine hours per week across the academic year.

    If you decide to take on a job outside of the university, we recommend that you apply this recommended time limit to ensure you have enough time to focus on your research. Your employer will also need to understand the need for flexibility and the demands that your studies will make on your time.

    If you are planning to work part-time while you study you need to ensure you are eligible to work in the UK, as well as check the conditions of any offer of study, loans, or scholarships you plan to take. You will also need to check the conditions of your visa if you are an international student, more information and advice on working in the UK can be found on the UKCISA website.

    Part-time Work at Queen’s