What is PhD Funding

Many PhD students dream about funding grant to do doctoral research studies efficiently. PhD funding can be defined as a financial assistance offered by any university to a doctoral students who wish to pursue their research. The amount is funded according to the years of research and its needs. The below are some points to understand what exactly a PhD funding looks like:

There are so many PhD research funding opportunities if you look at how you can cover the cost of your doctorate? The journey for you becoming a doctor of philosophy might seem to be long and expensive but it only needs proper planning.

One of the ways you can take your subject to a new level is through postgraduate study.

This can provide you skills and knowledge for your chosen career. However, there is a major obstacle that will tend to stand on your way- money.

There are no central loans in many countries that will specifically for research purposes. You are not guaranteed to be awarded a studentship when you think of advancing your academics. Your funding also depends on how you display an effective research proposal.

The available sources of funding are scarce and are available for only the brightest and the minority group. These loans are more expensive as compared to the undergraduate loans.

However, the good news is that for many countries, the tuition fees for the postgraduate studies is lower as compared to that of the undergraduate.

For developed countries or those that have a developmental formula, there is no option but to find out ways to support the available research.

Ph.D. is available and can be found from a range of resources, however, you have to know where to find them. The funding for the doctoral research is provided by research councils, universities, charities, and industry.

There are studentships funding provided by big charitable organizations.

The problem is the fierce competition about Ph.D. research funding opportunities that exist given there are many students who want to showcase their ability. These studentships are available at the university websites.

Watch this video for some useful websites for PhD funding

How Ph.D. funding work

You may have a desire to seek for Ph.D. funding but do you know how it works? To understand this, we first have to take you through different funding scenarios. The Ph.D. study can be funded in a number of different ways. The following are some of the funding scenarios that universities, industry or charitable organization provide.

Full PhD funding

This is the kind of funding you can be luckily received. In this kind of aid, your tuition fee is fully paid, and some remuneration also was given to you for your upkeep. There are however a number of responsibilities that are attached to this kind of support.

They include having a number of semesters as a teaching assistant, an instructor or even as a research assistant. This funding can be awarded for about four to six years. The out of stipend you are awarded varies from an institution to the other and there are organization or groups which will research to find out how much you should receive.

The assessment on the amount of support is done from several schools and their conclusion will determine how you should be supported for your survival. You will be at the higher opportunity to receive higher earnings if you study from a highly prestigious institution or if your research is within the STEM department.

Competitive PhD funding

Sometimes the resources may not be enough to fund you the entire study. In some case, the source of funding might decide to support you for the first year or two years after which they will allow you to support yourself or they make the funding competitive.

In this kind of funding, you are required to compete with other beneficiaries more so on the matter of stipends. If you fail to qualify for these enumerations and you remain in a position that you can’t support yourself for the remaining part of the study, you then are requested to a terminal Master degree.

This means that you write a thesis which will then award a master after which you leave the program instead of completing your doctorate.

Top points to know about PhD grants

  1. PhD funding is a type of scholarship during or after PhD
  2. Universities or agencies that are outside offer PhD funding.
  3. PhD funding is given to meet the expenses of research.
  4. Funding is given as per the rules of university and government.
  5. Full funding is one type of scholarship.
  6. Competitive funding is another one to have.
  7. Guaranteed funding is also available.
  8. PhD funding is based on Rank.
  9. PhD funding is given only to a meritorious

Guaranteed PhD funding

The funding can be assured for a given period of time. This funding can take one year, two or even three years. After you clear up with the stipulated duration for the funding, they have to opt for finding a way to support yourself.


Here you are unlucky to miss funding. You are not promised by any source to fund you. In this situation, the institution requires you pay your tuition fees before you can join.

When you think of Ph.D. programs, there are two major hemispheres to put yourself in. you need to always know that there those funded and those not.

But what can you learn from a department from just the type of Ph.D. program they provide? Well, there is important information you have to equip yourself with.

A department that provides fully funded programs are supportive, will collaborate easily and always social to their students. There is an interconnected environment with the students created within such department.

The level of completion for the job market for students in this department is minimal.

For a department where funding is not provided for all students, there are two major problems that arise. This department will pay more attention to students they have invested in, that is the one who has received full funding, at the expense of the others.

The department will invest all its resources in these students and strongly believe in their success. This will result in a conflict between those not funded and those fully funded.

For those students competing for funding find it challenging to create a collegial and friendly atmosphere.

The level of unease is high since there will be a fight amongst the students for the limited resources. There is also poor social status to some students which alienates them from their colleagues.

Sometimes the department you are enrolled may have some doubts about your possibility of you succeeding as a candidate. You can learn this through funding. If the department has full confidence in you, they will provide full funding.

The candidates fully funded by the department are considered as more promising, and more resources will be pumped in them. Being a non-fully funded student doesn’t mean you may fail.

However, it is an indication that you be cautious as for some reasons, you as disadvantageous. It always recommended that if you are not fully funded, not to enroll in the program, rather reapply the next year.

There are several sources of funding available from a number of countries each with stipulated requirements, guidelines and the principles that govern them. This guide has analyzed some of them as follows.

UK research studentships

There are Ph.D. studentships offered by the UK research councils in a range of subject areas. The awards are available at the UK and the major beneficiaries are the best students who apply annually. These studentships are normally open for the UK and EU citizens. However, international students have an opportunity to apply and qualify for the studentship though the number is limited with open eligibility. With this funding, your tuition fees will be covered and also be provided with some stipend for your survival costs depending on if you are eligible.

UK PhD loans

Two countries of United Kingdom, England, and Wales introduced doctoral student loans which amount up to £25,000 for the 2018-2019 academic year. This gives an opportunity for students from any part of UK to apply for a loan and study for their Ph.D.

The students should be ordinary residents of England and Wales. If you are EU student residing from England or Wales, you also qualify for this loan.

University PhD Scholarships

University scholarships is another way you can enjoy your funding for the Ph.D. programme. The university that you apply to study from can provide you with all necessities that you require to complete the studies. The scholarships are of the following forms.

Merit-based PhD scholarships

These scholarships are also called academic scholarships.  In this type of scholarships, the university has an intention to recruit then postgraduate best researchers. One of the ways the university will employ to achieve this is by providing motivations, which in this case is payment of your Ph.D. fees and to further give you a stipend.

Need-based PhD scholarships

Some students have abilities to pursue their Ph.D. programs but come from backgrounds with low financial history. Since the university needs to be assured that their education and training is available to suitable students regardless of the background, they set aside fee waiver and bursaries for those less unfortunate students.

International scholarships

There might be students from different countries who have the ability to boost the research of a given institution. In such case, to attract them, the institution sets aside resources to fund such students.

It is always a good idea that after you find the Ph.D. program you desire to study from a given institution to go extra step to get in touch with them.

This will help to find out there exists any kind of funding or scholarships to enjoy from. Let you enquire appear genuine. If you are a student who is willing to demonstrate a real interest in your Ph.D. project or program, the university will likely go to respond to you.

Charities and trusts

Apart from government and institutions, there are also a number of independent organizations who support postgraduate research. Some of these large charities have in their budget set apart resources mainly for scholarships and grants.

There are some foundations which appear small but are capable of funding students to carry out their research. Some of these charities will support you carry out research which is in alignment with their set social and cultural objectives.

There are some whose main focus is to widen access to education mostly for people from specific backgrounds.

PhD Funding to study abroad

How would you feel when given an opportunity to study from another country? I believe this would be the best moment to learn new skills. Studying Ph.D. from another country will enable you to access special resources during your doctorate.

As an international student in a country such as the UK, you may not easily enjoy the same funding as the native students. The only advantage is that when you are an international student, you will enjoy extra support from the institution.

When you study in the UK as an international student, you should be aware that you are not eligible for Research Council studentships or Ph.D. loans. However you there is separate funding available for you.

The country also runs a number of international funding schemes such as prestigious Commonwealth Scholarships programs.

For European students in the UK, they only qualify for fees only research council studentship. However, they are required to find means to support themselves for other expenses.

There are grants provided the EU with the intention to promote the exchange of students and academic staff within Europe.

Ph.D. funding in Commonwealth countries

The Commonwealth countries are the countries who were ruled by Britain. These countries are mainly English speaking. The following are a number of scholarships available for these countries.

Commonwealth scholarship plan

These scholarships are fully funded for students’ citizen of a commonwealth country to study in another commonwealth country. Their grants usually take one to three years and covers, traveling cost, tuition fee and that to sustain you.

You may be lucky to receive some allowances sometimes which will enable you to buy books and other necessities.

Some of the countries that enjoy commonwealth scholarships are; Canada and USA. You can apply for Fulbright grants to study or even teach in the United States. The procedures for application vary from country to the other.

China scholarship council funds PhD

The Chinese university students have an opportunity to study for their Ph.D. overseas in the field of sciences and technology under their funding of the China scholarship council.

These scholarships cover the traveling costs and living allowances for a period of up to four years. For you to qualify for the funding, you need to complete the standard Cardiff University Ph.D. application form.

This form is used to assess you if you are eligible. After application, you need to add the following requirements.

  1. You need to attach your academic CV.
  2. Your personal statement on the application form should provide clear information pertaining to your research interest, the preparations undertaken, and also to state your understanding of the significance of the research.

Other forms of PhD funding are as follows

  • Columbia University funding. If you happen to be a Ph.D. student at Columbia University, then you are assured of funding. The programs in this university mainly in medicine and sciences. The other disciplines involved in public administration and policy.
  • Boston College funding. The department of psychology of this college offers four to five years fully funded scholarship for the research-oriented doctoral program. This scholarship is a full-time program.
  • Duke University. Do you wish to pursue a Ph.D. program in military history? This university will provide you with a multi-year funding package from the graduate school, which will include tuition fees, stipend and also offered a teaching assistant.

The other ways you can fund your Ph.D. is as follows

  • Working during a Ph.D. You may opt for self-funding in case you don’t find sponsors. This can be achieved by working alongside your degree. Sometimes you need extra cash to sustain you. This is one of the ways you can employ.
  • DSA for Ph.D. students. There is room to get more support in case you are disabled, have a chronic disease or you have a learning difficulty. This, however, needs to be approved by medics and also explained to the funders.
  • Ph.D. funding blogs. You can regularly be visiting funding blogs to find out if there is a new funding forum. There are also scholarship competition awards available on such blogs.

Mistakes you should avoid when applying for Ph.D. funding

The funding and scholarships can be available but you can miss them just because you made some minor mistakes and you miss.

When applying, there is a lot you can get correct but at the same time you may end up getting it wrong. The following are some of the mistakes you need to take note of while applying for the scholarships.

This is one of the scholarship mistakes that will really cost you. Sometimes you may apply for a multiple of scholarships. In such cases, you may be tempted to use the same essay for all of them.

This means that you will answer some of the questions with the wrong answer that will disqualify from the scholarship. You need to spend some quality time to create a new piece of the answer to the asked essay for each and every application.

As for the interview, when applying for funding for the Ph.D., you should ensure you are time conscious not delaying even a second. If you fail to beat the deadline you minimize your chances of winning the scholarship.

When dealing with the application at the same time, would prove challenging to meet the deadline for all of them. The best approach, in this case, is to prioritize, first handling the most important ones then clear the others.

Are you hurriedly working on your applications? You have to accept that fact that in the end, you produce a lot of mistakes. These mistakes should be eliminated before submitting the applications.

You need to proofread your work before you present it to the recruitment team.

The mistakes within your texts, which include grammar, spelling mistakes and even mismatched font sizes will create the wrong impression of the funders.

One the ways to correct your work is by inviting a reliable friend to go through your work. There is a high possibility that you may fail to realize mistakes in your own work.

You may have corrected all the mistake that exists within your work.

However, there is another challenge you need to address. This is the total number of application that every committee has to receive.

Always make sure your application snatches reader’s attention. Let the statement you start with be compelling and you work to remain lively. Your paragraphs should be short enough and include relevant details quotes and examples.

Applying for a scholarship you are not eligible for

The number of scholarships available globally is so many. Remember each has its own rules and guiding principles. You may tire from seeking the right sounding that suits you, and be tempted to apply any of the available ones. You will end up wasting your time answering essays for the scholarships you don’t qualify thus being rejected. You have to use scholarship listings if you don’t know to come up with the right one for you.

Some learners will just watch at scholarships and avoid applying just because of the rumors they have heard about them. Some of the reasons one will give include; not qualifying for the scholarships, long time application. However, you need to realize that there are others who think the way you do, thus leaving the scholarship unapplied.

When applying for Ph.D. programs, it’s always important to go for those fully funded. This way, you will have a good time with your departmental staff experiencing minimal stress.

You need to survey the percentage of a number of students being funded and find out if you can fit into the system. It is also poor to enter into debt while still at the study.

This will frustrate you psychologically which might cause you to terminate your program. You need to be determined to pursue your academic advancements in the doctoral research as this set you at a bright future.