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Scholarships for PhD Studies in the United Kingdom

We've compiled scholarships you can apply for if you'd like to get a PhD in the United Kingdom as an international student.

Aug 8, 2023
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United Kingdom

Scholarships are a great way to make your studies more affordable, enabling you to concentrate on your academic program without the added stress of tuition and living expenses.

Here's a list of scholarships you can apply for if you'd like to get a PhD in the UK as an international student:

University scholarships

Cambridge Trust Scholarships

  • Duration: Available for doctoral-level study.
  • Scholarship Award: Covers full or partial tuition fees and may include a living allowance.
  • Scholarship Requirements: Highly competitive, awarded based on academic merit and potential. Applicants must demonstrate outstanding achievements and strong academic background.
  • Courses or Subjects: Open to a wide range of courses and subjects at the University of Cambridge, for students from all disciplines.

UCL’s Research Excellence Scholarship

  • University: University College London (UCL)
  • Duration: Normal length of study, typically 3 to 4 years for a full-time MPhil/PhD/EngD program.
  • Scholarship Award: Covers full fees, a maintenance stipend that increases with inflation, and research costs up to £1,200 per year. The stipend rate for full-time study is typically £20,622.
  • Scholarship Requirements: To apply, you must meet certain eligibility criteria related to your admission status and academic qualifications.
  • Courses or Subjects: Available for full-time or part-time MPhil/PhD and EngD programs.

LSE PhD Studentships

  • University: London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)
  • Duration: Offered annually to new PhD students.
  • Scholarship Award: Covers full fees and an annual stipend of £19,668.
  • Scholarship Requirements: Open to outstanding students of all nationalities studying any research areas at LSE.
  • Courses or Subjects: Available for research in any field at LSE.

Edinburgh Doctoral College Scholarships

  • University: University of Edinburgh
  • Duration: Available for students starting PhD research in the 2023-2024 academic session.
  • Scholarship Award: Covers tuition fees and a stipend of £17,668 per year, typically awarded for three to four years.
  • Scholarship Requirements: Several eligibility criteria, including academic merit, research potential, and admission application status.
  • Courses or Subjects: Open to all disciplines and subjects at the University of Edinburgh.

4Ward North PhD Program for Health Professionals

  • University: The 4Ward North PhD Academy for Health Professionals collaborates between the Universities of Manchester, Leeds, Newcastle, and Sheffield.
  • Duration: The program will be available over five years.
  • Scholarship Award: 25 funded PhDs with a total value of £7.5 million.
  • Scholarship Requirements: Open to actively practicing healthcare professionals from all clinical fields in the UK. Applicants must have completed their undergraduate degree and be registered with the relevant professional body, including fields like nursing, midwifery, pharmacy, veterinary medicine, dental, and medical specialties. Research projects must align with the Wellcome research remit.
  • Courses or Subjects: The program supports research in healthcare and biomedical fields, encouraging applications across different clinical areas.

Scholarships funded by governmental bodies and external organizations

NERC (Natural Environment Research Council) PhD Funding

  • Duration: Typically 3.5 years, with possible extensions.
  • Scholarship Award: Covers tuition fees, living stipend, and a Research Training Support Grant (RTSG).
  • Scholarship Requirements: Aimed at UK academics, particularly mid-career scholars.
  • Courses or Subjects: Funds PhDs in Environmental Science subjects.

Commonwealth PhD Scholarships

  • Scholarship Award: Covers full fees and provides a stipend.
  • Scholarship Requirements: Targeting high-quality graduates; specific eligibility requirements apply.
  • Courses or Subjects: Wide range of subjects and disciplines.

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Scholarships

  • Scholarship Requirements: Open to any prospective doctoral student.
  • Scholarship Award: Includes a minimum stipend of £18,622 and support for tuition fees.
  • Courses or Subjects: Various subjects and academic areas.

ESRC Doctoral Training

  • Scholarship Requirements: Open to eligible UK research organizations.
  • Scholarship Award: Minimum stipend of £18,622 and support for tuition fees.
  • Courses or Subjects: Various social science disciplines.

BBSRC EASTBIO Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP) Studentship

  • University: Collaboration between universities in the East of Scotland.
  • Scholarship Award: Competitive stipend, £5000 for research training costs, and covered tuition fees.
  • Scholarship Requirements: Open to Home candidates meeting specific requirements.
  • Courses or Subjects: Training in biosciences, physical sciences, mathematics, and related disciplines."

Major-specific scholarship

Rosetrees PhD Plus

The Rosetrees Trust offers funding for medical and health-related research projects, including scholarships for PhD students in fields such as medicine, biomedical sciences, and public health.

  • Period: PhD Plus awards are designed to extend a standard 3-year PhD program into a 4-year studentship.
  • Scholarship Award: up to $2,000 per month for stipend and up to $800 per month for consumables.
  • Scholarship Requirements: 5. Applicants must be either Rosetrees-funded PhD students, clinical fellows, or work in a Rosetrees-funded laboratory (supervisor or co-supervisor holds an active Rosetrees grant).
    1. Applicants must be 3-year PhD students who are entering their 3rd year. Students who have already submitted their PhD thesis are not eligible to apply.
    2. Applications from clinical and surgical fellows to convert an MD/MS into a PhD will be considered.

Royal Society-EPSRC Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowships for Scientists in the UK

The Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowship for Scientists covers all areas of Life and Physical Sciences, including Engineering but excludes Clinical Medicine.

  • Period: The scheme offers funding for 5 years.
  • Scholarship Award: The Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowships cover the applicant's salary costs up to a maximum of $52,519.52, estate costs, and indirect costs for 5 years. Research expenses are also provided, with up to $17,333 for the first year and up to $14,667 annually thereafter.
  • Scholarship Requirements: 8. Be at an early stage of their research career (have completed their PhD but have no more than 6 years of research experience post PhD by the closing date of the round).
    1. Not hold a permanent post in a university or not-for-profit organization in the European Economic Area (EEA) or in Switzerland.
    2. Be a citizen of the EEA or a Swiss citizen (or have a relevant connection to the EEA or Switzerland).

EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Future Infrastructure and Built Environment: Resilience in a Changing World (FIBE2)

FIBE2 offers funded studentships to exceptional UK applicants who are eligible for Engineering and Physical Sciences Council (EPSRC) studentship awards.

  • University: The funding is available for students pursuing their studies at UK universities.
  • Period: The funding is typically for four years but is contingent on successful completion of the PhD continuation assessment, and fulfillment of first-year PhD registration requirements.
  • Scholarship Award: The EPSRC FIBE2 studentships cover UK University fees and an annual student maintenance stipend (set in accordance with the national minimum stipends). Additional funds are provided for approved PhD project-specific travel costs.
  • Scholarship Requirements:
    • Must be UK nationals (meeting residency requirements), have settled status, have pre-settled status (meeting residency requirements), or have indefinite leave to remain or enter.
    • EU and International Students are eligible for Research Council-funded postgraduate studentships starting from the 2021/22 academic year.
    • EU, EEA, and Swiss nationals with Citizens' Rights, as well as Irish nationals in the UK and Ireland under the Common Travel Area arrangement, will be treated as Home students for Research Council funding.

Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP)

The Medical Research Council (MRC) funds DTPs, providing support for doctoral research in medical and health-related sciences.

  • University: Various, including Cardiff University, Imperial College London, Institute of Cancer Research, King's College London, and more.
  • Scholarship Award: The MRC DTPs fund doctoral training, covering UK University fees and an annual student maintenance stipend (equivalent to a four-year studentship based on UKRI minimum stipend and support levels). The studentships also include a budget for approved PhD project-specific travel costs.
  • Scholarship Requirements: DTPs are available to UK students and international students (EU and non-EU) eligible for Research Council-funded postgraduate studentships.

LAHP Studentship

The London Arts and Humanities Partnership (LAHP) Studentships funds PhD studentships in subjects across the Arts & Humanities.

  • University: Partner institutions include King's College London, London School of Economics and Political Science, Queen Mary University of London, and others.
  • Scholarship Award: LAHP funds fees and stipends for 'Home' students ($6,128 fees and $26,224 stipend as of 2022/23. 2023/24 rate to be confirmed in April 2023). LAHP can award up to 30% of its studentships (including stipend) to 'International' (including EU) students.
  • Scholarship Requirements: The LAHP welcomes applications from both 'home' and 'international' (including EU) applicants. Applicants are welcome from all subject areas and approaches in the arts & humanities, including interdisciplinary and practice-based research. Both full-time and part-time applicants are eligible.

Privately funded scholarships

Gates Cambridge Scholarship - Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

  • University: Cambridge University
  • Period: Up to 4 years for PhD scholars.
  • Scholarship Award: For a single student ($26,667 for 12 months) for up to 4 years for PhD scholars.
  • Scholarship Requirement: Citizens of any country outside the United Kingdom can apply. Applicants must demonstrate outstanding intellectual ability, reasons for the choice of course, a commitment to improving the lives of others, and leadership potential.

Research Training Fellowship (Action Medical Research for Children - Charity)

  • University: Various university departments, teaching hospitals, or other recognized research centers within the UK.
  • Period: Two to three years.
  • Scholarship Award: The upper limit for a three-year fellowship is $366,667. Starting salary will depend on qualifications and experience. Consumable research expenses essential for the period of research training will be awarded.
  • Scholarship Requirements: Open to medical graduates, clinicians, bioengineers, research nurses, physiotherapists, and allied health professionals. Candidates should have some experience of research following their first degree. Medical graduates should have had limited research training but wish to develop a long-term career in academic medicine in the UK. Typically, they should not be more than 6 years post MRCP (or equivalent).

Research Project Grants (Leverhulme Trust - Charity)

  • University: Various university departments, institutions of higher education, and registered charities with university-equivalent research capacity in the UK.
  • Period: May be held for up to five years.
  • Scholarship Award: The maximum grant value is $666,667.
  • Scholarship Requirements: Eligible applicants must already be employed by the eligible institution or be an academic who has maintained close links with that institution following retirement. Contract researchers whose appointment continues for at least the span of the requested award are also eligible. Up to 3 co-applicants from the same or different UK institutions may be included. Overseas co-applicants are allowable.

Research Fellowship (The Royal Society - Academy)

  • Period: The Research Fellowships provide support for up to eight years.
  • Scholarship Award: Applicants can apply for a maximum award value of £1.83 million over the eight-year period. The funds can cover various expenses, including the award holder's salary, research expenses, equipment costs, research assistance salary, support for new PhD studentships, and relocation and visa costs if well justified in the application.
  • Scholarship Requirements: To be eligible for the Research Fellowships, applicants must have between three and eight years of research experience since their PhD by the closing date of the round. They should not hold a permanent post in a university or not-for-profit research organization, and they should not have previously held an equivalent fellowship that provides an opportunity to establish an independent research group and independent researcher status.
  • Courses or Subjects: The research conducted under the Research Fellowships must be within the Royal Society's remit of natural sciences, which includes fields such as biological research, biomedical sciences, chemistry, engineering, mathematics, and physics.

Mid-Career Fellowships - The British Academy

  • University: UK universities or other UK institutions of higher education.
  • Period: Fellowships can be held over a minimum of 6 months and a maximum of 12 months.
  • Scholarship Award: The Academy's contribution to the salary of the Mid-Career Fellow will be capped at an upper limit of £80,000. The total value of the award is not expected to exceed £152,000.
  • Scholarship Requirements: These Fellowships are intended for outstanding individual researchers and communicators in the humanities and social sciences. Applicants should have already published works of intellectual distinction or established a significant track record as an excellent communicator in their field.
  • Courses or Subjects: The fellowships support research in the humanities and social sciences, with a focus on promoting public engagement and understanding of the research. The research should contribute to advances in understanding, including public understanding, in the subject area and align with appropriate strategic priorities in the social sciences and humanities

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