Fees and funding
Money is the single biggest barrier to people undertaking postgraduate study, and securing funding for your PhD is vital to realising your ambitions.
These pages will help you estimate how much studying for a postgraduate degree will cost, explain how to search for scholarships, studentships, bursaries and other awards you might be eligible for, and introduce a number of alternative ideas that can help you fund your postgraduate studies.
Specific fees are listed in every programme entry under the 'Finance' tab. You can find out more about our fee structure and your fee status on our fees page.
As a member of the Russell Group, we attract funding to support postgraduate study and research from all major research councils through a number of high profile Funded centres, and via a multitude of philanthropic sources, as well as investing heavily ourselves.
You can also search for funding via our funding database - which contains details of every single PhD studentship we offer, as well as numerous bursaries and non-academic scholarships. Use the search box on the Postgraduate Research home page or from the top navigation bar on every page of this site.
Whether you're studying for a Masters or researching for a PhD, your tuition fee is only one part of the cost of doing a postgraduate degree: you also have to consider accommodation and living costs.
Tuition fees vary for Home/EU students and International students. Our general postgraduate fees page will help you determine which apply to you.
Research degree tuition fees vary across different disciplines, so please refer to Finance tabs on the relevant degree page to confirm exact costs.
Accommodation costs will vary depending on whether you live in private or University-owned accommodation. More details regarding accommodation, including costs, are available on our accommodation page.
The National Union of Students estimates student living costs, including accommodation, to be approximately £12,000 per year outside London.
Living costs are, to some extent, up to you. You will need to make choices about how you live and what your priorities are, but make sure you factor in:
- food and toiletries
- clothes and laundry
- mobile / telephone / internet charges
- Visa fees (for international students)
- Council Tax (part-time students are eligible to pay)
- travel costs, particularly if you want to visit home in vacations
- books and other course materials
- leisure, sport and entertainment
- sundries, such as haircuts, prescriptions etc.
There are several things to consider when you're starting to look for funding for your postgraduate degree.
Start early and think outside of the box
If you have an inkling that you might want to do a postgraduate degree, then you can start planning and saving right from the off. Wages from weekend or summer jobs, siphoning off small chunks of your undergraduate student loan, and any other small bits of long-term saving you can do will really help, especially if you put this money somewhere sensible where it will grow and where you can’t give in to temptation and spend it on a whim.
Talk to your supervisor
If you're applying to do a PhD, it's worthwhile talking to your potential supervisor about funding early on. Many academics have access to funds from multiple sources that can be diverted to provide a bespoke studentship for the right candidate. These types of opportunities are rarely promoted as they're not standard studentships from research councils. Academics may also know about other potential routes to funding only promoted via specific academic networks.
Sell yourself in applications
When applying for funding remember that awards are competitive, and sell yourself accordingly; tell the funding body or institution why you deserve this money more than the next applicant and what you plan to do with your postgraduate qualification when they’ve helped you pay for it.
Think small as well as big
Don’t just look for big, eye-catching scholarships; everyone else will be chasing these too, and you can normally only hold one scholarship from a university or Research Council, which is where most large awards come from. There are hundreds of small, often very local charities that specialise in providing small grants – maybe £500 – for educational purposes, and you can hold as many of these as you can apply for and successfully be awarded. Receiving a handful of small awards like this can quickly take a sizeable chunk off your tuition fees.
There are more ideas about how to pay for your postgraduate degree on our alternative funding page.
Be clever with textbooks
Undergraduate students can only borrow 15 items from the University library system, but PhD students and other postgraduate researchers can borrow 40, meaning you can avoid buying every text book and piece of further reading. eBooks can help further still.
Selling your old textbooks if you don’t need them anymore can also make you a surprising amount of money, especially if they’re in good condition and still current editions.
A more mature approach to shared living can really help a postgraduate student house save money; planning food shops together and batch cooking so you can freeze meals in advance is much more economical. Taking a packed lunch to campus might make you feel like you're at school again, but will save you money.
Work on campus
Universities usually offer plenty of flexible and part-time work that can fit itself around postgraduate study, especially if you’re studying part-time. This might be teaching undergraduates if you’re working towards a PhD, or it could be working in a customer service or admin role, for instance as a student ambassador.
If you have to travel to campus then minimise the amount of journeys you make by coordinating campus-based activities to be on the same day. Or think about getting a bicycle if it’s not too far.
Remember you're still a student
Don’t forget student discount; many retailers offer this, and you’re still eligible as a postgraduate.
EPSRC PhD Studentships
The University of Exeter EPSRC DTP (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council Doctoral Training Partnership) is offering up to 15 fully funded doctoral studentships for 2019/20 entry.
Exceptional PhD projects