Alternative funding

There are as many ways to pay for your postgraduate studies as there are postgraduate students; scholarships, studentships, wages, bursaries, savings, inheritance, and, increasingly, alternative methods such as crowdfunding and philanthropy.

Philanthropy, charities and trusts

Our students have also had success securing funding from a range of local, national and international philanthropic sources, most usually charitable bodies. It's worth investigating parish churches, city councils, and other local bodies, many of which offer scholarships, grants, or bursaries of some kind. 

Charitable trusts

Details of charitable trusts and other funding organisations can be found in a number of publications including the Grants Register, published by Palgrave Macmillan, and the Directory of Grant-Making Trusts. These can be found in libraries and university careers services. Most of these organisations make relatively small contributions towards the costs of your studies, but they can augment other sources.

We've also put together a mini-directory of some charitable bodies which fund education.

The Alternative Guide to Postgraduate Funding Online

We have subscribed to this online guide, which can help you find alternative sources of funding - especially charities - which can make awards (for fees, maintenance, or research costs) to any student regardless of subject, or nationality.

The guide contains a huge database of funding opportunities, comprehensive guidance, and numerous tools to help you prepare a winning grant application. The guide is free for all current University of Exeter students and staff; simply select 'logon automatically from campus'.

Login to the Alternative Guide to Postgraduate Funding


You may have seen stories in the press about people crowdfunding to help pay their tuition fees. Crowdfunding services, such as,, or, allow you to raise monetary contributions from a large number of people, typically via the internet, and can help you fundraise directly towards the cost of your degree. It's worth researching the options available via these and other services to see if they suit your needs.

Other sources of funding information

Whilst searching for funding for my masters, I came across a local charity called The Elizabeth Byford Trust, who provide grants to local people to support educational activities. Hearing that they were open for applications I wrote a short letter explaining I was self-funding a Masters and wondered if they would be able to help. A month later they replied with a cheque for £750.

Will Nicholson, MSc Psychological Research Methods

External funding sources

The list below outlines a variety of opportunities for external funding from charities, organisations, governments and businesses. It should be noted that the eligibility criteria and application deadlines vary.