International PhD Funding – Your 2023 Calendar
International PhD funding can be complicated. It's not that there isn't any support for students from outside the UK to research at British universities (as you'll soon see, there's lots!). It's just that finding and applying for lots of different options can start to get confusing, not to mention time consuming.
Well, this post is here to help! Below, I've put together all of the key details and deadlines for some of the most important (and most generous) PhD funding options in the year ahead.
This list isn't meant to be exhuastive (that would take far more space than a blog). It also doesn't list scholarships for specific funded projects (you can already search for those here on FindAPhD). But the information here should help you get started – and don't forget that you can subscribe to our newsletter for more regular updates.
Most of the funding below is for students looking to do their PhD in the UK, but don't forget that you can check our updated guides to PhD study abroad for information on studentships and scholarships in other countries.
February – Wellcome Early-Career Awards
One of two Wellcome Trust Schemes on this list, this award provides funding for early-career researchers wanting to establish their research identity. Applicants from any field can apply, as long as the project is related to Wellcome's core values. As this is an early-career award, it is only open to PhD applicants who can demonstrate four of more years of research experience.
The awards provide a full salary and expenses package of up to £400,000 for up to five years (or longer, on a part-time basis). The deadline for applications is 21 February.
Unlike some of the other Wellcome awards, you can use this funding to conduct PhD research based outside the UK.
There's more information on the Wellcome Trust Website.
August and September – Newton Fund Studentships
The Newton Fund supports science and innovation partnerships between the UK and a range of other countries. It provides resources for a certain number of PhD studentships each year, usually associated with specific research projects.
Newton PhD scholars receive funding for their fees and living costs in the UK. Application information and advice is provided by Universities UK International (UUKI). Most projects have deadlines in August or September, but this varies.
September to October – Marshall PhD Scholarships
The Marshall Scholarships support talented US students to study abroad in the UK. Funding is available for postgraduate (or 'graduate') study, including PhD-level work.
The value of each award varies, but includes full payment of your fees, plus money for living costs, materials, travel and other expenses. The awards last for up to two years as standard, but can sometimes be extended for another year (in order to cover a full PhD, for example).
Eligibility is restricted to citizens of the USA who have completed an undergraduate degree with a minimum GPA of 3.7 and haven't previously studied at degree level in the UK.
There are eight different application regions. You should pick the one that covers your residence or home address and apply by the end of September or early October for study in the following year (so, applications for PhD study in 2024-25 should be made by autumn 2023.
More information is available on the Marshall Scholarships website.
November – Commonwealth Scholarships
The UK's Department for International Development (DFID) offers a range of Commonwealth Scholarships for postgraduate study. Separate awards are available for students from low- or high-income backgrounds.
Successful applicants receive a generous funding package covering fees, living costs and other expenses associated with their project. The deadline to apply is usually during November.
See the Commonwealth Scholarships website for more information.
November to February – Research Council Studentships
Part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), the seven Research Councils are the main source of PhD funding in the UK.
They provide full studentships covering fees and funding for PhD students in all subject areas (each Council deals with a different academic discipline). In the summer of 2020 there was some great news for international students, with the UK government announcing that they would be eligible for full Research Council studentships for the first time.
Our blog has more information on international students being eligible for Research Council studentships. It’s also worth learning a bit more about Research Council studentships or reading our guides to specific councils like the AHRC and BBSRC.
The application period for Research Council funding is usually between November and February.
Autumn – Wellcome Trust Doctoral Studentships in Science
The Wellcome Trust is a (very!) large research charity, supporting work related to improving public health. They provide a range of funding for Masters students, PhD students and early career postdoctoral researchers working in areas related to Medicine and Healthcare.
Their four-year Doctoral Studentships in Science are available to anyone who expects to obtain a degree (or equivalent) from a UK university on one of the selected programmes.
If successful, you'll have your fees paid in addition to recieving a student stipend, travel costs and other relevant expenses.
As you must apply to the individual course from the course list first, the deadlines are set by the individual universities. Most require students to have applied during the autumn period for PhDs starting in October the following year. There's more information on the Wellcome Trust website.
All year – PhD student loans
In 2022-23 PhD loans offer up to £27,892 for the entirety of the doctorate, paid in installments. Each year this is adjusted in line with inflation.
Eligibility for the loans is restricted to UK students. This means that international students aren't usually eligible for UK PhD loans, but exceptions are sometimes made for applicants who've lived in the UK for a very long time or who have another strong connection to the country. The UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) provides advice on eligibility for UK Government Student Support.
These are just some of the main deadlines for students considering a PhD in the UK. You can find lots more information in our full international funding guide, or check our advice on applying for funding from individual universities or from smaller charities and trusts.
Remember that you can also sign up to our free newsletter for regular information on funded projects and other useful information for your PhD search.
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