PhD funding

Securing funding for your MPhil/PhD research can be challenging, but Birkbeck is committed to providing advice and support to help you finance your research.

Some of the different ways to fund your research degree include UK government loans (from 2018-19), Research Council studentships and Career Development Loans. Many of our schools also offer bursaries and studentships to enable the most promising students to pursue their research at Birkbeck.

tuition fees

The fee for your MPhil/PhD programme is listed on our individual course descriptions. When you enrol, we will ask you how you intend to pay your tuition fee and you can opt for our flexible payment options.

Funding deadlines and applications

  • Funding is usually advertised from the autumn onward, with application deadlines in the following spring, but you should carefully check individual projects for closing dates. 
  • Different funding bodies have different application processes, so carefully read through all of the information they provide to ensure you are eligible and your application meets all of the requirements. 
  • Dates for decisions about funding will be different for different funding bodies, but they are generally made in the spring/summer of the year of entry. 
  • Different funding bodies will have different regulations regarding sick leave, deferred entry, parental leave, changing supervisor or institution, etc. You should contact your funding body in the first instance for answers to these types of query.

Sources of funding

UK government loans

  • In March 2016, the UK government announced that it intends to introduce PhD loans of up to £25,000 from 2018-19 onward.  
  • Details have not been clarified, but the announcement stated that PhD loans will be repaid at the same terms as the government's postgraduate loans, with a repayment rate of 9% for PhD loans and a combined 9% repayment rate for a Master's and a PhD loan combined. 
  • We will publish further information here, as and when the details are finalised by the UK government. 

Research Councils UK (RCUK) funding

  • Research Councils (UK) is a partnership between seven research councils, who allocate billions of pounds of funding for research across the UK: 
    • The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)
    • The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) 
    • Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)
    • Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)
    • Medical Research Council (MRC)
    • Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)
    • Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC). 
  • The Research Councils do not directly fund students, but allocate funding to institutions, via supervisors and departments, who then advertise for candidates. 
  • Competition for funding is usually very fierce, with a high number of applications for each studentship.  
  • Funding is usually advertised from October onward, with application deadlines in the following Spring.  
  • Research Council funding for PhD studentships is available to UK citizens, or those who have been resident in the UK for a period of three years or more. EU nationals may qualify for a fees-only award. 
  • Research Council funding that is available via Birkbeck is listed below. 

Research charities, trusts and foundations 

  • Research charities, trusts and foundations award funding for research projects, but, generally, this is not made directly to students but allocated to supervisors who then advertise for candidates. 
  • Major research charities in the UK include the Leverhulme Trust and the Wellcome Trust
  • Research projects at Birkbeck funded by research charities are listed below. 

Economic and social research council (ESRC) funding

Birkbeck Wellcome Trust ISSF (Institutional Strategic Support Fund) funding

  • Birkbeck has been awarded a second Wellcome Trust ISSF award (ISSF2) of £1.5m over five years from 1 October 2016, which is being matched by college funds. Applications are invited from completing PhD students, for salary costs up to six months beyond the end of their period of formal study to complete publications or develop engagement or dissemination activities.

Professional and Career Development Loans

  • A Professional and Career Development loan is a commercial bank loan that you can use to help pay for work-related learning. We are a Registered Learning Provider (registration number 4857), which means you can apply for this loan to study here.

The Bloomsbury Colleges PhD Studentships

  • The Bloomsbury Colleges Group consists of four colleges of the University of London - Birkbeck, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, the Royal Veterinary College and the School of Oriental and African Studies - and offers PhD studentships, each of three years' duration.

School of Arts funding

School of Business, Economics and Informatics funding

School of Law funding

School of Science funding

School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy funding