PhD funding at Birkbeck

Securing funding for your MPhil/PhD research can be challenging, but Birkbeck is committed to providing support and advice to help you finance your research. This page highlights MPhil/PhD studentship opportunities available within Birkbeck's schools, as well as information about other ways to fund your research degree at Birkbeck. 

Birkbeck studentship opportunities for 2018-19 entry 

As a research-intensive university, Birkbeck offers a range of competitively awarded MPhil/PhD studentships to prospective MPhil/PhD students. As well as PhD studentships and bursaries funded by Birkbeck, we offer funding via sources including Research Councils UK, the Wellcome Trust and charities, government and industry. 

Studentships explained 

  • Prospective studentship applicants should note the following:
    • A fully funded PhD studentship will provide tuition fees and a maintenance stipend, while many also include a contribution towards research costs. Details of the funding provided for each studentship will be advertised in the descriptions for each opportunity. Each year a range of fees-only studentships are also available.
    • Studentships vary in length, but they are usually between three and four years' duration for full-time students.
    • Funded studentships are usually advertised from the Autumn Term onward, with application deadlines beginning in January, but you should carefully check individual projects or funded MPhil/PhD programmes for the specific closing dates.
    • Decisions about the outcome of funded studentship applications are usually made in the spring/summer of the year of entry.
    • The application processes and eligibility criteria vary depending on the funder, so you must carefully read through all of the information for each studentship, to ensure you are eligible and your application will meet all of the requirements.
    • Competition for studentships is usually very fierce, with a high number of applications for each studentship.
    • The terms and conditions of studentships are determined by the relevant funding body and may include specific arrangements for sick leave, deferred entry, parental leave, supervision changes and other considerations. If you have an enquiry about any of these, you should, in the first instance, ask the administrative contact for the particular studentship opportunity.
    • Continued access to studentship funding is subject to the terms and conditions of the funder and to students being able to demonstrate satisfactory academic progress. 
    • The following studentships are available in our academic schools for entry in 2018-19: 

School of Arts 

  • 12 School of Arts Research Studentships
    • The studentships are for MPhil/PhD research students in the Department of Cultures and Languages, the Department of English and Humanities, the Department of Film, Media and Cultural Studies and the Department of History of Art. 

School of Business, Economics and Informatics 

School of Law 

School of Science 

School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy 

  • The School is a member of the prestigious ESRC UCL, Bloomsbury and East London Doctoral Training Partnership (UBEL DTP). Fully funded ESRC studentships (including +3 and 1+3 routes) related to a range of disciplinary pathways are available through this doctoral training partnership. 
    • The studentships are for MPhil/PhD research students in the Department of Applied Linguistics and Communication, the Department of Geography, the Department of History, Classics and Archaeology, the Department of Politics and the Department of Psychosocial Studies. 
    • Applicants are advised to make contact, well in advance of the application deadline, with Birkbeck's UBEL pathway leads
    • Deadline for applications: applicants must have applied to one of the UBEL DTP pathways by 4pm on 9 January 2018, but first had to apply for an MPhil/PhD programme (or MRes programme for 1+3 applications) that forms one of the training routes for this pathway. The deadlines for applying to departments varied between 1 December 2017 and 9 January 2018 - late applications were not accepted. Please contact the pathway leads listed above for details about these deadlines and further information. 
  • Two Wellcome Trust Doctoral Studentships for a project titled, ‘Sexual Violence, Medicine, and Psychiatry’
    • The studentships are for MPhil/PhD research students in the Department of History, Classics and Archaeology. 
    • Deadline for applications: the deadline for these opportunities was 31 January 2018. 
  • Two Birkbeck Bicentenary Studentships
    • The studentships are for MPhil/PhD research students in the Department of History, Classics and Archaeology. 
    • Deadline for applications: the deadline for these opportunities was 31 January 2018
  • Two History, Classics and Archaeology Alumni Donation Studentships
    • The studentships are for MPhil/PhD research students in the Department of History, Classics and Archaeology.
    • Deadline for applications: the deadline for these opportunities was 31 January 2018.
  • Bonnart Trust PhD Scholarships
    • The studentships are for MPhil/PhD research students in the Department of Applied Linguistics and Communication, the Department of Geography, the Department of History, Classics and Archaeology, the Department of Philosophy, the Department of Politics and the Department of Psychosocial Studies.
    • Deadline for applications: the deadline for these opportunities was 1 February 2018.
  • Seven SSHP Postgraduate Research Scholarships
    • The studentships are for MPhil/PhD research students in the Department of Applied Linguistics and Communication, the Department of Geography, the Department of History, Classics and Archaeology, the Department of Philosophy, the Department of Politics and Department of Psychosocial Studies.
    • One award is specifically dedicated to an interdisciplinary project. 
    • Deadline for applications: 10 March 2018. 
  • Three-year Bloomsbury Colleges PhD Studentship, entitled 'Digital Housekeeping: New Forms of Gendered Work at Home'
    • The closing date for applications is Monday 26 February at 5pm.
  • Fully funded three-year Wellcome Trust doctoral studentship to work on 'Waiting Times', to be supervised by Dr Lisa Baraitser of the Department of Psychosocial Studies.
    • Deadline for applications: the deadline for this opportunity was 12 February 2018.
    • Interviews: 27 February 2018.
  • Two PhD studentships in philosophy on a project entitled 'Learning from Fiction', funded by the Leverhulme Trust and led by Greg Currie (York), Stacie Friend (Birkbeck) and psychologist Heather Ferguson (Kent). 
    • There are two studentships available: one at Birkbeck, University of London, and the other at University of York. 
    • They provide three-year PhD scholarships at Research Council rates for home/EU fees and maintenance. 
    • Deadline for applications: 26 March 2018. 
  • One PhD studentship in history on a project, run in partnership with the Imperial War Museum, entitled, 'Confronting a Masculine Military Ideal: The Experiences of LGBTQ Service Personnel 1914-Now'. 
    • The three-year studentship covers tuition fees and offers a grant (stipend) towards living expenses at Research Council rates for home/EU fees and maintenance. 
    • Deadline for applications: 22 April 2018. 

Bloomsbury Colleges PhD studentships 

  • As a member of the Bloomsbury Colleges group, each year Birkbeck offers Bloomsbury Colleges PhD studentships. These studentships are three years in duration and provide opportunities for students to engage in collaborative research projects. 

MPhil/PhD loans

From 2018, MPhil/PhD research students will be able to apply for government loans to contribute to the costs of study.

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. It is anticipated that applications will open from spring 2018.
  • Who is eligible?
    • The loans will be open to new students only, resident in England, aged 59 or under. Students who are newly enrolling on an MPhil/PhD programme or professional doctorate in 2018-19 will be eligible to apply. Students upgrading from an MPhil to PhD in 2018-19 will not be eligible under current government guidelines, as they will not be considered new students. 
    • The loans will not be means-tested - ie the amount you can receive will not be determined by your household income - and they will be available to students who have lived in England for the past three years for a reason other than study. The government will make an announcement on the eligibility of European Union (EU) students ahead of the 2018-19 academic year.
  • Who is not eligible?
    • If you are on a stand-alone MPhil programme or MRes programme, you will not be eligible, because you are able to apply for the government's postgraduate loans.
    • If you are in receipt of government funding, such as a research council studentship (including any fees-only award), you will also not be eligible for a PhD loan.
  • Repayment
    • 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. 
  • More information
    • The details have not been finalised by the government yet, but you can read further information. We will publish details here as soon as they are finalised by the UK government. 

Research Councils UK (RCUK), charities, trusts and foundations 

The UK Research Councils (RCUK) and research charities, trusts and foundations award funding for research studentships. These opportunities will be advertised above as individual studentships as they become available, or they may be advertised through prestigious funded MPhil/PhD programmes at Birkbeck. 

Research Councils UK (RCUK) 

Wellcome Trust

Wellcome Trust Institutional strategic support fund (ISSF)

  • Current Birkbeck MPhil/PhD students are able to apply for salary costs up to six months beyond the end of their period of formal study, in order to complete publications or develop engagement or dissemination activities, through the Wellcome Trust ISSF award (ISSF2).

Other ways to finance your MPhil/PhD

There are a number of other ways to fund your MPhil/PhD research, including Birkbeck's flexible payment options, to help you spread the cost of your fees.

Flexible payment options for your tuition fees

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.