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 within our academic schools for entry in 2018-18: 

School of Arts 

  • We are providing up to 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. 
    • Deadline for applications: to be confirmed. 

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. 
  • Deadline for applications: applicants must apply to one of the UBEL DTP pathways by 4 pm on 9 January 2018, but you must first 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 vary between 1 December 2017 and 9 January 2018 - late applications will not be accepted. Please contact the pathway leads listed above for details about these deadlines and further information.  
  • We are providing up to 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: 31 January 2018. 
  • We are providing up to two Birkbeck Bicentenary Studentships.
    • The studentships are for MPhil/PhD research students in the Department of History, Classics and Archaeology. 
    • Deadline for applications: 31 January 2018
  • We are providing up to 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: 31 January 2018.
  • We are providing 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: 1 February 2018.
  • We are providing up to 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. 

Other studentships Birkbeck offers 

Each year, Birkbeck's schools and departments offer a range of funded studentships and bursaries (see above for the most up-to-date announcements), but the College sometimes also offers other studentships. 

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. 

Research Councils UK (RCUK) Funding 

As a successful research-intensive university, Birbeck is also able to offer MPhil/PhD studentship funding via Research Councils UK. 

Research Councils UK (RCUK) funding explained 

  • RCUK is a partnership between seven research councils, which allocate billions of pounds of funding for research across the UK, including funding of PhD studentships. The majority of Research Council studentships are available via Doctoral Research Programmes (DTPs) and Birkbeck is able to offer funded MPhil/PhD studentships through these programmes. 
  • Due to the increasingly interdisciplinary nature of research, these funding opportunities may provide opportunities to study for an MPhil/PhD in more than one school or department at Birkbeck. Research Council funded studentship programmes also include opportunities to apply for collaborative/industrial placements (known as CASE studentships), whereby research students spend part of their time with a partner company.
  • Research Council studentships have specific eligibility requirements, including academic and residency requirements for applicants, which you must meet. EU nationals may qualify for a fees-only award.

Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) studentships 

  • Birkbeck has been successfully awarded AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Awards (CDAs), which provide funding for doctoral studentship projects, proposed by a university-based academic, to work in collaboration with an organisation outside of higher education. These doctoral students gain first-hand experience of work outside the university environment and gain enhanced employment-related skills and training during their research. AHRC CDA opportunities will be announced as they become available.
  • Birkbeck is an associate member of the Consortium for the Humanities and the Arts South-East England (CHASE) and our students benefit from engagement with CHASE training and other opportunities, but we are not currently able to offer CHASE-funded studentships at Birkbeck.

Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) studentships 

  • Birkbeck is a partner within the interdisciplinary London Interdisciplinary Doctoral (LIDo) Programme), one of the largest BBSRC-funded Doctoral Training Partnerships in the UK. The LIDo programme provides students with opportunities to develop and choose interdisciplinary research projects at Birkbeck for research in cell biology, neurobiology, immunology, developmental biology, physiology, structural biology, chemical biology, biotechnology, microbiology, genetics and evolutionary biology.
  • This BBSRC-funded Doctoral Training Programme offers 30 studentships each year and an additional 14 Industrial CASE studentships.
  • A brief profile of this BBSRC programme is available but, for full details, please see the LIDo web pages.
  • Birkbeck’s involvement in LIDo followed on from a highly successful BBSRC funded joint PhD Structural, Computational, Cell and Chemical Biology.

Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) studentships 

  • Birkbeck is a partner in the UCL, Bloomsbury and East London (UBEL) Doctoral Training Partnership. The UBEL partnership welcomed the first intake of students in Autumn 2017 and will award over 40 ESRC studentships per year across the participating institutions: UCL, SOAS, Birkbeck, UEL and LSHTM. UBEL offers a range of routes across 25 pathways providing many opportunities for social sciences MPhil/PhD studentships at Birkbeck.
  • Birkbeck was also a partner in the previous ESRC-funded Bloomsbury DTC for the Social Sciences and has a well-established base of ESRC funded PhD students.

Medical Research Council (MRC) studentships 

  • The Joint UCL-Birkbeck MRC programme offers students the chance to carry out PhD training across four strategic themes, which include the fundamental mechanisms of disease. Students benefit from the unique research strengths and training infrastructure of Birkbeck and UCL.
  • Birkbeck’s participation in this doctoral programme builds upon previously funded MRC funded studentships, including the Institute of Structural and Molecular Biology Interdisciplinary MRC PhD Programme, 'Macromolecular machines of biomedical significance'.

Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) studentships 

    • PhD Training in the Natural Sciences is available through The London NERC DTP which currently funds 104 PhD students. NERC DTP students undertake an intensive programme of interdisciplinary core research and professional development training the autumn and spring terms, before submitting a choice of two project titles. Applications to the London NERC DTP programme are for a range of eight research themes, which include Birkbeck's research strengths.
    • A brief profile of this programme is available but, for full details, please see the NERC DTP web pages.

Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) studentships 

  • Birkbeck has been successful in securing STFC-funded studentships, which will be advertised as they become available. 

Research charities, trusts and foundations 

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

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 the government's new PhD loans. Birkbeck also offers flexible payment options, to help you spread the cost of your fees.

Flexible payment options for your tuition fees

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.
  • The loans are for students without a Research Council living allowance and they can be put towards the cost of tuition fees, living expenses and other study-related costs.
  • The loans will not be means-tested - ie the amount you can receive is not determined by your household income - and they are 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.
  • PhD programmes and professional doctorates are eligible, as are PhD programmes that are upgraded from an MPhil (as happens at Birkbeck). Stand-alone MPhil programmes and MRes programmes are ineligible because they are covered by the government's postgraduate loans.
  • 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.
  • The details have not been finalised by the government yet, but you can read further information here. We will publish details on this page just as soon as they are finalised by the UK government. 

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.