Bristol has one of the largest concentrations of funding and support for postgraduate research in the UK. Here is an overview of funding options and some tips for exploring funding to support your postgraduate research programme.
Overview of funding
The University offers a number of funded postgraduate research scholarships for outstanding applicants in all faculties. All of the scholarships available are listed in the online search facility - just use the ‘Research postgraduate’ filter on the form to see a full list of what’s available for postgraduate research students. Awards normally cover full tuition fees and a stipend paid at the UK Research Council rate, although this can vary according to faculty.
More than 300 funded PhD studentships are available across our six faculties for outstanding students. These vacancies will usually cover tuition fees as well a monthly stipend to cover living costs. They are attached to specific research projects or fields and are advertised individually on school and faculty webpages, or searchable on the jobs.ac.uk web pages.
The University of Bristol's Development and Alumni Relations Office provided financial support for applicants to research-related Master's programmes in 2020-21 who are from one the following underrepresented ethnic backgrounds: Black, African, Black British, or Caribbean, or mixed backgrounds featuring one of these groups. More details on the scheme for 2021-22 will be added shortly.
Cohort-based doctoral training
We currently have 29 funded Doctoral Training Centres offering excellent funded postgraduate research opportunities and a wide range of skills training. Funded studentships on these programmes offer the chance to study as part of a cohort of researchers and usually cover fees and living costs. PhD students within these cohorts gain a broad range of skills and knowledge that can be applied across a wide variety of careers within and outside of academia.
If you intend to fund yourself through your postgraduate research programme, you might be considering studying part-time in order to work alongside your research to help fund your living costs. Find out more about the cost of living in Bristol.
For self-funded postgraduate research students, the UK Government has announced new doctoral loans of up to £25,000 over the duration of a postgraduate research programme. UK nationals who are ordinarily resident in England, aged 59 or under, who are not already receiving funding via a UK Research Council, are eligible. The government is currently considering making EU students eligible.
It might be possible for your employer or company to support your doctoral studies, particularly if the research is valuable and relevant for your employer. Securing sponsorship for your PhD can give you financial support while your employer could benefit from the research you undertake and the skills you bring back to your company.
The Bristol Doctoral College supports opportunities within this portfolio of work and can advise interested applicants further.