Funding for Philosophy postgraduates in the UK

For UK and EU students, the main source of funding for Masters and PhD students in the UK is the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), about which more below.

For overseas research students, the main source of funding is the Overseas Research Students Awards Scheme (ORSAS); again, more below.

In addition, the Mind Association and the British Society for the Philosophy of Science provide scholarships for PhD study. The Mind Association has one scholarship, for overseas PhD students, every 3 years. The BSPS offers one scholarship per year to PhD students (home/EU or overseas) conducting research in the philosophy of science, paid at the same rate as the AHRC.

Finally, individual universities and departments often offer their own fee waivers, bursaries, teaching assistantships and scholarships. The easiest way to find out about these may be to browse department websites.

AHRC awards

The AHRC has two schemes for philosophy students: the Research Preparation Masters Scheme and the Doctoral Awards Scheme. These are available only to home and EU students. For home (UK) students, the award pays your fees and a living allowance. For non-UK EU students, it pays your fees only.

For 2008-9 awards, you apply through the department you wish to study in; you are only allowed to apply through one department. The deadline is in May, but many departments will require you to apply to them several months earlier, to give them time to prepare your application.

From 2009-10, the AHRC is changing the way it awards postgraduate studentships. For most (but not all) philosophy departments, a quota of studentships will be allocated, for the department to award to whomever it chooses. There is thus no separate application process to the AHRC itself.

ORSAS awards

ORSAS awards cover the difference between the home/EU fees and the overseas fees; however some universities will provide ’top-up’ fee waivers or scholarships to successful ORSAS candidates. ORSAS is run through individual universities, so you will have to look at each university’s website to find out about deadlines, where to send your application, and so on. General information about ORSAS, and a list of participating UK universities, is available from the ORSAS website.

Deadlines for ORSAS applications are generally very early - around December. Do bear in mind that ORSAS is extremely competitive, and only students with excellent grades and references are successful.