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More in this section Prospective PhD Students


It is extremely important to make sure that you have sufficient funds (both to cover fees and living costs) to complete a PhD study programme, especially now that there is a four year limit for fulltime study (seven year limit for part-time). Obtaining funding can be extremely difficult and so potential candidates are advised to actively explore all available opportunities to secure funds. There are generally two classes of funding that PhD students use to support their studies. Many students combine sources of funds during their studies.

External Funding

These are funds obtained by the student themselves and have nothing to do with Royal Holloway. Potential students must seek out such opportunities themselves. Common sources include:

  • Scholarships: Most commonly from national governments, although some industrial organisations offer PhD research scholarships.
  • Employers: Some employers offer support for employees to complete PhD research programmes.
  • Private funds: Some students rely on private funds to support their studies.

Internal Funding

These are (mostly) dedicated funds allocated to the department and are available for us to support PhD research students. Please note that internal departmental funding is:

  1. Extremely limited. We can only support a very small fraction of the PhD applicants that we make offers to in a typical year.
  2. Often partial. Many of the awards we are allocated only cover home fees, or part of an overseas fee.
  3. Not necessarily applied for. We automatically consider all PhD applicants to whom we have made an offer when we allocate internal departmental funding. It is thus important to apply to our PhD programme even if you have not yet secured funding. In that way we can consider you for all our internal awards.

Examples of Internal Funding include:

  • Royal Holloway Studentships. Every year the department is allocated a small number of partial scholarships. These typically only pay for homes fees or part of an overseas fee, although occasionally awards also cover maintenance. These awards cannot be directly applied for. Allocations of these awards are made to selected applicants before June of each year for students beginning their course in the following September.
  • Project studentships. These are normally full awards and are obtained when a particular academic obtains a research grant that includes support for a PhD studentship. These include EPSRC CASE awards, where the project involves collaboration with a company. Project studentships are normally advertised in our website, although qualified candidates with current PhD offers are likely to be considered, or encouraged to apply.
  • Assistantships. These are typically partial awards and involve specified part-time duties in the department. Recent assistantships have involved supporting undergraduate teaching and the MSc programmes. Assistantships are normally advertised, although qualified candidates with current PhD offers are likely to be considered, or encouraged to apply.

Please check Royal Holloway's Funding page for more information.


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