Red door
Pushing a bicycle through Oxford at sunset
(Image Credit: Whitney Conti / Graduate Photography Competition)

Other funding sources

Charities and the Voluntary Sector

Many hundreds of charities make awards to current and prospective graduate students. However, they can be hard to find and may require a specific and specialized approach.

A useful source of information for exploring funding opportunities from charities and voluntary organisations is the Alternative Guide to Postgraduate Funding. This is an external resource published independently by GradFunding. This award-winning guide is written by two UK-based PhD students who, between them, won over £45,000 from 52 different charity awards. It provides a database of alternative funding opportunities from charities and trusts and gives advice about how to apply to them, including model personal and financial statements. The University has subscribed to the Guide, which can be accessed free of charge.

Current Oxford students and staff can use their University email address to register online for access to the Guide.

Applicants who do not yet have a University email account should submit their details via the form below in order to receive the Alternative Guide pin, which they can then use to register for the Guide.

US Department of Veterans Affairs Funding

The University of Oxford is able to process applications for US Department of Veterans' Affairs (VA) funding. Please note that the following types of courses are not eligible for VA funding at universities outside of the US: non-degree courses (such as certificates and diplomas), any courses that involve distance or online learning and unmatriculated courses.

VA applications are processed by the same team at Oxford who deal with US loans. Once you have made your application to the US Department of Veterans Affairs, please contact the US loans team to have your enrolment confirmed and certified. For further information please visit the US Department of Veterans Affairs website, ensuring that you consult the information that is relevant for universities outside of the US.

Employment

Any employment during study must adhere to the University's Paid work guidelines. Study at Oxford is very demanding. Within these guidelines, the following may be possible:

  • Teaching opportunities - departments and colleges are sometimes able to offer teaching work. Some departments have graduate teaching schemes in place; please contact the department or faculty direct for more information.
  • Demonstratorships - in the experimental sciences, demonstrators are sometimes required for practical classes.
  • Research Assistantships - these roles are sometimes available in departments and faculties.
  • Junior Deans - colleges periodically advertise these positions. They involve providing pastoral care to other students and being on-call day and night several times a week. Junior Deans normally receive free college accommodation, free meals and a stipend of around £1,000 per year. These positions are normally advertised on college websites and sometimes on the college vacancies section of the Conference of Colleges website.

Ad-hoc work can sometimes be found by advertising your skills locally as a tutor, translator or proofreader. Part-time or seasonal work for the University and colleges may also be available - for example, invigilating examinations, administrative work or working in one of Oxford’s many libraries. 

A good source of part-time and temporary vacancies in Oxford is the Career Service’s online resource, CareerConnect. There are also several local job websites that provide details of vacancies in Oxford.

Other possibilities

If you have recent work experience, it may be worth contacting one of your past or present employers to find out whether they would be able to offer you support. You could also consider approaching a potential employer of the future. Investigate companies or organisations working in your research area, particularly those with corporate social responsibility (CSR) aims and target them.

Think creatively and strategically about other bodies you may be able to proactively approach for funding. They might not necessarily advertise scholarships or bursaries, but could you make a convincing case for them to support you? Are there any foundations in your local or home community that would be willing to support you?

Consider the following when approaching an employer or other potential funding body:

  • Your initial approach, especially if the organisation does not appear to provide support for graduate students, needs to be concise, memorable and tailored to the needs and aims of the body you are contacting. Take the time to get a contact name in the organisation rather than sending a generic, open letter to the CEO.
  • Enclose a short version of your research proposal or statement of purpose. Remember that you may need to make it more user-friendly for non-specialists.
  • Be specific - how much funding do you need? Could any of this come from in-kind support (equipment/use of research facilities/work experience etc), and what will you use the funds for?
  • Think about what you can offer a potential sponsor. Could you undertake some research for them, give them free publicity, give a lecture/presentation, write a report etc?