Funding for graduate courses is competitive, but the University of Oxford offers more support than you might think. For example, for the 2019-20 academic year, just over half of our new graduate students received full or partial funding from the University or other funders.
The tabs on this page provide more information on the range of funding the University offers through scholarships, Research Councils and studentships.
When undertaking your funding search you should consider the following:
- Do not delay! Start thinking about the different funding options available to you as soon as you decide to apply to Oxford – do not wait until you have an offer of a place. You need to ensure you have funding in place in good time to start your course.
- Look for funding from sources both inside and outside Oxford. Receiving an offer of a place to study at Oxford does not necessarily mean that we can also offer you funding. However, there are a range of other options open to our graduate students. After you have read the tabs on this page about the scholarships, Research Council funding and studentships that Oxford offers, we also recommend you research external funding and loans for which you may be eligible.
- Do not wait until you get here to think about funding for future years. The vast majority of Oxford scholarships are open to new graduate students only. Funding options for on-course students are extremely limited. You should therefore be confident that you can fund your whole course, including living costs.
- Do not assume you can earn your way through your studies. If you are a full-time student, there will not be much time to take on paid work, and if you are a part-time student, you will need to ensure that work does not impact on your studies. See our Policy on working whilst studying.
For the 2021-22 academic year, the University expects to be able to offer up to 1,000 full or partial graduate scholarships for new students.
Scholarships are usually awarded on the basis of academic excellence and potential, and will cover some or all of your course fees and/or provide a grant for living costs for your period of fee liability. The eligibility criteria for different scholarships vary, with some being open to the majority of new graduate students and others restricted by particular characteristics, for example by degree subject or country of ordinary residence. Some scholarship schemes offer additional benefits like events to support scholars, or membership of a scholar community or leadership programme.
Specific information about scholarships and funding for applicants from under-represented groups is available in our Graduate access section.
How do I apply?
For the majority of Oxford scholarships, all you need to do is submit your graduate application by the January deadline for your course. There’s no separate scholarship application process or extra supporting documentation required for funding. Based on the information supplied in your graduate application, you will be automatically considered for scholarships where you meet the eligibility criteria with most scholarships using academic merit and/or potential as the basis on which award decisions are made.
To help identify those scholarships that require an additional application, use the Fees, funding and scholarships search and look at individual college websites.
The vast majority of college scholarships do not require you to select that particular college as your preference on the graduate application form. They will consider all eligible applicants who apply by the relevant deadline. If you are selected for a college scholarship, we will move your place to the relevant college.
When are scholarships awarded?
Most Oxford scholarships are awarded between late February and June. The approximate date by which decisions are expected to be made will normally be given in the scholarship information available from the A-Z of Scholarships.
A scholarship may be awarded either at the same time or after you are offered a place by your department. It may be awarded either before or after you have been offered a college place.
The seven UK Research Councils are publicly funded bodies that support research and studentships across a range of subject areas. High numbers of awards are received by our postgraduate students in recognition of the quality of the world-class research carried out at Oxford. Some colleges also provide partnership awards linked to Research Council awards, details of which are available under College Partnership Awards.
Eligibility for Research Council funding is changing for students starting their course in 2021/22 onwards. Eligibility is no longer restricted to UK and EU students only.
UKRI has confirmed that research councils will be able to award postgraduate studentships to both home and international students, now including EU, from 2021/22. Awards will include fees (up to that research council’s UK rate) and living stipend. There is a cap of 30% on non-UK awards.
How do I apply?
For full details about eligibility requirements and how to apply, please see links to the relevant council below.
Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)
The AHRC provides public funding in support of research into the arts and humanities, for approximately one quarter of the UK's research population. Oxford participates in the Open-Oxford-Cambridge AHRC Doctoral Training Partnership, providing a number of scholarships each year across the Humanities Division. Information about applying for AHRC scholarships at Oxford can currently be found on the DTP website.
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)
The BBSRC supports the UK's world-leading position in bioscience. It aims to promote and support high quality basic, strategic and applied research and postgraduate training relating to the understanding and exploitation of biological systems. BBSRC studentship funding, including Industrial CASE studentship funding, is awarded primarily through the Oxford Interdisciplinary Bioscience Doctoral Training Partnership. Questions about BBSRC funding should be directed to the Oxford Interdisciplinary Bioscience DTP.
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)
The EPSRC is the main UK government agency for funding research and training in engineering and the physical sciences. Opportunities for EPSRC funding at Oxford are advertised on the relevant department pages, accessible via the Departments A-Z page. Questions about EPSRC funding should also be referred to the relevant department.
Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)
The ESRC is the UK’s largest organisation for funding research on social and economic issues. The University, in collaboration with Brunel University and the Open University, hosts the Grand Union Doctoral Training Partnership - one of fourteen Doctoral Training Partnerships (DTPs) accredited by the ESRC as part of a new Doctoral Training Network.
ESRC funding covers both full and part-time study and the DTP offers a variety of award structures and lengths, depending on prior training and course arrangements. A Masters qualification is not a prerequisite for studying with the Grand Union DTP, all pathways have options for students without a Masters who are intending to carry out doctoral research.
In order to be considered for a Grand Union DTP ESRC studentship, you must select 'ESRC Grand Union DTP Studentships in Social Sciences' in the University of Oxford scholarships section of the University's graduate application form. You must complete a Grand Union DTP Application Form (which can be found on this page) and upload it, together with your graduate application form, by the relevant January deadline for your course.
Information about ESRC studentships at Oxford can be found on the Grand Union DTP website. Please ensure you have read all of the guidance available on the website before completing the ESRC Grant Union DTP Studentship Application Form. Questions can be directed to the Grand Union DTP Office.
Medical Research Council (MRC)
The MRC promotes research into all areas of medical and related science with the aims of improving the health and quality of life of the UK public and contributing to the wealth of the nation. The University of Oxford receives a Doctoral Training Partnership Grant from the MRC from which studentships are created and awarded. All applicants that apply to the DPhil Interdisciplinary Medical Research (MRC DTP) programme by the January deadline (8 January 2021) are automatically considered and nominated for MRC funding by their Departments, if they are eligible. For further information, and if you have any questions about the process, please see the Medical Sciences Graduate School pages.
In addition, the University bids in MRC competitions for Industrial CASE Awards. Applicants can apply for these by using the correct reference code in the studentship section of the application form. Certain MRC-funded units and centres receive a direct allocation of MRC Studentships; usually, all eligible applicants that apply by the January deadline are automatically considered for these awards. In some cases, however, they are advertised separately by individual departments.
Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)
NERC is the UK's main agency for funding and managing research, training and knowledge exchange in the environmental sciences. Their work covers the full range of atmospheric, earth, biological, terrestrial and aquatic science. Opportunities for NERC funding at Oxford are advertised on the relevant department pages, accessible via the Departments A-Z page. Questions about NERC funding should also be referred to the relevant department.
Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)
The STFC support, promote and coordinate research into spheres ranging from particle and nuclear physics to space, laser and materials science. Opportunities for STFC funding at Oxford are advertised on the relevant department pages, accessible via the Departments A-Z page. Questions about STFC funding should also be referred to the relevant department.
Research Councils College Partnership Awards
Research Councils College Partnership Awards are fully-funded Research Council scholarships which are partially funded by a college. All Research Councils allow graduate studentship funding to be partnered with other sources of funding, thereby allowing universities to increase the number of studentships available. The College Partnership Awards are only tenable at the college providing the funding.
There is no separate application process for the College Partnership Awards and all eligible graduate candidates who are awarded a Research Councils studentship will be considered. We may move your application to a college offering a partnership award, even if this is not your preferred college (for applicants who have stated a preference on the graduate application form).
A studentship provides funding for postgraduate research students who are working on specific projects. The funding is normally provided by an organisation such as a Research Council or through a combination of funds from an academic department, college or external body.
Funded studentships usually offer either full or fees-only financial support to pursue research for a named project or area of study.
How do I apply?
Check your academic department’s website for details of any current studentship opportunities and how to apply. There is a section in the online graduate application form where you will be able to enter the code(s), if required, for any studentships for which you wish to be considered. If a code is required it will be provided on the relevant department's website.