The University and colleges established the COVID-19 Scholarship Extensions Fund (CSEF) to provide funding extensions for those postgraduate research (PGR) students most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The fund provides financial support for PGR students funded by Oxford scholarships, UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) research councils and the Wellcome Trust. More details about the eligibility criteria for CSEF support are provided below.
Four rounds of applications for extension have now been completed, providing extensions for students whose original funding package ended between 1 March 2020 and 31 March 2022.
The fifth application round, for students with funding end dates up to 15 January 2023, is now closed. Students who applied in this round will be notified of the outcome in December 2021.
About the support provided
It is a priority for the University to support as many students as we can to submit high-quality doctoral theses within a reasonable timescale, but we do need to work within the constraints of funding available. We will work to ensure that the scheme is as fair as possible to all students. It will also be necessary to consider the requirements and guidance from external funding partners, such as UKRI, and to prioritise students who may find it more difficult to adapt projects or mitigate the impact of the pandemic.
In order to provide support for as many students as possible, we expect that funding extensions will typically be shorter than the period of disruption experienced.
Extensions will be awarded for a period of weeks or months, paid at the standard UKRI level (c£1,300 per month) for fully-funded students, and pro-rata for those whose scholarship provides a partial living costs award. The majority of extension requests approved are likely to be for up to three months, although longer extensions may be granted in exceptional cases up to a maximum of six months. CSEF extensions will also cover the full cost of any University Continuation Charges that fall within the period of the extension.
Other academic support
You are encouraged to speak with your supervisor about the non-financial support which is also available to you, including adjustments that can be made to your research project or thesis, which will enable you complete your programme.
If you have particular concerns that cannot be addressed by your supervisor, either about your eligibility for a funding extension or about the period of funding extension for which it would be appropriate to apply in your particular circumstances, then please contact your DGS.
The CSEF was created to support students meeting the following eligibility criteria.
- You are a postgraduate research student currently in receipt of a maintenance grant towards living costs from Oxford-managed scholarship schemes, including UKRI studentships and Wellcome Trust studentships (where the funder has not independently awarded a funding extension, or has awarded a funding extension of less than six months); or
- You are a postgraduate research student and a beneficiary of any scholarship scheme where the University (including divisions and departments) or the colleges provide a recurrent stipend to support your living costs, either from their own funds or from donations/grants from donors or external bodies which the University controls and administers.
Students who currently receive partial living cost awards from an eligible scheme will be able to seek an extension at the level of their current award (see ‘About the support provided’ above).
The following types of funding have NOT been eligible for funding extensions through this scheme:
- Funding received directly from a source outside the University or colleges, such as by a national government scholarship, or third party awards such as charity funding that you have secured directly. Colleges and departments sometimes relay payments to students on behalf of external funders, and these funders’ schemes are also ineligible.
- Funding awards which ended prior to 1 March 2020.
- One-off grants or payments from the University or colleges. Types of support which do not (by themselves) qualify you for a funding extension include: hardship grants and prizes; payment for teaching or other employment; benefits in kind, e.g. accommodation; or other forms of non-recurrent maintenance support. Students with recurrent funding who have also received one-off payments are still eligible.
- Fees-only funding support (unless you also receive support for living costs from an eligible scheme e.g. UKRI/Scatcherd or UKRI/college schemes). In this case you will be eligible for the COVID-19 Assistance Fund (see FAQs below).
- Funding for a doctoral programme which commenced in the 2020/21 academic year or later.
- If you are not currently registered on course then your funding can not be extended. If you are currently suspended then you can apply when you resume your funded period of study, and when you become eligible based on your funding end-date (as amended following your suspension).
Please note, if you are not eligible for this scheme then you will be eligible instead for support from the COVID-19 Assistance Fund – please refer to FAQs below.
If you have already received the maximum permitted extension from the CSEF scheme, or if your application for a CSEF extension is not successful, then you will be eligible to apply to the COVID-19 Assistance Fund (CAF) for support.
A list of confirmed eligible schemes is provided in the FAQs at the bottom of this page. If your scheme is not shown then please contact your graduate studies assistant for advice.
How to apply
The fifth application round is now closed. Divisions will communicate application outcomes in December 2021.
The Humanities CSEF online application form is now closed.
Please contact email@example.com with ‘CSEF’ in the subject line with any queries.
Mathematical, Physical and Life Sciences
The MPLS CSEF online application form is now closed.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with ‘CSEF’ in the subject line with any queries.
The Medical Sciences CSEF online application form is now closed.
Please contact email@example.com with ‘CSEF’ in the subject line with any queries.
The Social Sciences CSEF online application form is now closed.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with ‘CSEF’ in the subject line with any queries.
Please contact email@example.com for advice in the first instance.
If you have previously applied to the CSEF scheme and you wish to appeal an extension decision, then you are able to do so if:
(i) You have new information relating to your situation which was not available at the time of your original application. You will need to explain why the information was not available at that time;
(ii) You believe the decision was procedurally flawed or biased in some way.
Please contact your divisional graduate studies team in the first instance if you wish to discuss making an appeal. Appeals should usually be made within three weeks of receiving the outcome of your application.
Will all applicants to the scheme receive a funding extension?
Unfortunately, as noted above (‘About the support provided’), we are unable to provide extensions for all students. The University and colleges are setting aside significant funding for this scheme, but we will need to prioritise support for students whose research has been most disrupted.
In order to provide support for as many students as possible, we expect that funding extensions will typically be shorter than the period of disruption experienced. You are encouraged to speak with your supervisor about the non-financial support which is also available to you, including adjustments that can be made to your research project or thesis, which will enable you complete your programme.
What factors may affect decisions reached for each application?
An assessment will be made of the severity of the impact caused by COVID-19, and the scope available to recover the time lost. The types of disruption considered will include:
- Reduced access to research facilities including laboratories and libraries;
- Inability to undertake essential fieldwork;
- Unrecoverable loss of experiments or research information;
- Negative impacts on your health and working environment due to changes in your living/study arrangements;
- Health issues following a COVID-19 infection;
- Reduced capacity to work because of caring responsibilities, or redirection to other work (e.g. NHS or military service);
- Specific personal circumstances that prevent you from mitigating the effects of the pandemic on your project (for example if you have a diagnosed disability or long-term illness, are neurodivergent, or have caring responsibilities);
- Travel disruption.
Which division should I apply to?
In most cases you should apply to the division in which your academic department is based. See this website here for a list: https://www.ox.ac.uk/about/divisions-and-departments.
Some doctoral training programmes have links with more than one division. In these cases, please apply as indicated below:
- SEAHA EPSRC CDT: apply to the Social Sciences Division
- All other EPSRC CDTs/studentships, the NERC DTP and the BBSRC DTP: apply to the MPLS division;
- Wellcome Trust, MRC DTP, CRUK, BHF: apply to the Medical Sciences Division
If you are unsure which division to apply to then please seek advice from a graduate studies contact.
I’m not eligible for this scheme because I am self-funded or externally funded. What financial support is available to me?
Students who are not eligible for this scheme, but have been disrupted by COVID-19, will be able to access financial assistance from the COVID-19 Assistance Fund. This provides grants on the basis of financial need. This scheme makes specific provision for the needs of PGR students, including UCC costs, in making financial assessments.
Is my scheme eligible?
Any scheme which meets the criteria provided above will be eligible.
The following list the eligible schemes which have been identified, as of October 2021. Others will be added as eligibility is confirmed. If your scholarship scheme does not appear below, but you believe that you meet the eligibility criteria, then please contact your division in the first instance (see table in the ‘how to apply’ section above for contact details).
Students funded by Rhodes scholarships, including those offered in partnership with colleges, are asked to contact the Rhodes Trust in the first instance for guidance on extensions to these awards.
List of confirmed eligible schemes
The following funding schemes are eligible for CSEF support:
All UKRI research councils (AHRC, BBSRC, ESRC, EPSRC, MRC, NERC, STFC).
Medical research charity funded studentships with awards managed by the University, including Alzheimer's Research UK, The British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research UK, The Kennedy Trust for Rheumatology Research, Versus Arthritis and The Wellcome Trust.
Other scholarship schemes below. Please note that department and college scholarships will be eligible on the same basis as university schemes, but a full list is not available to publish here.
All Souls Hugh Springer Graduate Scholarship
China Scholarship Council - University of Oxford Scholarships
Commonwealth PhD Scholarships (for high income countries)
Dulverton and Michael Wills Scholarship
ERC - European Research Council
Gus and Jenny Rose Carey Graduate Scholarship
Helmore Fund Scholarship
Hill Foundation Scholarship
Hilla Ginwala Scholarships
Jardine-Oxford Graduate Scholarship
Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies Scholarship
Oxford Kobe Scholarship
Oxford Marshall Scholarship
Oxford-Aidan Jenkins Graduate Scholarship
Oxford-Anderson Graduate Scholarship
Oxford-Anderson Humanities Graduate Scholarship
Oxford-Angus McLeod - St John's Graduate Scholarship
Oxford-Ashton Scholarship in Engineering
Oxford-Basil Reeve Graduate Scholarship
Oxford-Bellhouse Graduate Scholarship
Oxford-Bendich Graduate Scholarship
Oxford-Berman Graduate Scholarship
Oxford-Bob Thomas Graduate Scholarship in Chemistry
Oxford-Bounden Graduate Scholarship
Oxford-Broomhead Graduate Scholarship
Oxford-Calleva Graduate Scholarship
Oxford-Carolyn and Franco Gianturco Graduate Scholarship
Oxford-Cawkwell Graduate Scholarship
Oxford-Cecil Lubbock Memorial Graduate Scholarship
Oxford-Chelly Halsey Graduate Scholarship
Oxford-Clayton Graduate Scholarship
Oxford-Cocker Graduate Scholarship
Oxford-David Jones Graduate Scholarship
Oxford-DeepMind Graduate Scholarship in Computer Science
Oxford-DeepMind Graduate Scholarship in Engineering
Oxford-Dr H Y Mok Scholarship
Oxford-Drue Heinz Graduate Scholarship
Oxford-E P Abraham Research Fund Graduate Scholarship
Oxford-Edward Orsborn Graduate Scholarship
Oxford-Elizabeth Murphy Graduate Scholarship
Oxford-Engineering Graduate Scholarship (Shilston)
Oxford-EPAbraham Cephalosporin Fund Scholarships
Oxford-Ertegun Graduate Scholarship
Oxford-Farthing Graduate Scholarship
Oxford-Hoffmann Graduate Studentships in Medical Sciences
Oxford-Indira Gandhi Graduate Scholarship
Oxford-James Martin Scholarship at Keble College
Oxford-Jeffrey Cheah Graduate Scholarship
Oxford-Jerry Hausman Graduate Scholarship
Oxford-John and Pat Cuckney Graduate Scholarship
Oxford-John Oldacre Foundation Graduate Scholarship
Oxford-Leon & Iris Beghian Graduate Scholarship
Oxford-Louis Curran Graduate Scholarship
Oxford-Mary de Zouche Graduate Scholarship
Oxford-Mary Frances Wagley Graduate Scholarship
Oxford-Merton Christopher Duggan Graduate Scholarship
Oxford-Murray Graduate Scholarships
Oxford-NaturalMotion & Oxitec Graduate Scholarships
Oxford-Nicholas Bratt-St John's Graduate Scholarship
Oxford-Oak Graduate Scholarship
Oxford-Particle Physics Graduate Scholarship
Oxford-Pearson Graduate Scholarship
Oxford-Percival Stanion Graduate Scholarship
Oxford-Prince's Foundation Graduate Scholarship
Oxford-R. E. Jones Graduate Scholarship
Oxford-Reuben Foundation Graduate Scholarships
Oxford-Richards Graduate Scholarship
Oxford-Rokos Graduate Scholarship
Oxford-Rothermere American Institute Scholarships at University College
Oxford-Ryniker-Lloyd Graduate Scholarship
Oxford-Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Graduate Scholarship
Oxford-Sir Anwar Pervez Graduate Scholarship
Oxford-Sir Colin Lucas Graduate Scholarship
Oxford-Sir David Weatherall Graduate Scholarship
Oxford-Sir Ivor Roberts Graduate Scholarship
Oxford-Sir John Swire & Rosemary Foot Graduate Scholarship
Oxford-Swire Scholarship in History
Oxford-Taiwan Graduate Scholarships
Oxford-Terence Gorman Graduate Scholarship
Oxford-Thatcher Graduate Scholarship
Oxford-The Queen’s College Graduate Scholarship
Oxford-The Simcox Family Graduate Scholarship, in memory of Constance Mary Simcox nee Killingback
Oxford-Ullendorff Graduate Scholarship in Semitic Philology
Oxford-Urquhart-RAI Graduate Scholarship
Oxford-Vincent Packford Memorial Graduate Scholarship
Oxford-Wolfson Assryiology Graduate Scholarship
Oxford-Wolfson Marriott Graduate Scholarship
Said Foundation Oxford Scholarship
Scatcherd Science Scholarships
Stavros Niarchos Foundation Graduate Scholarships
The Hong Kong Jockey Club Scholarships – Graduate Scholarship at the University of Oxford
University of Oxford Croucher Scholarship
Wolfson Graduate Scholarships in the Humanities (Wolfson Foundation)