Student in laboratory
Student in laboratory
Image credit: Phil Brooks

COVID-19 scholarship extensions for postgraduate research students

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 is now open to students who commenced their studies before 1 March 2020 and:
  1. whose original funding package has an end date between 1 March 2020 and 15 January 2023, or
  2. who have a funding end date beyond 15 January 2023 and can demonstrate specific personal circumstances that prevent them from mitigating the effects of the pandemic on their project (for example those who have a diagnosed disability or long-term illness, are neurodivergent, or have caring responsibilities).

Students who commenced their studies before 1 March 2020 but do not fall into either of the above categories will have an opportunity to apply in a future round. Note that applications under category 2 above can only be made in relation to personal circumstances, not difficulties in mitigation arising from the nature of the project itself.

The application deadline is 5 November 2021. 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.

Links to the divisional application forms can be found at the bottom of this page. Please note you must upload a supporting statement from your supervisor along with your application form, using the template available in the ‘related documents’ section on the right-hand side of this page. Here you can also find a sample application form for your reference. This will help you to ensure that you have all information ready before you begin to submit your application and may be particularly useful when discussing the application with your supervisor. Your application must be completed within a single session; it is not possible to save a part-completed application.

If you have concerns about applying using the application forms on this page, for accessibility or confidentiality reasons, please contact the relevant divisional email address below for advice in the first instance.

Students who were eligible to apply in earlier rounds are permitted to apply (or to reapply) in the fifth round, but should take note of the information in the section ‘About the support provided’ below. Reapplications should only be submitted where circumstances have changed (e.g. because of substantial additional disruption) or where students have been explicitly invited to do so in an earlier round (e.g. because their original application did not provide sufficient information).

A separate fund has been established to support self-funded and externally funded students (see FAQs below). Details of this scheme can be found on the COVID-19 Assistance Fund webpage.

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. 

UCC grace period in Michaelmas term 2021: the University will grant all students a four-week grace period before assessing liability for University Continuation Charges in Michaelmas term 2021. This will allow students to submit their thesis by Friday of 4th week (5 November 2021) instead of the normal deadline of Friday of 0th week (8 October 2021) without incurring the UCC for that term. There are currently no plans to offer a further UCC grace period in Hilary 2022 or subsequent terms, but the position will be reviewed again in Michaelmas.
 
This grace period will automatically be provided to you if you submit your thesis by Friday of 4th week, and you will not need to apply for an academic extension to cover late submission of your thesis during this period.

Eligibility

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
  • 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 open. Please follow the relevant link below to open your division’s application form. Divisions will communicate application outcomes in December 2021.

Humanities

The Humanities CSEF online application form can be found here.

Applications for the current round must be submitted by 5 November 2021. Please contact graduate.admin@humanities.ox.ac.uk with ‘CSEF’ in the subject line with any queries.

Mathematical, Physical and Life Sciences 

The MPLS CSEF online application form can be found here.

Applications for the current round must be submitted by 5 November 2021. Please contact graduate.studies@mpls.ox.ac.uk with ‘CSEF’ in the subject line with any queries.

Medical Sciences 

The Medical Sciences CSEF online application form can be found here.

Applications for the current round must be submitted by 5 November 2021. Please contact graduate.school@medsci.ox.ac.uk with ‘CSEF’ in the subject line with any queries.

Social Sciences 


Applications for the current round must be submitted by 5 November 2021. Please contact studentships@socsci.ox.ac.uk with ‘CSEF’ in the subject line with any queries.

Continuing Education 

Please contact gradschool@conted.ox.ac.uk for advice in the first instance. 

Appeals

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;

or

(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.

FAQs

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

Clarendon Fund 

Commonwealth PhD Scholarships (for high income countries)

Dulverton and Michael Wills Scholarship

ERC - European Research Council

Felix Scholarship

Gus and Jenny Rose Carey Graduate Scholarship

Helmore Fund Scholarship

Hill Foundation Scholarship

Hilla Ginwala Scholarships

Jardine-Oxford Graduate Scholarship

Linares-Rivas Scholarship

Oppenheimer Fund

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-Kaifeng Scholarships

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-Radcliffe Scholarships

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

Pirie-Reid Scholarship

Prendergast Bequest

Said Foundation Oxford Scholarship

Scatcherd Scholarships

Scatcherd Science Scholarships

Soudavar Fund

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)