A list of major sources of funding provided by organisations external to the University is provided on the Graduate Admissions External funding page. This funding is managed by organisations external to Oxford and therefore they will use different application processes and closing dates. If you have any questions about an external funding opportunity, please contact the relevant organisation directly.
Loan funding is normally dependent on your country of residence, as it is often linked to government or state-run schemes, so you should contact your local education authority or your government's Department of Education for more information.
If government or local authority funding is not an option (particularly for countries which do not fund students to study abroad), you could look into the possibility of private education loans. UK banks rarely lend funds to non-UK residents, so you will need to approach lending institutions in your home country if you are an international student.
Wherever possible, apply for low interest government loans first and only consider applying for high interest private loans if you require additional funds. Be aware that some loan programmes may have a limit on the amount of funding that will be provided.
The UK government offers a loans scheme for UK students who started a Master's course between 2016/17 and 2021/22 and EU students between 2016/17 and 2020/21 to fund full-time and part-time master’s courses. More information about the loans is available on the master's loan web page.
Doctoral students from England and Wales who started a doctoral programme between 2018/19 and 2021/22 and EU students between 2018/19 and 2020/21 may be eligible for a doctoral loan. Full details are available on the doctoral loans web page.
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 specialised approach.
A useful source of information for exploring funding opportunities from charities and voluntary organisations is the Alternative Guide to Postgraduate Funding. This award-winning guide by GradFunding is written by two UK-based former PhD students, who between them won over £50,000 from 50 different charity awards. It provides a database of alternative funding opportunities and 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.
US Department of Veterans Affairs funding
The University of Oxford is able to process applications for US Department of Veterans' Affairs (VA) funding (also known as the GI Bill or Post 9/11 Bill) and can complete and submit certificates of enrolment to the VA. Please refer to our US Department of Veterans Affairs funding webpage for further information.
Any employment during study must adhere to the University's Paid work guidelines. 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 your department or faculty for more information.
- Demonstrator opportunities: in the experimental sciences, demonstrators are sometimes required for practical classes.
- Research Assistantships: these roles are sometimes available in departments and faculties.
- Junior Deans: these positions 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 small stipend. These positions are normally advertised on college websites and 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 proof-reader. 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.
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?