find your perfect postgrad program
Search our Database of 30,000 Courses

Posted June 19, 2017

How much does it really cost to study a PhD in the UK?

Cost of PhD BlogMaking it through to the academic level of studying a PhD in the UK is in the thoughts of many fresh-faced new undergraduate students. But when the time finally comes and you are considering a PhD, knowing about the costs involved will help with your decision-making.

Tuition fees

The first thing most people think about when considering further study is the PhD tuition fees. It's a little confusing to those who have recently completed a taught undergraduate or postgraduate course, but fees for research degrees are much lower. The standard tuition fees paid by UK and EU students are set by the Research Councils UK for research Masters and PHDs. International students will find fees quite a bit higher but comparable to taught courses and other fees you will have encountered. For example, the tuition fees at the University of Leicester are £4,195 per year for students from the UK and EU and vary between £13,600 and £29,465 for international students.

Potential for a fully funded PhD

It is possible to get a fully funded PhD. It's hard to believe when you come from the taught degrees of the undergraduate world, but some students get paid to research. Many students have a combination of funding sources, but start your search for PhD scholarships at the institution that has accepted your research proposal. The Research Councils UK distributes funds through university departments, so that is the first place to look along with charities, international governments and even crowdsourcing online. Otherwise, why not start by finding a fully funded PhD place? Keep an eye out wherever university jobs are advertised like who advertise full-time PhD studentships across the UK. You might find a fully funded studentship and a research proposal that is the perfect fit.

Living costs

If you are receiving the Research Councils UK stipend, then that's great news as it's tax-free. However, it will have to cover all of your expenses. Living costs vary across the UK, especially housing and transport. Studying outside of London will keep your costs down. Cities in the UK, such as Sheffield and Liverpool, have much lower costs of living that can stretch out your funding as will sharing accommodation and choosing to live nearby to your campus. Many universities will give you an estimate of living costs whilst studying your PhD with them. The University of Sussex estimates that students will spend around £162 to £236 per week, not including socialising. Also, if you are an international student, make sure you think about the costs associated with returning home when considering living costs.

Working whilst you study

Some PhD studentships are called Graduate Teaching Assistantships and these include a requirement to spend time teaching and assisting with the undergraduate and postgraduate taught courses. Ensure that you find out exactly what is expected of you before you accept, but you will find that these PhD studentships are better paid than others without the teaching assistance element. Otherwise, it might be a good idea to think about studying part time instead and working part-time as well. This would mean it would take around six or more years to complete your PhD rather than three to five years on a full-time basis, but it would free you up to earn some money while you study.  If you are an international student, then you must remember that you will have restrictions on what you can and cannot do when considering work. Keep a close tab on the changes in funding in your field of study as just because the funding isn't available now, doesn't mean it won't be in the future. If you are really stuck, then choosing to study part-time until your funding is in place will at least get you started.

PLEASE NOTE: As a result of Brexit, from Autumn 2021 postgraduate students from the European Union studying at a UK university will be charged the same tuition fees as international students. UK students studying their postgraduate course at a European university are also likely to incur higher tuition fees than their EU counterparts. It is advisable to check with the individual universities in the UK and Europe for up-to-date information on tuition fees for all postgraduate programs.

Related articles


Scholarships For PhD Students In The UK

How Long Does It Take To Get A Doctorate Degree

How To Find A PhD

ABC of PhD

Is A PhD Right For Me?

Postgraduate Funding & Fees Information

How Much Does A Masters Degree Cost?

Postgrad Solutions Study Bursaries



RAM HARI BARIIK Nov. 27, 2017, 5:32 p.m.

I will be grateful to you if you kindly give details expenditure per annum informations for studying Ph.D in KINGSTON UNIVERSITY, LONDON.

Charlotte King Nov. 28, 2017, 10:12 a.m.

Hi Ram,

The cost of studying a PhD at Kingston University depends on whether you are a home or international student - and whether you are studying full time or part time.

This table of information from Kingston University should provide you with all the information you need:
I hope this helps.

Kind Regards,


Muhammad Asif Feb. 27, 2018, 12:51 p.m.


How many work hours allowed to international students whilst studying PHD?

Best regards
Muhammad Asif

Charlotte King March 1, 2018, 1:19 p.m.

Hi Muhammad,

The amount of hours international students are allowed to work on the UK will depend on your visa - but it is usually 20 hours per week during term time. Check the information here: and check with your visa. It is also important to make sure that your work doesn't interfere with your PhD studies

Kind Regards,


M.O.Gunasekar. July 20, 2018, 11:46 a.m.

I'm M.O.Gunasekar and an Environmentalist from India.
I wanna do a PhD(Environmental sciences) course with fellowship in the UK but i haven't got any idea about procedure for PhD admission. So what will I do for my admission?

Charlotte King July 22, 2018, 4:02 p.m.

Our section on PhDs contains useful information about PhD admissions:
It is also worth contacting the university that you are interested in studying at and finding out about their exact requirements.
Good luck!

David Ditchfield Nov. 23, 2019, 3:16 p.m.

Hi if somebody is receiving the uk research council stipend... And they drop out of their research programme. Do they haave to pay back their stipend?

Charlotte King Dec. 1, 2019, 6:35 p.m.

Hi David – I would assume that they would have to pay back the stipend if they dropped out of their research. But it's best to check with the finance providers to see the conditions of the stipend.

Lynn Dec. 26, 2019, 4:07 p.m.

Hi. A stipend isn't enough to live on when you have pay rent from it. Can a stipend be combined with a grant to help with expenses? Thank you.

Charlotte King Dec. 30, 2019, 9:03 a.m.

Hi Lynn – in most cases you should be able to combine your stipend with other grants and bursaries, but check the terms of the stipend first. If you have been accepted on to a postgraduate program for study in 2020 you are eligible to apply for one of our Postgrad Solutions Study Bursaries 2020 worth £500 – there is more information here >

Tile Nov. 30, 2020, 12:17 a.m.


PhD in UK is 3-4 years. Do you pay tuition fees yearly for only 3 years or the 4 years? Thanks

Charlotte King Dec. 1, 2020, 6:15 p.m.

Hi Tile – it depends on your PhD program,. You will usually pay your tuition fees annually – however it is best to check with the admissions office as to what you actually need to pay. Good luck.

Nayak Pavani Jan. 8, 2021, 4:15 p.m.

Hii ,
Actually i am Pursuing my mba (hr ) in india . But i want to do phd in uk. Some of my friends suggest that it might be difficult to apply for phd from india . So they suggest to do masters (hr)in uk .. so i want to do masters again in uk and afterwards I want to do phd . So can i know how much i have to pay for phd ?

Charlotte King Jan. 13, 2021, 9:54 p.m.

Hi Nayak – The cost of studying a PhD in the UK can vary between courses and between universities. Obviously you will be subject to international student tuition fees, which can range from around £15,000 to in excess of £35,000. However you may find that you meet the eligibility requirements of certain scholarships and other funding opportunities so look out for relevant funding. Good luck.

Parth Manakikar Sept. 9, 2021, 3:43 p.m.

Sir I have got Admission for PhD in Environment Sustainability at University of Glasgow and my fee is 19,000 pounds per year so is that the whole fee or fee for just 1 year

Parth Manakikar Sept. 9, 2021, 3:45 p.m.

Sir I have got Admission for PhD in Environment Sustainability at University of Glasgow and am having some great difficulty in obtaining funding for my PhD research can you please help me

Charlotte King Sept. 12, 2021, 11:36 a.m.

If the course fees are listed as being Per Annum then that will be your annual tuition costs. We do offer Postgrad Solutions Study Bursaries worth £500 each towards your tuition fees and the deadline for applications is the 30th September so you still have time to apply – here's the link >

Leave a comment