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Posted Oct. 7, 2018

PhD Tuition Fees in the UK: The Lowdown

PhD Tuition FeesPhD tuition fees in the UK can vary significantly depending on what you want to study and whether you are considered a home student or an international student.

PhD Course Search

There are plenty of funding options available to PhD students in the UK including getting paid to research with a studentship

Tuition Fees 

The amount that universities can charge for research degrees in the UK is governed by an organisation known as the United Kingdom Research and Innovation (UKRI). For 2018 the tuition fees charged for PhDs in the UK was £4,260 per year. However, these tuition fees are only applicable to UK and EU students, international students have to pay the full tuition fee charged by the institution. This will vary by university, but also in each university itself, for example the University of Leicester charges anywhere from £14,850 to £32,175 per year and Queen Mary University of London charges between £15,500 and £43,560 per year. 

Funding Options 

Subsidies & Loans 

If you are a UK student planning on studying in the UK, then you can apply to the UK Government for a loan for postgraduate Doctoral studies. To UK resident students this will be a familiar routine by the time they start considering a PhD. Alternatively, private loans are the answer for many students as the majority of banks in the UK will offer UK resident PhD students career development loans which are repayable after you complete your studies. 


The UKRI decides each year the minimum amount that universities are allowed to pay as a stipend for studentships. Applying for PhD studentships is more like applying for a job at the university, but you are working on a research project, often with a team of other students and academic staff. Every university will advertise their studentships online and through academic journals. Searching for a studentship is where networking comes into its own as students you have previously studied with and lecturers or tutors you have previously been taught by will be well placed to keep an eye out for new and exciting positions opening up. The downside to studentships is that you have not chosen the research topic, but in many areas, especially the sciences, you may find a studentships position that reflects your interests and passions. 

Scholarships & Bursaries 

Ideally, you can start your PhD with full funding in place. The reality is that, unless you have a postgraduate studentship, you will find yourself searching for funding throughout your PhD. PhD scholarships and bursaries are a brilliant answer to this. You will find that all sorts of organisations will offer funding to PhD students, including the institution you are studying at who will produce lists of scholarships and bursaries available to their students. Again, this is where networking proves how useful it is and those contacts of yours who have been researching in the area for a number of years may be able to point you in the right direction. Applying to scholarships and bursaries can take a surprisingly long amount of time, so start early. And don’t forget if you have been offered a place on a PhD you are eligible to apply for one of our Postgrad Solutions Study Bursaries.

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.

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