Funding for a postgraduate degree will usually involve one of three categories here in the UK, which are either the charity route mentioned, government route of funding or professional funding. In this article however, we will only look at how to fund for your postgraduate degree using a charity which may be a great option for a lot of non-science based degrees.
Where to Look The two most prominent places to research for funding your particular degree would be the Grants Register, which is published every year by Palgrave Macmillan, and the Directory of Grant Making Trusts, which is also published annualy but by the Charities Aid Foundation. Both should provide ample information regarding all facets of postgraduate funding, including the deadlines for applications and which charities are particularly suited for your degree.
Another great place to browse for possible avenues of funding is the Alternative Guide to Postgraduate funding which should offer a number of sources where to look. Remember that, like many other aspects of postgraduate study, it is not simply enough to just apply but research is absolutely pivotal even regarding the funding aspects of a Ph.D. This booklet should give plenty of charities which provide adequate sources of funding for a number of degree, and it is a book compiled by those with first-hand experience since they were Ph.D. students themselves.
How to Apply From the resources given find out when the deadlines for applications is, and compile all necessary documentation in order for your application to be considered. Most students will know that the most difficult step to getting an application through is actually including all relevant documentation; this means that the application is not instantly returned or binned as soon as it is received.
Your application will likely include a proposal which will explain why you need funding and how you are different from other applicants. This may outline how your research is tied to a foreign country and is important for advancement in a particular field, or how you intend to do something innovative in an artistic field for instance.
Keep in mind that there are a number of applicants for charity funding and it is a difficult process, but this should not put you off applying particularly if you are at a disadvantaged position when it comes to studying.
Other Things to Keep in Mind Remember that while charities are definitely a perfectly valid avenue of funding for most students, it is likely that this will result in being a very last option for most. For instance, most science-based degrees (i.e. Maths, Organic Chemistry etc..) will end up being funded by a private organisation, while degrees with an artistic basis will be funded by sponsorship or other means. Charities only have a limited amount of funds when compared to other avenues, and only a tiny fraction of students will end up being funded by these means.
Remember to stay positive at all times and not be discouraged by figures alone. If you are a particularly brilliant mind and have plenty of ideas in terms of research, then there is certainly a good chance that charity funding for your Ph.D. is the right choice for you.
Useful Links Fees and funding
Funding your postgrad course in arts and humanities
How to save your postgrad cash starting right now
15 tips for frugal student living