Funding Postgraduate Study Abroad

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There are clear benefits from spending a period of postgraduate study abroad; increased employability, improved language skills, a broadening of horizons and gaining an international perspective, to name but a few. But how can it be financed? This article will give you some initial pointers to sources of funding for postgraduate study and research abroad at Masters, PhD or postdoctoral level.


Studentships or scholarships are provided by universities, organisations or private donors to fund course fees and/or living expenses for postgraduate study. See the Studentships section of this site to search for Masters or PhDs both in Europe or further afield that have funding of this nature attached.

Study In Europe

If you are an EU citizen wishing to study in another European country you are entitled to pay the same course fees as a national of that country. In many European countries tuition fees for postgraduate study are lower than in the UK and in some countries, such as Sweden, there are no tuition fees for EU citizens. However, you do have to factor in living costs and how they may differ to the UK and costs of trips to and from home.

Funding sources

  • Graduate Prospects Country Profiles are a useful starting point for information; types of postgraduate study available are listed for each country along with costs and scholarship opportunities.
  • The Education and Training section of the European Union  website has useful information including details of Erasmus Mundus, a scheme that provides scholarships for joint Masters and Doctorates involving study in more than one European country or in partnership with non European higher education institutes.
  • You may also be interested to know 160 research grants are awarded annually by EU member states for UK students to study PhDs in Economics, History and Civilisation, Law and Political and Social Sciences, with a European perspective, at the European University Institute in Italy.
  •  It is also worth looking at Research Councils UK European Funding pages.

Study Outside Europe

If you choose to study outside Europe you must remember you will classified as an international student and fees will be a lot higher than for a national. Sourcing scholarships or studentships may be essential to assist with funding. 

Funding sources

  • The Leverhulme Trust is a good starting point; it offers study abroad studentships for postgraduate and postdoctoral research and grants for international travel.
  • The Research Councils UK International Funding Opportunities pages will be of interest if you wish to spend a shorter time abroad. Schemes are available to support activities that foster international collaboration, through initiating or further developing relationships between researchers in the UK and another country.
  • The Commonwealth Scholarship Commission (at the time of writing), offer scholarships to study in Canada and Singapore (with the possibly of NZ and India in the future) for PhD study and post-doctoral research fellowships.
  • - Everything you need to know about Australia's Education System and Education New Zealand for information about New Zealand's Education system.
  • The Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation is a UK charity that offers scholarships for British graduates to study Japanese and do work placements in Japan. 

Study In The Us

The Fulbright Commission offers a wealth of advice and information relating to postgraduate study in the US and funding support. Postgraduate Student Awards are available each year to help finance the first year of postgraduate or doctoral study in a range of subjects or to attend a US university as a ‘special student researcher’. Scholars and Fellows Awards are available for academics and professionals to study/conduct research in the US. As you would imagine there is a competitive application and interview process.


It is also possible to study in the US on an Assistantship. Assistantships are offered to PhD students or those on research focused Masters degrees where funding is offered in return for services to a university, such as teaching, research, lab supervision or working in a campus office for about 15-20 hours per week. This is also a good way to get valuable work experience.

This article has hopefully given you pointers towards just some of the organisations that offer funding opportunities for postgraduate study abroad. There are a multitude of other sources of funding available detailed on the web - allow plenty of time to research whether the study you propose is feasible financially and to make applications for funding.

Not sure if postgraduate study abroad is worthwhile? Take a look at the companion article Advantages of Postgraduate Study Abroad

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