Fees and Funding

Scholarships and funding

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Research degree scholarships and funding opportunities 

We offer a wide range of funding opportunities for research students. Our main awards are listed below and you can search our Scholarship Finder to see what else you might be eligible for.


Explore the full range of scholarships

Loyalty discounts for postgraduate students

If you're one of our graduates, studied abroad here or have a spouse/partner studying here as a full-time international student paying overseas fees, we'll give you a loyalty discount on the tuition fee for your first year of postgraduate study at Essex.

Alumni loyalty discount 2022-2023

If you successfully complete a University of Essex validated Bachelors degree, Masters degree, Postgraduate Diploma or Graduate Diploma, either at Essex or one of our partner institutions, you may receive an Alumni Loyalty Discount token. This can be spent on one year of postgraduate study at either Masters or PhD level.

If you have an Essex undergraduate degree then the discount will reduce your first year tuition fees by:

  • 33% if you achieved a First
  • 25% if you achieved a 2.1
  • 10% if you achieved a 2.2

If you have an Essex Masters degree, or a Graduate or Postgraduate Diploma then the discount will reduce your first year tuition fees by:

  • 33% if you achieved a Distinction
  • 25% if you achieved a Merit
  • 10% for successful completion

University Campus Suffolk applicants

Following the launch of the University of Suffolk as an independent institution, students studying towards a joint University of Essex and University of East Anglia award, are no longer eligible to receive the Essex Alumni Loyalty Discount.

Study abroad loyalty discount

If you studied abroad at Essex, you can benefit from a 10% discount on the tuition fee for your first year of postgraduate study.

You must have spent at least one term at Essex as a non-graduating student on a study abroad programme. You must also be registering for your first postgraduate course at Essex (either taught or research), following completion of your study abroad.

This discount is only available if you are fully self-funding your tuition fee.

See our Study abroad loyalty discount terms and conditions 2022-23 (.pdf) for more information.

Spouse discount

If you are the spouse/civil partner of a full-time international student paying overseas fees and wish to register for a part-time taught-course here, you will pay the Home/EU fee for that course while your spouse/civil partner remains registered at Essex.

You must have valid immigration permission that allows you to study part-time in the UK for the duration of your course. The University is only able to sponsor international students studying full-time courses under Tier 4 (General) of the UK’s Points Based Immigration System.

Scholarships and bursaries

Scholarship/bursary/
studentship/fund name
Valid year of entry Who it's for 
School of Life Sciences PhD studentships 2022-2023 PhD students in our School of Life Sciences
British Council Newton Fund 2022-2023
Funding for individual partner country students to undertake full PhD studies in the UK, or vice versa
Computer Science and Electronic Engineering PhD Studentships 2022-2023

PhD students in CSEE

Please contact the department for more information

Postgraduate Research EU Scholarship 2022-2023
Students from the EU who are classified as international fee paying students in academic year 2021-2022
Faculty of Science and Health Studentships 2022-2023
PhD students in our Faculty of Science and Health

Doctoral training centre studentships
CHASE (AHRC) studentships Postgraduate research students in the arts and humanities
Eastern Arc studentship Postgraduate research students in digital humanities, quantitative social sciences and synthetic biology
EnvEast (NERC) studentships Postgraduate research students in environmental science
SeNSS studentships Postgraduate research students in the social sciences
Soc-B studentships
Postgraduate research students in biological, medical and social sciences

You can also use our Scholarship Finder to help you work out what you may be eligible for.

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Impatient to stay at Essex?

Stay at Essex and save up to 33% on your postgraduate tuition fees. Find out more and discover loads of other great reasons to stay at Essex.

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Other sources of funding

UK Government loans

A Postgraduate Doctoral Loan can help eligible students with course fees and living costs while you study a postgraduate doctoral course, such as a PhD.

You can get up to:

  • £27,892 if your course starts on or after 1 August 2022
  • £27,265 if your course started between 1 August 2021 and 31 July 2022
  • £26,445 if your course started between 1 August 2020 and 31 July 2021

If you apply after your first year

You can apply for a Postgraduate Doctoral Loan in any year of your course. But if you apply after your first year, you might not get the maximum amount.

You can get up to:

  • £11,836 if your course starts on or after 1 August 2022
  • £11,570 if your course started between 1 August 2021 and 31 July 2022
  • £11,222 if your course started between 1 August 2020 and 31 July 2021

What you need to know

  • Whether you qualify depends on your course, your age and your nationality or residency status.
  • The amount you’ll get is not based on you or your family’s income.
  • The loan will be paid to you in 3 instalments of 33%, 33% and 34% each year. After your application has been approved, you’ll be sent a letter with your payment dates or you can check them in your online account.
  • You get the first payment after your course start date, once your university confirms that you’ve registered.
  • Use your online account to change your personal details, for example bank, contact details or course details.
  • You may qualify for other funding, for example grants from charities or trusts.
  • You will not be eligible for an Adult Dependants’ Grant, a Childcare Grant or Parents’ Learning Allowance from Student Finance if you’re studying a doctoral course.

A ‘home fees’ assessment by the University does not guarantee Government funding for fees or living costs. The Student Loans Company will conduct its own eligibility assessment. If you have been assessed as eligible for home fees based on an application to the EU Settlement Scheme, your entitlement to Student Loans Company funding for fees or living costs may be affected in future years if your status changes. Once registered at the University, all students, regardless of funding source and fee status, are liable for their fees. Further information can be found in the University’s Tuition Fees and Liability Policy and on our fee status page.

For further information and how to apply

UK government student finance information

If you are from Wales

Most students starting a full-time or part-time postgraduate Doctoral course can apply for a Postgraduate Doctoral Loan to help with your course costs. How much you get does not depend on your household income.

You might also be able to get extra help on top of this if you have a disability.

You can borrow up to:

  • £27,880 if your course starts between 1 August 2022 and 31 July 2023
  • £27,265 if your course starts between 1 August 2021 and 31 July 2022

To check eligibility and for further details please visit Student Finance Wales.

Proficio

We want you to have access to all the training and development you need to excel in your research degree, which is why we give all our research students up to £2,500 funding to curate a tailored training plan with Proficio.

EU student funding

Following the UK's decision to withdraw from the European Union, EU students who started their studies after October 2021 are likely to be classed as international students for tuition fee purposes and you will need to pay international fees. We'll assess your fee status when you apply to Essex and if you are successful in gaining an offer, your fee status will be confirmed in your offer letter. Visit our fee status page for more information.

EU students starting their studies after October 2021 will no longer be eligible for UK Government funding unless you have settled or pre-settled status. For more information, please see our changes after Brexit webpage.

We offer a wide range of scholarships, studentships and bursaries to make funding your studies easier, including our Postgraduate Research EU Scholarship worth up to £8000. If you're an Essex graduate or studied abroad here and your PhD is your first postgraduate course with us, you could also be eligible for our alumni loyalty discount. There are country-specific funding opportunities, please see our country pages for more information.

International student funding sources

There are country-specific funding opportunities, please see our country pages for more information.

If you're a US student you could be eligible to take out a US direct loan.

Alternative Guide for Postgraduate Funding

Our University currently subscribes to the Alternative Guide to Postgraduate Funding. This independent guide to financing postgraduate study can be an invaluable tool to anyone considering study beyond undergraduate level. The Guide is free to use for our current and prospective students.

You can access the resource using the following PIN: 2529.

Research councils

Research council funding is primarily available via doctoral training centres. However, it's worth checking the research council for your subject to see if they are offering any other studentships or funding:

Bank Graduate loans

You might be able to apply for a graduate loan, either from your own or another high street bank. Make sure you compare the various packages on offer to find out which is best for you. A first step is to look online for sites which do this for you and then make an appointment to talk to the local branch of the banks which interest you. Don't be put off if you already have an existing overdraft. Many banks will now take on the responsibility of this is you are taking out a graduate loan.

Private loans

The best option when financing your studies is a government-funded student loan, but if that isn’t enough to cover all your expenses, or you’re not eligible for government support, Future Finance offer loans to UK, EU and international students with a UK domiciled address. They offer amounts from £2,000 - £40,000 to cover both tuition and living costs.

Charitable trusts and grants

Information about charities and trusts that offer awards and sponsorship to students and their application procedures can be found in the Educational Grants Directory and The Grants Register. Copies of these are available in our Albert Sloman Library, as well as in most public libraries.

You can also try a grants search at Turn2us. Use the keyword "higher education" and then narrow your search by filling in other information about yourself.

Many charities and trusts are only able to award a small number of grants each year, so competition can be fierce. To be in with the best chance of receiving an award it is a good idea to:

  • research charities and trusts carefully as they may have eligibility requirements (eg based on your area of residence, family background and subject area)
  • apply as soon as possible (many give deadlines for applications)

East 15 Acting School - charitable trusts and grants

Funding for Acting and Drama courses can be limited and competition for grants is fierce, but it’s worth looking at the sources of funding above as well as these, which are aimed specifically at students in your field:

For ideas of how to secure additional funding take a look at Damian Gaskin’s booklet ‘How to Raise £40,000 and train at Drama School’ (.pdf). (The author has asked you to bear in mind that this was written in 1996, well before all the fundraising advances that the internet and social media have given you and so needs to be read in that context. Please do not contact the author himself for sponsorship!)

You can also take a look at Degrees For Free which has some useful and interesting ideas for fundraising and money-saving. (There is a book of the same name, but don’t feel compelled to buy it, the website is useful in its own right!)

Students with children, carers and care leavers

We provide information for parents, carers and care leavers, including additional sources of funding that you may be eligible for.

Sponsorship

Some companies offer to sponsor students, and this is becoming an increasingly common source of funding in certain subject areas, primarily the sciences. Some firms will also consider finance-related disciplines such as accountancy and business studies.

Financial assistance offered by a company will usually be accompanied by work experience which you might be asked to undertake during your holidays or after graduation.


Financial support for students in difficulty

We and the Students' Union offer financial support if you are experiencing difficulty with your finances in the form of a bursaries, grants or loans depending on your situation. Have a look on our Financial Support page for more information.

 

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How to pay

Find our tuition fee payment policies and information on how you can pay your tuition fees.