How to Get PhD Funding?

7 minute read
PhD Funding

Having a PhD degree is an essential requirement for a scholar looking to have a stable career in academics. Getting selected for a PhD is a difficult process, you need to go through tough exams and interviews. But the story doesn’t end with being selected, you also need a PhD funding source to sponsor your research. So, if you are wondering how you can get PhD funding, read through the blog for details about PhD funding in various countries.

6 Ways to Fund your Phd

To find your golden ticket for pursuing a PhD, there are various ways such as postgraduate loans, fellowships, etc. Let’s check the 6 keys that can help you get a PhD funding.

  • Postgraduate loan: A Postgraduate Loan can support the tuition fees and living costs while you study a postgraduate master’s course. 
  • Studentship: A studentship or PhD scholarship is a popular form of funding for PhD students across the world. There are many universities offering different types of scholarships for students to ease the financial pressure. Some of which include merit-based scholarships, need-based scholarships, or specific scholarships. 
  • Research council grant: Research council grants are non-repayable amounts that cover the cost of tuition fees and provide a maintenance grant to support students They usually cover your three or four years of studying. Depending on the study program, and academic performance, the Studentships offered can cover either three or four years of your five or six-year PhD program. If you are planning to pursue PhD from the UK, Research council grants should be your first port of call when seeking any form of PhD funding. 
  • Crowdfunding: Crowdfunding means asking for support from family, friends, or any trusted person to fund your studies. It might be difficult but you must be able to lay out the benefits and importance of your studies.
  • Charities: There are various charities that can help provide funding for your PhD. These organizations might not be able to cover everything, students can combine multiple sources of funds from charities. They can incorporate it into what’s known as ‘portfolio funding’.
  • Employer sponsorship: If you are working in a company, you can use the employer sponsorship by pointing out how studying a PhD will not just benefit you, but the company as well. You must be dedicated and point out the essential details about how long is the PhD for and what is your research topic.

Studying PhD in India and Abroad

A PhD is perhaps the most important degree for a career in academic research, therefore it is very important to choose a good university to pursue your degree. If you are looking to apply for a PhD in India, here is a list of the top universities you can opt for according to the NIRF 2020 rankings:

University Rank Location
Indian Institute of Science 1 Bengaluru
Jawaharlal Nehru University 2 New Delhi
Banaras Hindu University 3 Varanasi
Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham 4 Coimbatore
Jadavpur University 5 Kolkata

Many students prefer to get their PhD degrees from universities abroad. If you are one of them, below is a list of the best universities worldwide according to the QS World University Rankings 2021:

University Rank Country
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) 1 United States
Stanford University 2 United States
Harvard University 3 United States
California Institute of Technology (Caltech) 4 United States
University of Oxford 5 United Kingdom

Studying in Canada can not only provide you with PhD fundings but also with a great career ahead in research. Here are some popular PhD in Canada with Scholarship options for you!

Cost of a PhD Degree

There is no fixed cost of getting a PhD degree, it varies both university and country wise. In India, getting a PhD is considerably cheaper. Govt-funded institutions charge much less than private institutes. A PhD degree in India can approximately cost anywhere between Rs. 2000 to more than Rs. 20000 per year. 

The cost is much higher if you opt for universities in the UK or the US. The approximate annual cost for a PhD degree in the UK for international students is around £18000, while in the US it can go much higher- around $28000 to 40000. Germany is a much cheaper option, with the semester fees being around €250. But there is no need to get discouraged by the high costs, there are various sources for PhD funding that you can avail yourself for your research.

How to Get PhD Funding?

For a PhD, the main issue remains its funding. There are various universities, councils and organisations that offer PhD funding to qualified students. Other than that, there are specific scholarships too. Here we list down some of the sources from where you can get funding for your PhD.

Scholarships and Fellowships

Scholarships are financial grants given to students for further studies or research work. There are many scholarships and fellowships available for PhD scholars both in India and abroad which provide full or partial funding depending on the amount granted. For getting a scholarship, the candidate has to qualify for the requirements, which may include an exam or a brilliant research proposal. Here is a list of a few scholarships for Indian students you can apply for:

Scholarships in India International Scholarships
UGC-NET JRF Fellowship Charles Wallace India Trust Scholarships (UK)
CSIR UGC-NET JRF Fellowship Oxford and Cambridge Society of India (OCSI) Scholarships
Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Fund Scholarships Saltire Scholarships (Scotland)
Google PhD Fellowship India Program Rhodes Scholarships at Oxford University for International Students (UK)
Fulbright-Nehru Doctoral Research Fellowships Friedrich Naumann Foundation Scholarship for International Students (Germany)
ICHR Junior Research Fellowships (JRF) Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung Scholarships in Germany for International Students (Germany)

Here are some more PhD Scholarships for you!

Research Council Grants

There are Research Councils for specific fields and disciplines all over the world which support research in their respective fields. Research councils grant funds for research and these can be availed by PhD students.

Some of the research councils in India which provide PhD funding are:

  • Council of Industrial and Scientific Research
  • Indian Academy of Sciences
  • Indian Council of Historical Research
  • Indian Council for Philosophical Research
  • Indian Council for Agricultural Research
  • Indian Council for Social Sciences Research
  • Indian Council of Medical Research

In the UK the research councils have been grouped to form an umbrella organisation known as the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). National research Councils in many countries like the US, Canada, and Italy provide research support. Similar organisations exist all over the world and so, you can apply for PhD funding from the respective council’s website.

Academic Institutions and Universities

The best way to fund your PhD is to receive stipends from your university. Many universities provide full or partial PhD funding, and such details are generally available on their respective websites. Universities in the UK mostly provide partial funding for research to PhD scholars, while few universities offer full funding. Many universities in the US offer stipends that cover all the costs to be incurred.

In India, registered PhD scholars not availing of any other scholarship or fellowship are entitled to receive a basic stipend from the university. Thus a major number of universities provide funding to their PhD scholars, all you need is to check the official website for the details before applying.

Must Read: Engineering Scholarships

Funding Organisations and Studentships

Other than academic institutions and research councils, various other organisations provide funds to PhD scholars in India and abroad. These scholarships provided by the organisations are a major source of funds for PhD scholars worldwide. For example, in Germany, more than 20000 organizations (both public and private) provide PhD funding to international students. 

PhD scholars can also opt for studentships that require them to work as teaching or research assistants and their own research. Studentships provide a good opportunity to gather relevant work experience along with providing funds for your research.

How to Get PhD Funding in India

Students who wish to a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) program in India can avail themselves of the various scholarships and funds provided by the government and private organizations. Here are a few of the scholarships that provide PhD funding in India.

  • Prime Minister Fellowship for Doctoral Research
  • Fulbright-Nehru Doctoral Research Fellowships
  • Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Fund Scholarships
  • Physical Research Laboratory Junior Research Fellowship
  • Google PhD Fellowship India Program
  • ICHR Junior Research Fellowships (JRF)
  • ICSSR Doctoral Research Fellowship
  • Maulana Azad National Fellowship
  • NCERT Doctoral Fellowship for PhD
  • CSIR-UGC JRF NET Fellowship
  • DBT-JRF Fellowship
  • FITM – AYUSH Research Fellowships Scheme

How to Get PhD Funding in the USA

Pursuing a PhD in the USA can open numerous opportunities for students. Here are a few government and university scholarships to get PhD funding in the USA.

  • Foreign Fulbright Student Program
  • Humphrey Fellowship Program
  • American University Scholarships
  • Amherst College Scholarships
  • Berea College Scholarships
  • Clark University Scholarships
  • Colby-Sawyer College Scholarships
  • Columbia College Scholarships
  • Concordia College Scholarships

How to Get PhD Funding in Germany

While state-funded institutions charge no tuition fee for native and international students, there are various scholarships provided for PhD funding in Germany. 

  • DAAD (Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst) Scholarships
  • ERASMUS+ scholarship
  • Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS) Scholarships
  • Einstein International Postdoctoral Fellowship
  • Oscar Romero Scholarships
  • John Monash Scholarships 2021
  • Marie Skolodowska-curie actions
  • Deutschland Stipendium

Explore German Scholarships for PhD Programs

How to Get PhD Funding in Canada

Another sought-after country for PhD is, Canada. The country provides many facilities for postgraduate studies. Here are a few ways to get PhD funding in Canada through government and private institutes.

  • Queen Elizabeth Scholarships
  • Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships (Vanier CGS)
  • Trudeau Scholarships and Fellowships
  • Canada Memorial Scholarship
  • Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships
  • IDRC Research Awards:
  • NSERC Postgraduate scholarships

Benefits of Studying PhD Abroad

For the students thinking of pursuing a PhD, a matter of concern remains whether they should pursue their PhD in India itself, or try getting their degree abroad. For a PhD degree, the most popular countries include the UK, the US and Germany. If you are apprehensive about whether you should get your degree from abroad or not, here are some benefits that you can get from abroad:

  • Universities abroad offer a huge choice of specialization within a particular subject.
  • You get a chance of getting global exposure which opens up a lot of opportunities.
  • You get to study in the top international institutes.
  • You get a chance to study a specially designed syllabus according to global standards.
  • You get to study under some of the best instructors in the field.

Hope this blog was useful in addressing your concerns about PhD funding. If you are looking for options to pursue a fully-funded PhD abroad, our team at Leverage Edu can help you with selecting the perfect university as per your requirements.

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