For most research postgraduates we expect that their study will be supported by some form of funding or scholarship. There are many possible sources. Some are directly awarded by us; others require a separate application by you but we are involved in the decision process; some might be directly obtained by you (e.g. funding from your own country). Some will cover the entire cost of your studies, including a stipend for living costs; others may cover partial costs, such as fees only, costs for one year only, or the difference between home and international fees.
We provide a guide to the main sources of funding for Informatics students here:
Find out the funding sources for which you are eligible, and make sure you meet their requirements and application deadlines. Study hard, get good grades, give the people who are writing your references reasons to be impressed with your abilities, devote serious thought to your research proposal, and get in touch with potential supervisors. Submit your application as soon as you possibly can, including all supporting material (transcripts etc.).
Each funding scheme has its own application deadline, so you will need to check. The earliest deadlines (excepting Commonwealth Scholarships) are usually in January or February for students expecting to start in September or October. The second main set of decisions, particularly for internal scholarships, require you to have applied by March.
No. Only applicants who have already been assessed as academically suitable, and as falling within an appropriate research area, can be considered for funding, which requires a formal online application:
Many funding sources require candidates to have already received a formal offer of admission. Therefore, we often accept a candidate for admission long before it is clear how funding will be handled. This should not be interpreted as a decision not to offer funding unless the offer makes it clear that no funding is available - you should hear later about the funding decision. You might be able to use this letter to apply for funding yourself.
However, if you do not receive a further, funded offer, acceptance of this offer means you are intending to come as a self-funding student (see below).
Again, this depends on the funding scheme. In general we should be able to inform you about funding by May; wherever possible, earlier information will be provided. Often we have a reserve list for funding in case some applicants do not accept our offer, in which case the final funding decision may be in July or August.
We are sometimes able to make early offers to exceptional candidates, particularly those who have received an offer from elsewhere and need to respond before our decision is due. Please contact us if you are in that position.
No. Your supervisor may be able to advise you about what to expect, but only the formal offer letter from the University outlining your funding is official. You should ask your supervisor to contact the graduate school to request that this letter is issued.
No. When you accept a self-funded place, you are agreeing to fully cover the costs of your study, which are clearly set out in advance, from your own resources.
Should we not be able to offer funding, our decision is not subject to revision. You may supplement your income by undertaking tutoring and demonstrating (see below) but this can only make a minor contribution to your overall budget.
There are some sources of funding for which existing students are eligible, and you will be encouraged to apply for these where appropriate, but you should not rely on success in obtaining such funding to continue your study.
You may supplement your income by undertaking tutoring and demonstrating, and some of these jobs are called teaching assistantships, but such jobs will not suffice on their own to finance PhD study.
Different funding schemes use different terms - you may also see the term ‘fellowship’ - but there is no practical difference as far as Informatics at the University of Edinburgh is concerned.
This article was published on Oct 17, 2012