Fees and funding

Find out about the fees and funding associated with postgraduate research study as well as the many studentships we offer including the Vice-Chancellor's Studentship Award and Doctoral College Studentship Award.


We appreciate that not all of those who want to start a doctoral programme will be able to self-fund their studies. For those who require financial support, there are options available to you.

Max Lu

"It is a priority for us to attract exceptional global research talent, in order to fulfil our mission to transform lives across the world through research and education. We are delighted to offer prospective international PhD students a generous funding package to support their development as future leaders in academia and beyond."

Max Lu, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Surrey

The generous Vice-Chancellor's Studentship Award is available for international students starting their doctorate in October 2019. The competition for 2019 entry is now open.

The University of Surrey’s Doctoral College runs an annual competition for the Doctoral College Studentship Award to fund PhD students. The competition for 2019 entry is now open. 


Marion Redfearn studied Chemistry at Cambridge and followed with a career in the Chemistry Department at the Central Electricity Research Laboratories (CERL) in Leatherhead, Surrey. After a lifelong career in a profession dominated by men, Mrs Redfearn made a bequest to the University of Surrey for a trust to allow female postgraduate students to gain a postgraduate qualification involving physics, chemistry, maths, electrical engineering or sound recording.

The competition for October 2018 entry is now closed. Details of the competition are included below for information. The competition for October 2019 entry will be advertised in due course.

Eligibility criteria

The Marion Redfearn Trust (MRT) provides funding for a new or existing postgraduate research student that satisfies the following eligibility criteria:

  • Be female and born in the UK
  • Have at least one degree gained at a university in the UK. You will need at least a 2.1 degree, or alternatively a 2.2 and merit or distinction at masters degree level.
  • Have demonstrated academic merit in the past and, in the opinion of the reviewing committee, be capable of demonstrating academic merit in the future
  • Be enrolled or accepted on a full-time or part-time postgraduate research programme in Physics, Chemistry, Biochemistry, Maths, Electronic Engineering or Sound Recording at the University of Surrey on 1 October 2018

The award

Scholarships cover tuition fees, an annual stipend and £1,000 per annum for research expenses for three years in the first instance. The stipend and fee levels for academic year 2018/19 will be in line with the RCUK rates of £14,777 and £4,260 respectively for full time students. This will be pro rata for part time.

The trust will cover 18 months of full time study or part time equivalent. Departments will need to match fund from other sources such as existing internal studentship funds, RCUK or external funds.


The deadline to apply for a place on a Surrey PhD programme is Tuesday 13 March 2018. Apply via the link in the PhD programme webpage.

MRT Application forms must be sent to phdstudentships@surrey.ac.uk by 4pm on 15 March 2018.

How to apply: step-by-step guide

1. Identify and speak to a prospective supervisor
Within the School/Department pages above you will find links to the academic staff lists. Use the lists to identify a prospective supervisor and contact them to discuss your project before submitting an application. You should also discuss the necessity for match funding for this Scholarship with your supervisor and the PGR Director.

2. Apply for a place on a PhD programme
Once you have discussed your project with a prospective supervisor you will need to apply for a place on a PhD programme. To apply for a place, please look at our programme listings  for a relevant programme and follow the online application process.
The deadline for applying for a place is 23:59 on Tuesday 13 March.

3. Prepare a studentship application

Your prospective supervisor will advise you if you should apply for a MRT scholarship. If you are selected to apply you will need to complete:

Image removed. Marion Redfearn Trust - Application Form 2018v6.doc

Please refer to Guidance Notes when completing your application

Image removed. Guidelines for 2018 Marion Redfearn Trust Scholarship Competitionv6.doc

Please submit your completed MRT Application Form by the deadline of 4pm on 15 March 2018 via email to: phdstudentships@surrey.ac.uk

For any queries please contact phdstudentships@surrey.ac.uk in the first instance.

The Wellcome Trust (The Trust) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have developed a new partnership that will provide opportunities for the most promising post-graduate students to undertake international, collaborative four-year PhD training based in both a UK/Republic of Ireland academic institution and the intramural campus of the NIH at Bethesda.

The seven UK Research Councils distribute public money to train new PhD students at UK universities. This funding is referred to as a 'Research Council studentship'. It has two components: a scholarship paid to the university up to the value of a student's PhD fees and a separate bursary paid directly to the student for living costs during their doctorate, also referred to as a stipend.

Some studentships include both components. Others are 'fees-only', with no additional living allowance.

Although the studentship is allocated by the Research Council, you do not apply to the respective Research Council, but to the university.

On this page you will find separate sections above regarding funding for SeNSS (ESRC) and TECHNE (AHRC) studentships at the University of Surrey. In addition, you can find information on Research Council and other studentships in the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences

As a SCENARIO PhD student based at the University of Surrey you will have the opportunity to participate in our leading research.

For available PhD studentships take a look at the SCENARIO NERC Doctoral Training Partnership website which is a joint collaboration between the University of Surrey and the University of Reading.

SeNSS DTP have launched the Call for the Supervisor-led Collaborative Studentship Competition. This is a call for the submission of collaborative research proposals by SeNSS supervisors who wish to apply for an ESRC-funded studentship to participate in their research project. Please see the following documents for further details:

The SeNSS Doctoral Training Partnership, funded by the ESRC is a centre of excellence in social science postgraduate research training, and is a partnership between the following Universities: City, Essex, Goldsmiths, Kent, Reading, Roehampton, Royal Holloway, Surrey, Sussex and University of East Anglia. Details of the next SeNSS studentship competition will be published in the Autumn of 2018.

SeNSS Collaborative Studentships

SeNSS is offering six collaborative studentships, each linked to a different research project. We are now seeking to identify the best candidate for each of these six collaborative studentships, to start their studies in October 2018. The research projects are listed below, and links are provided for where to find further information about each project, as well as how apply for one of these studentships. Find out more and apply. 

SeNSS ESRC-funded Post-Doctoral Fellowship

SeNSS is pleased to announce that it will be offering three ESRC-funded Post-Doctoral Fellowships (PDFs) per year, for the next five years, aimed at those in the immediately post-doctoral stage of their career. These PDFs are intended to provide the opportunity for Fellows to consolidate their PhDs through developing publications, their networks, and their research and professional skills. Find out more and apply.

We are pleased to announce the launch of a scheme of jointly-funded studentships between the ESRC South East Network for Social Sciences (SENSS) and the NERC Advanced Research and Innovation in Environmental Sciences (ARIES) DTPs. For clarity, this scheme is separate from the SeNSS collaborative studentship competition. Please see the following documents for further details:

As a member of the TECHNE Doctoral Training Partnership, University of Surrey students are eligible to apply for Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) studentships (stipend -2017/18 rate is £14,553 and fee waiver). TECHNE is a consortium of seven universities in London and the South East offering a rich and diverse training programme for doctoral students with a focus on interdisciplinarity and developing career potential both in and beyond higher education. TECHNE’s training programme is enhanced by input and placement opportunities provided by TECHNE’s 13 partner organisations (including the Barbican, Natural History Museum, Museum of London, BFI and Science Museum) in the cultural sector. Find out more.

TECHNE2 has made a strategic decision to offer 20% of its studentships as Collaborative Doctoral Awards (CDAs) as a commitment to praxis and interdisciplinarity and building relations with external Partners. CDAs are doctoral studentship projects which are developed as a collaboration between a university and an organisation outside higher education.  The scheme is an equivalent to the AHRC’s previous Collaborative Doctoral Awards scheme which the AHRC now wishes to be supported through Doctoral Training Partnerships such as TECHNE2. Please see the following document for further details:

Faculty studentships

At Surrey, we are committed to delivering pioneering research and ensuring that we attract the best researchers to help us stay world-leading. For this reason, we offer studentships for top-quality students. These studentships will cover your tuition fees at the home/EU rate and maintenance at the current Research Council rates for full-time or part-time study.

See a full list of available funded studentships offered at the University of Surrey offered by all our faculties.

Alternatively, find out more about available faculty studentships:

The Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Studentships is now open for October 2019 entry. These studentships are available for high-quality home/EU or international candidates.

Find out more and apply.

The Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences offers a range of studentships to high-quality home/EU or international candidates. Find out more and apply.

The Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences offers a range of studentships to high-quality home/EU or international candidates. Find out more and apply.


We may be able to support you financially with your studies. The University is pleased to be able to offer the following:

  • Fee scholarships: We have 37 scholarships available to support talented international doctoral researchers. These awards consist of a scholarship to cover the difference between overseas and UK/EU tuition fees. Apply now.
  • 25 per cent partial fee scholarships: We have 14 scholarships to support prospective international PhD students. Successful applicants will benefit from a 25 per cent international tuition fee reduction. Apply now.


Loans can help with supporting with the cost of postgraduate research study.

There are non-means tested loans available for those studying research-based programmes at masters level (such as the MRes and MPhil). For 2017 starts, these loans are up to £10,280 and are available for UK, EEA and Swiss nationals residing in England and EU nationals residing in the EU, EEA or Switzerland. They are open to anyone under 60 who does not have a qualification at masters level or above. To find out more about the postgraduate loan, findamasters has a step-by-step guide to applying.

You can also get further details on the GOV.UK postgraduate loans pages

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

Visit the Government's Doctoral Loans site for more information.

Employer sponsorship

If you want to do research within your current area of professionalism and believe that your doctorate will improve performance at work, it is worth discussing with your employer whether they may be prepared to help to subsidise or pay your fees. To get guidance on how to approach these conversations, we recommend you read the Prospects employer sponsorship information

Departments in the University also offer commercial studentships, these programmes are embedded in industry with a sponsoring organisation.

Charities and learned societies grants

Charities and trusts sometimes provide smaller grants, often for students from poorer backgrounds or those who have achieved academic excellence. You can find out more at your local library in publications such as Educational Grants Directory; Charities Digest; Grants Register; and the Directory of Grant Making Trusts. You can also use the Family Action grant search.

Certain societies also offer funding for postdoctoral research. They include:

Postgraduate research tuition fees

View a full list of our postgraduate research fees.

Bench fees

Some programmes charge a bench fee (also known as a research support fee) in addition to the tuition fee. The bench is charged to cover additional costs incurred by the academic department to support your research, such as consumables, materials, additional specialist training and trips. These costs are not covered by the tuition fee. The bench fee is calculated on a case-by-case basis depending on the nature of the research project and is independent from the tuition fee status of the student. 

If you are made an offer of admission to the University of Surrey, you will be notified of any bench fee applicable in your offer letter. Students or sponsors should contact the academic supervisor directly for information on the specific breakdown of what their bench fee covers.

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