Doctoral fees and funding

There are many funding opportunities at Surrey for postgraduate research students. Funding sources include the Doctoral College, academic faculties, industry and Research Council funding.

Funding your research programme

PhD students are expected to have their finances in place before they start their course.

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. 

Be aware, that once you are registered as a student at Surrey, there are very few funding opportunities available.

Take a look at our frequently asked studentship questions to make sure you are fully informed of your options.


All available studentships

We have many funded studentships opportunities at the University of Surrey. Be sure to check the funding information to see whether you are eligible and the application deadlines.

Doctoral training partnership in the science of the environment

The SCENARIO NERC Doctoral Training Partnership is a joint collaboration between the University of Surrey and the University of Reading.

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

South East Doctoral Training Arc (SEDarc) studentship

The South East Doctoral Training Arc (SEDarc) Doctoral Training Partnership, funded by the ESRC, is a centre of excellence in social science postgraduate research training, and is in partnership between six UK universities. SEDarc are offering ESRC fully funded studentships at the University of Surrey.

View the studentship

Research Councils

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.


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

If you're studying for a PhD within a doctoral training partnership, doctoral training centre or centre for doctoral training, your eligibility depends on whether your research is funded by a Research Council studentship. If it is, you won't be able to apply for a loan. Similarly, if you apply for a loan and subsequently receive research council funding you will required to pay back the loan.

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: