5 Best PhD Scholarships in the UK for International Students

//5 Best PhD Scholarships in the UK for International Students

The United Kingdom is undeniably one of the most popular and most quality destinations for higher education in the world. At the moment, the universities and colleges in this country host over 450,000 international students. On top of that, except the United States of America, there isn’t a single country that ranks higher than the UK in the QS Higher Education System Strength Rankings 2018. So, if you are hoping to pursue a PhD degree, the list of universities where you’d want to study most probably includes at least one or two from this country. But if you don’t have any, it must be the high living expenses in the country and the high tuitions at its universities that made you leave them out of your list. Good news, however, is that a bunch of very generous scholarships are available for international PhD students in the land of Brits. Below, we’ve listed for you five best PhD scholarships in the UK for international students. 

Best UK Scholarships for International PhD Students

1. Commonwealth PhD Scholarships

  • Scholarship Value: Full tuition funding, monthly living allowance worth £1,110 to £1,362, airfare

Commonwealth PhD Scholarships are meant for full-time doctoral students from 18 Commonwealth countries that are classified as least developed and fragile states. Recipients of the scholarship are awarded full tuition funding for their PhD program at a UK-based university, a monthly living allowance of £1,362 in the London metropolitan area or £1,110 outside it, as well as airfare. Moreover, some other allowances or grants like warm clothing allowance, study travel grant, and family allowance may also be offered.  

To be considered eligible for this PhD Scholarship in UK for international students, a candidate must have a relevant master’s degree. Having the support of a potential supervisor from a UK-based university is also required. Those who are able to afford to study in the UK without the scholarship won’t be considered eligible. Those who have already registered for a PhD or an MPhil leading to a PhD, at a university anywhere in the world are also not eligible for this scholarship. Selections are made based on three criteria: academic merit, quality of the research proposal, and potential impact on the development of the candidate’s home country.

2. Gates Cambridge Scholarships

  • Scholarship Value: Full tuition funding, annual maintenance allowance worth £17,500, airfare

The Gates Cambridge Scholarship program began its journey in 2000 after the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation made a massive donation of $210 million to the University of Cambridge. In addition to covering the University Composition Fee and airfare, it provides recipients with visa and Immigration Health Surcharge costs, as well as an annual maintenance allowance of £17,500. On a discretionary basis, it may include a variety of additional funding like academic development funding, family allowance, maternity/paternity funding, and hardship funding.

The number of Gates Cambridge Scholarship recipients may differ from year to year, but is usually something around 80. About two-thirds of them are PhD students. To be selected for this scholarship, a student must possess outstanding intellectual ability and leadership. Commitment to improving the lives of others is essential. Reasons for a candidate’s choice of program also have an impact on the scholarship’s selection process.    

3. Clarendon Fund Scholarships at University of Oxford

  • Scholarship Value: Full tuition funding, annual living allowance worth £2,502 to £15,009

At the University of Oxford, about 130 new graduate (both master’s and doctoral) students have been receiving Clarendon Fund Scholarships every year since 2001. The recipients are awarded full tuition funding, as well as living allowance or study support grant. For full-time DPhil students, the annual living allowance is £15,009, while that for part-time DPhil students is £2,502.

Whether a student comes from the UK or any other country in the world, they can receive Clarendon Fund Scholarship as long as they have proof of outstanding academic merit and potential. This applies to students taking on any subject area. An interesting fact about this PhD scholarship program in UK for international students is that it doesn’t require separate application from students. Anyone who has applied for a DPhil program at Oxford is automatically considered for the scholarship.

4. Warwick Chancellor’s International Scholarships

  • Scholarship Value: Full tuition funding, annual maintenance stipend worth £15,239

Chancellor’s International Scholarships at the University of Warwick are meant for the university’s most outstanding PhD applicants hailing from outside the UK. In addition to covering tuition entirely, these scholarships also include a maintenance stipend of £15,239 per year. The recipients will enjoy the funding for three and a half years. However, if they were already in their first year of study at the time applying for the scholarship, the length of funding will get shortened accordingly. As many as 30 students receive this scholarship every year, with the total annual allocation being around £2 million.

To be considered eligible for Warwick Chancellor’s International Scholarships, a candidate must either be applying for a PhD program at Warwick, or be enrolled on one of the university’s PhD/MPhil programs for not more than a year. Students from any discipline at the university are eligible, as long as they fall under the ‘overseas’ tuition classification.

5. Edinburgh Global Research Scholarships

  • Scholarship Value: Tuition waiver worth the difference between UK/EU and international tuitions

Edinburgh Global Research Scholarships are meant for international students who hope to complete their PhD degree at the University of Edinburgh. The number of students who receive this PhD scholarship in UK for international students every year is 30. The extra amount of tuition that international students usually have to pay compared to the UK and EU students is covered by this scholarship. Hence, the recipients get to study paying the same tuition as the UK and EU students. If they keep making satisfactory progress, they can enjoy the awards for a period of up to three years.

To be considered eligible for Edinburgh Global Research Scholarships, a candidate must have applied for admission to a full-time PhD program at Edinburgh. Those who have already earned a PhD or equivalent degree won’t be considered eligible. Applicants with outstanding academic merit and research potential are more likely to receive the scholarship. Financial status, nationality, proposed field of study, or any such factors don’t have an impact on the selection process.

I hope that this article on PhD Scholarships in UK for international students was helpful. If you are interested, visit the UK Scholarships Page!