Postgraduate funding is complex, and there are many different sources... but no guarantees! The only areas of postgraduate study for which there will generally be some funding available are social work and and certain clinical careers including nursing, medicine and physiotherpay. There are also some bursaries available for teaching - see Get into Teaching website for details.

Find out about sources of funding for postgraduate study as soon as possible. There is funding out there but be prepared to compete. Apply early, and if the most obvious sources don't work out, be ready for a more creative search.

For PhDs the main sources of funding are the research councils and university studentships. For research council funding, you need to apply to academic departments rather than direct to the research councils. See our guide to How to Apply for a PhD for more information. Structures and methods of funding of PhD programmes varies widely - increasingly funding for PhDs is organised through Doctoral Training Centres. You are advised to start researching opportunities as early as possible so that you don't miss out on deadlines.

There is little research council funding available for Masters programmes - check individual research council websites:

The main source of funding for Masters courses are university scholarships - check out the website of the department/course you are thinking of studying, and see the link below to funded postgraduate opportunities.

For both Masters and PhD programmes, funding may also be available from government departments (in the area you intend to study), or from trusts or charities. Turn2us and the Alternative guide to postgraduate funding (available online from the Student Funding service and in hard copy in the Careers Service) are good places to start looking for charitable and trust funding - the Funding Information Resources below suggest other places to look. Employers sometimes sponsor employees, and many postgraduates fund themselves through Professional and Career Development Loans. These aren't so attractive because they place tighter limits on subject of study, eligibility criteria and the amount of funding. Loans also have to be paid back, and not under such good terms as those for undergraduate loans from the Student Loans Company.

Further reading, contacts and links