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Funding postgraduate research

Funding a postgraduate research degree is not as hard as you think. We have a generous package of scholarships, bursaries and discounts for research students. And we can point you towards a whole range of external funding sources, such as research councils.
  • 15%


    for UEL alumni

  • 5%


    for early payment of fees

Finding funding for your research

By studying for a postgraduate research degree, you’re investing in your own future, as well as advancing knowledge. Whatever your goals, the knowledge, skills and experience you’ll gain will help you stand out in a competitive world and earn more.

Financing your research degree will always be a major consideration. Fortunately, UEL offers a generous range of bursaries and course fee discounts for postgraduate students.

There are also many sources of third-party funding. Our Graduate School can advise you about these - including guidance on making applications - although it cannot offer to find funding on behalf of prospective applicants.

Our Student Money Advice and Rights Team (SMART) can also provide advice on funding, as well as tips on budgeting and managing debts.

Need advice on funding your research degree?

Contact our Student Money Advice and Rights Team (SMART) for more information on fees and funding options for postgraduate research students.


Fees and discounts for research students

Our postgraduate research programmes attract the same tuition fees per year across all Schools, but we offer discounts if you are a UEL alumnus, or if you pay upfront.

For details of fees, see individual research course pages.

Some postgraduate research programmes may charge additional bench fees - these are primarily for lab based programmes  - of up to £6,000.

What are we offering you?

If you’re a member of UEL’s Alumni Association, you are automatically eligible for 15 per cent off your postgraduate fees. The offer applies to all UEL alumni, however long ago they graduated.

Who’s eligible?

You should previously have been awarded an undergraduate degree, postgraduate degree, professional doctorate or a postgraduate research degree from UEL or one of its predecessor institutions, such as the Polytechnic of East London.

You cannot apply for the alumni discount if your course involves distance learning or if you are studying towards a master’s and diploma in Architecture (RIBA Part 2), a PGCE, a post-compulsory education and training (PCET) course or any short course or courses worth less than 120 credits.

How do I apply?

Just mention on your application form that you previously studied at UEL, and include your old student ID number. The 15 per cent discount will be deducted from your tuition fees after any other scholarships, and before any early payment discount is applied. It can also be used alongside other scholarships and funding.

You can save five per cent on your postgraduate course fees if you pay them in full before mid-September in the year you start your course. For January 2016 entry, you need to pay your fees by 22 January 2016.

External funding

What’s on offer?

Trusts and charities offer postgraduate students small grants which don’t have to be repaid, although there is stiff competition for available funds.

Details of what is on offer will depend on the individual organisation and sector involved. is a useful starting point for research on charitable organisations and trusts.

Who’s eligible?

To receive an award, you will have to satisfy very specific conditions, depending on your course. Charitable grants tend to be one-off payments rather than awards that continue throughout your course. So, even if you are successful, you will probably need to find extra funding sources elsewhere.

How do I apply?

You should study the website of the charity or trust you are interested in for details of how to apply for any grants they offer.

A Professional and Career Development Loan is a commercial bank loan you can use to help pay for work-related learning. Loans range from £300 to £10,000.

Find out more about professional and career development loans on the UK government website or call the National Careers Service on 0800 100 900.

UEL is a Professional and Career Development Loans registered Learning Provider, registration number 3416.

If you are in work, your employer may sponsor you to do a postgraduate course. Under this arrangement, your employer agrees to pay, or contribute towards your tuition fees for a course that’s directly relevant and beneficial to them. This might include accountancy or technical roles such as planning and engineering.

Most people studying for postgraduate qualifications are self-funding and gain their qualification through a combination of paid work and study.

What’s on offer?

If you are planning postgraduate research in architecture, you may be able to apply to the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) for funding.

The RIBA Research Trust Awards support independent architectural research at any stage of an architect’s career, to a maximum of £10,000. You cannot use the award for PhD or MPhil course fees or subsistence costs, so your application must include a detailed breakdown of costs.

Who’s eligible?

The RIBA Research Trust Awards are made to named individuals for a closely defined piece of architectural research. You can apply if you are based in another country, but your research work must be mainly carried out within the UK.

How do I apply?

Read the information on the RIBA website or contact Hayley Russell, RIBA Education Projects Co-ordinator, on +44 (0)20 7307 3678 or at


Charikleia Margariti

MPhil Psychology

 “UEL’s School of Psychology offered me a very interesting research project in my field of Health Psychology. I was really excited to work with the research team, and my supervisors gave me a very interesting experience. The bursary UEL offered me was quite enough for London's expenses.”


At UEL we have a dedicated Student Money, Advice and Rights team (SMART). They provide advice and information on funding, bursaries and scholarships, managing your money and much more. 

If you are not sure of your entitlement, would like help apply for any of the funding or would like advice regarding any other student finance matter, please email or call 020 8223 4444.

Yes. You can apply for a Professional and Career Development Loan (PCDL) of between £300 and £10,000.

Once you have been accepted by UEL for a postgraduate course of study, you can ask our Disability and Dyslexia Service for advice on whether you qualify for the Disabled Students Allowance (DSA).

Yes, subject to our credit control procedures.  For further information please contact our Credit Control team at creditcontrol or call 020 8223 7333
When you enrol at UEL, you need to tell us how your fees will be paid. If your employer is sponsoring you, select the option on UEL Direct, ‘I expect to receive support from a commercial sponsor’. Both you and your sponsor should complete the Sponsorship Form and then send it to our Credit Control team. Alternatively, you can ask your sponsor to send a letter to Credit Control on headed paper, stating the amount of their sponsorship. Once Credit Control receives either of these documents, your enrolment will be complete.

Check out what financial support is available on our International pages or speak to one of our international advisors.