How much does it cost to study for a UK doctorate?

We know from research that the most common problem faced by prospective postgraduate researchers is finding funding. There is not one answer to this question for all but it is important to ensure that your funding is sufficient to cover your fees and costs of your programme and also your living costs.

Circumstances differ but here are some questions you might want to ask a potential university.

Fees and funding:

  • What do the programme fees cover and what other charges might you be liable for? For example are there any additional 'departmental research costs', or charges for printing or other tangibles and how much could they add to your annual fees?
  • Will you incur other expenses through your research, for example, research equipment, fieldwork costs or conference attendance? To what extent would your funding source (if you have one) or host department be able to fund these?
  • What fees would be charged if you needed an extension beyond the normal period of study? These can rise sharply if you exceed your maximum period of registration
  • Are scholarships or bursaries available? There are often small amounts of funding that you can apply for from subject societies or specific bequests
  • Can you earn extra money through teaching or other part-time work in the university or elsewhere? What are the rates of pay for tutoring, demonstrating, marking etc.?
  • What happens if your research funding finishes before you do? Are any emergency funds available? Postgraduate researchers may qualify for university hardship funds.

Accommodation and cost of living:

  • Does the institution offer any suitable accommodation, on- or off-campus? If it does, can you stay all year round?
  • Is there suitable accommodation if you need to bring your family, or have other specific needs such as a disability?
  • Is any such accommodation specifically for postgraduates, or only for international students?
  • If you live somewhere off-campus, is there public or other transport, what does it cost and can you reclaim any of those expenses?  Is there car parking in the university?

Working part-time may be limited within some doctoral programmes but is a common way to offset the costs of doing a doctorate. There are also some limits on what is permitted for international doctoral researchers. International researchers considering a doctoral degree in the UK are advised to consult the EURAXESS UK website which has practical information on coming to and living in the UK as a researcher. Most UK universities have an international office which can be an invaluable source of local advice and help.