What are the costs?

Postgraduate research is an expensive business. University fees are generally around £3,500 p.a, with accommodation and living expenses on top.

Who provides Funding?

Competition for funding is extremely fierce. There are, however, several bodies which provide funding for postgraduate research:

  • AHRC (Arts and Humanities Research Council): this is normally the first port of call. The AHRC awards selected universities funding for a certain number of students in a particular subject and prospective postgraduates will apply directly to the institution. AHRC funding pays both fees and maintenance for the full fee-paying duration of your course (usually 1 or 2 years for a Master’s and 3 years for a PhD). Generally, you must be a British resident to qualify for the full grant (EU citizens may apply for fees-only), and you must have both an excellent BA degree, an MA (if you are applying for your PhD) and a well-defined research project. See for more information. Take a look at the table we have compiled on which universities have received grants for the next 5 years ( and the funding pages of the institution(s) you are interested in. (NB: Please be aware that the AHRC’s process changed dramatically 2009/10.The details above pertain to the new system.)
  • University Studentships: increasingly, individual universities are offering studentships (fee waivers and possibly a maintenance grant up to roughly AHRC equivalent). These might entail up to 6 hours teaching, or researching somebody else's project, or indeed both. Nationality shouldn't be a problem, but if you are not an EU citizen you might have to make up the difference between EU and international fees. Check major university websites and/or e-mail the relevant heads of department/admissions tutors; keep a close eye on the German-Studies mail list and the advertisements on
  • Self-funding: as a general rule of thumb, if you can get yourself started, you will usually manage to cobble together enough bits and pieces to survive. You can always try to fund yourself for the first year and then re-apply for all of the above mentioned options for the following years. You might also want to consider starting your PhD part-time and switching to full-time registration later down the line. Find out from your prospective institution whether this is possible.
  • The British Federation of Women Graduates offers a range of financial support for those already embarked on study:
  • Funds for Women Graduates offers Foundation Grants to help women graduates with their living expenses (not fees) while registered for study or research at an approved institution of higher education in Great Britain:


When should I apply?

You should ideally start looking a year before you wish to begin your studies as deadlines often come unexpectedly early in the year. Subscribe to the German-Studies mail list (follow the instructions at, as one-offs are often advertised here; it is in any case an invaluable portal into the world of German studies in the UK.