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Funding your masters

Postgraduate study is expensive.Not only will you face tuition fees that could cost anything between £3,000 and £30,000 (an MSc in Financial Economics at Oxford will set you back £31,500!), but you will also need to pay for rent, food, bills etc.

Unless you are fortunate enough to have that kind of cash to hand, you will need to seek some kind of funding. Funding can come in a number of forms – either as a non-repayable award such as a scholarship, or as a loan.

University Scholarships & Bursaries

Many universities have their own fund which they distribute among their postgraduate students in the form of financial awards and prizes. Depending on the strength of your application, you could receive a full scholarship covering both tuition and maintenance, or the university might simply agree to pay your fees for you.

There is usually a greater amount of funding available for the sciences, meaning that competition is high for arts and humanities postgraduates.

Part-time study

The most straightforward way of funding further education is to do it part-time. By spreading the cost of a Master’s over two years, the demand on your finances will not be as intense. You will have extra time to participate in part-time work, meaning that self-funding is a much more manageable enterprise.

Ask at your university jobs service about part-time jobs, or hand out your CV to local bars and cafés. Part-time postgraduate courses can be intense though, so you need to strike an appropriate balance between your time spent working, and time spent learning.

Charities, Foundations & Trust

If none of these other sources have been fruitful, you can apply to educational charities for assistance. An example is The Wellcome Trust – the world’s largest medical charity. If your appeal is successful, you’ll receive partial funding. You’ll normally have to prove to the awarding charity that you do have some way of covering the remainder of your expenses.

Employer funded

If you wish to work in a particular profession, you may be able to get your employer to fund your postgraduate qualification. Persuading your employer isn’t impossible, but it certainly isn’t easy either. You need to convince them that paying for you to go back to uni will be good for their business. Many employers will instead offer training, so you can develop your career whilst you work. Research Council funding

The UK Research Councils also fund some research Master’s programmes.