skip to content

Postgraduate students who are financially in need due to Coronavirus (COVID-19) may apply to this fund for assistance.  During this time of high demand the Postgraduate Fund will run monthly rounds to reach as many students as possible.  Please see the dates at the bottom of this page.

Please note that the Student Funding Team will consider applications from students who have already received from the Fund this academic year.

Prior to starting their course, all postgraduate students are expected to have arranged sufficient funding for the duration of their studies. It is possible, however, that students will encounter unforeseen financial difficulties during their time here at Cambridge.

In such circumstances you should consult your College Tutor as soon as possible. They will talk with you about your financial situation and provide advice about appropriate sources of financial assistance. In genuine cases of unforeseeable hardship they may seek help from other funding bodies. Please note, however, that if you run out of money early in your course it is unlikely that the University will be able to provide sufficient funding for you to complete your course.

Your Tutor may advise you to apply for a Postgraduate Hardship Award. This scheme aims to support students who are experiencing financial hardship as a result of unexpected changes in their financial circumstances. The awards are intended to support students who would otherwise be unable to complete their research or study. The scheme is funded by the University and Trust Fund donations (the Lundgren Fund and Harry Desai Fund) and administered by the Student Funding Team.

Please note that:

  • Awards are not normally made for more than £2000.
  • All PhD students are eligible (including PhD students in their first year).
  • Applicants must currently be in financial hardship (speculative applications are not permitted).
  • Applicants must be able to demonstrate that their hardship is a result of unexpected changes in their financial circumstances, rather than a result of insufficient funding being available from the outset of the course.
  • Applications for thesis binding costs will be considered by the Postgraduate Hardship Fund, rather than by application through College Tutors (see the eligibility criteria and guidance below for further details). Please note that in order to be eligible students have to be in financial hardship. This scheme is partly funded through the Malati Sharma Memorial Award.


How to apply

1. Read the eligibility criteria and guidance.

2. Make an appointment to discuss your financial difficulties with your Tutor.

3. Complete the online Hardship Awards Application by the relevant deadline (table below). Please remember to submit your application before the deadline. 

4. Your application form* will automatically be sent to your Supervisor (who will be required to comment on your academic progress) followed by your Tutor (who will be asked to comment on your financial circumstances).

5.  Applications are assessed by the Student Funding Team and applicants are informed of the outcome of their application.

* If you need to edit your application, please be aware that you can only do this up until your Tutor submits their reference and before the application deadline. To edit your application, if you first log into the database you should see a summary of the application you have submitted and then an 'Edit application' button at the bottom of the screen. If you need to edit your application after the deadline, please contact the Student Funding Administrator (contact details below) and they can give you access.


Timetable (May to July 2020)

  Applications open Deadline for application submission Deadline for supervisor comments Deadline for Graduate Tutor comments Awards announced and payments made
April 2020 9 April 22 April 29 April 6 May May
May 2020 12 May 25 May 1 June 8 June June
June 2020 11 June 24 June 1 July 8 July July
July 2020 13 July 27 July 3 August 10 August August




Guidance for supervisors and tutors

Supervisors and Tutors who are providing references for applicants should familiarise themselves with the eligibility criteria and guidance above. In particular, they should note that applications cannot be accepted without the support of either Supervisor or Tutor. The attention of Tutors is also drawn to the list of documents that may be requested as evidence of a student's financial hardship.

The information on this page replaces any previous guidance referees may have received.



If you have any unanswered queries after reading the information above and the eligibility criteria and guidance, please contact