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Please note that from May 2018, all PhD students are eligible to apply to the Postgraduate Hardship Fund.  This includes PhD students in their first year of research and is a change to the previous criteria.

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.

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.


Timetable (from Michaelmas Term 2019)

  Applications open Deadline for application submission Deadline for supervisor comments Deadline for Graduate Tutor comments Awards announced and payments made
Michaelmas Term 16 October 29 November 6 December 13 December January
Lent Term 29 January 13 March 20 March 27 March April
Easter Term 29 April 12 June 19 June 26 June July
Long Vacation 29 July 11 September 18 September 25 September October





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 if either supervisor or tutor does not supply a reference. 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