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Planning the costs of your PhD degree

By Talk Postgrad

Wednesday 10 April 2019 Funding

Studying for a PhD for three or four years is likely to take some consideration, especially around the issue of the costs and where you could find funding.

If you are a UK, or in somes cases an EU student, you can apply for full funding for your PhD in the form of a PhD studentship. This will be in the form of a tax free sum to cover your fees and a living stipend. EU students sometimes receive the fees but not the stipend.

Usually a studentship like this is only available to full-time students but some universities also make some PhD funding available for overseas students.

Here are some of the other costs you need to think about:

Living costs - including accommodation and family

Contact your university as early as possible as it may have postgraduate accommodation that is not too expensive if you have to live away from home, or may have schemes to help you find other PhD students you may be able to share with.

If you have a partner or spouse or a child that you'd like to bring with you whilst studying, check with the university as early as possible to find out what family accommodation they have available for students.

Check out the university websites that can give a general idea on the cost of living in that area, which will be different depending on where you study in the UK.


If you're going to be travelling by public transport work out the travel costs to and from the campus. If you are travelling by car, you might be able to park for free at the university but they may charge, so check to find out.

Whilst you are studying

There might be conferences you either need or want to attend whilst you are studying. Many academic departments have travel funds for PhD students to attend conferences but places may be limited, so always register early if you want to attend a particular conference.

Clubs and Societies

Many universities have specific clubs and societies for PhD students - some social and others related to a course or subject. They are a great way of making friends, getting support, helping you with networking and development and sharing experiences with other PhD students . Some will be free of charge, while others will charge a fee which you will need to take into account.

Have a look what postgraduate clubs and societies have to offer here.


As a student you'll be eligible for student discounts from cards like TOTUM. Check with the students' union what local offers are available to students.

The costs of a PhD can seem daunting but the benefits, both whilst you are studying and in the future, can be really important. There are various ways of funding your course, from universities and charities and other general funders. Have a look at Talk Postgrad's articles for more helpful information.