Astrophysics PhD funding

The Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics is part of the Department of Physics and Astronomy within The University of Manchester. Each year the Department offers a wide range of studentships and bursaries available to high calibre home (UK settled), EU and overseas (non-EU) applicants. Below is a description of the bursaries and studentships we offer. Please note that the application deadlines may vary between schemes.

If you wish to apply for one or more of these awards please indicate this clearly in the application form under the funding source section.

Note that applications for all schemes except for STFC studentships require sponsorship by the proposed supervisor. Make sure to contact proposed supervisor(s) well before the deadline so that they can submit your funding application.

Some application deadlines are indicated as "for full consideration". In these cases later applications are still welcomed and will be dealt with on a "best efforts" basis (i.e. contingent upon available funding).

STFC studentship

Available to home and EU applicants. Deadline for full consideration: 24 Janurary 2020

The UK Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) allocates to us a quota of funded 3.5-year PhD research studentships each year. Candidates for these studentships must have (or expect to obtain prior to starting) a first or upper second class honours degree in a relevant physics-related subject, or have a physics-related masters-level postgraduate qualification.

UK and EU students may apply. However these studentships will only cover tuition fees for EU students who are not already settled in the UK; they do not provide a maintenance grant in this case. For UK applicants the studentships cover both tuition and maintenance.

EU students who have already been resident for at least three years prior the start of the PhD may also be eligible for full STFC tuition and maintenance funding. EU applicants should read the STFC Terms and Conditions guidance to check their eligibility and to see what is covered by STFC funding. EU who do not satisfy requirements for full STFC funding may wish to be additionally considered for the limited number of Department EU bursaries (see below) to help cover maintenance costs.

President's Doctoral Scholarship (PDS)

Available to home, EU and overseas applicants. Deadline: 20th November 2019 (first round)

This prestigious scheme is strongly supported by the University's President and Vice Chancellor Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, with around 100 elite studentships on offer each year for PhD study across all areas of the University's research portfolio.

The PDS award gives the most outstanding students from across the UK and from around the world a foundation to support research training with prominent academics across a full range of subjects.

PDS Award funding will be allocated to our most outstanding applicants seeking PhD training opportunities. Applicants for the PDS should have a first class degree and/or a distinction-level masters award in a relevant physics subject prior to taking up the studentship. The assessment panel will look for evidence of outstanding research promise for the recipients of this award, such as authorship of research publications, especially in peer-review journals. Applicants who are not from a majority English speaking country must have a valid English Language certification valid at the time of application.

Potential candidates are advised, in the first instance, to contact a member of staff who may be a suitable potential supervisor for your preferred project. They will be able to advise you on the preparation of your PDS application. Candidates should go through the normal PhD application procedure and include PDS as one of the potential sources of funding. Applications missing the first round may be eligable for further rounds or for Dean's awards (see below), depending on circumstances. Contact us for more information.

Further information is available from the University PDS award page.

Dean's award

Available to home, EU and overseas applicants.

The Faculty of Science and Engineering has historically offered a number of PhD studentships (also known as Dean's Awards) in previous years. These awards are open to all nationalities and research areas within the Faculty, with a similar procedure and requirements to the PDS scheme above.

Dean's award funding is usually anounced in Janurary or Feburary with a deadline shortly afterwards. Therefore applicants are encouraged to apply by December.

Overseas Researcher Scholarship (ORS)

Available to overseas applicants. Apply before 15th Jan for full consideration.

A limited number of Overseas Research Scholar Awards are usually awarded annually by the Department of Physics and Astronomy. ORS bursaries pay the difference between fees payable by UK/EU students and those payable by overseas students. They are highly competitive and early application is advisable.

Research Scholar Awards for European Nationals

Available to EU (non UK) applicants. Apply before 15th Jan for full consideration.

A limited number of bursaries are usually available  to cover tuition fees and contribute up to £7,500 per annum towards the cost of maintenance.

Bell Burnell Graduate Scholarship Fund

The Institute of Physics have launched the Bell Burnell Graduate Scholarship Fund to encourage greater diversity in physics. Applicants from under-represented groups in physics may be eligable to apply for a studentship and/or additional support from this fund. 

At the time of writing, the under-represented groups are defined by the fund as: women, students of Black-Caribbean, Back-African and other minority ethnic (BAME) heritage, students with disabilities, or who require additional funding to support inclusive learning, LGBT+ students and students from disadvantaged backgrounds who may struggle to find the levels of funding needed to complete their studies.

Full details of the scheme, including eligability criteria and application process, can be found on the IOP webpage:

Applicants thinking of applying to this scheme are encouraged to contact the Department postgraduate admissions team for further advice.

International and regional funding programmes

Country-specific funding schemes for EU and overseas students.

The University of Manchester has links with a wide range of international funding organisations. Please see the University postgraduate research funding opportunity search page for details of possible funding schemes from your country that may allow you to study astrophysics here at Manchester.

▲ Up to the top