Guide to external funding sources


There are many external organisations that offer funding to both undergraduate and postgraduate students (prospective or current), and it's worth exploring this avenue as a way to secure funding for tuition fees, maintenance and, if applicable, research expenses.

These organisations include charities, trusts, foundations and professional bodies, and they all have different funding provision, eligibility criteria, and application procedures.

Most organisations have a limit on what they can award, and it's rare to secure full funding for the entirety of your programme from just one source. It's therefore worth applying to as many organisations as possible (after checking that you're eligible), and trying to secure multiple awards. Be aware that some or all of your applications may be unsuccessful, so make sure you have a contingency plan before you start your studies.

Where to search

The following websites* offer details of relevant organisations:

This online guide provides information about alternative sources of funding - especially charities - which can make awards to any student regardless of what you are studying, or what your nationality is. 

It contains a huge database of funding opportunities, comprehensive guidance, and tools to help you prepare a winning grant application. Goldsmiths has purchased a licence to the guide, so all students and staff can use it for free.

If you are a prospective student who is applying to Goldsmiths, please email for a PIN to access the guide.

* Find out more about funding options for international students

It's also worth visiting your local library and looking through one or more of the following publications for information on grant-making bodies:

  • Educational Grants Directory
  • Charities Digest
  • Grants Register
  • Directory of Grant Making Trusts

There's a lot of information out there so be aware that this could be a time-consuming process.

Examples of grant-making bodies

Here are a few examples of organisations that offer funding to students:

Name of organisationValue of award Eligibility Further information 
Leverhulme Trade Charities Trust up to £3,000 Students who have a parent or spouse who is a grocer, chemist or commercial traveller
Funds for Women Graduates variable Female postgraduate students in the final year of their PhD or writing up
Anglo-Danish Society up to £2,000 Postgraduate Danish students
Il Circolo – Italian Cultural Association variable Italian students & up to £1,000 Students applying for relevant subjects at Masters or PhD level

Postgrad Solutions £500 Prospective postgraduate students
Canada Memorial Foundation One year's tuition fees, plus personal maintenance allowance and additional grants UK citizens studying at postgraduate level in Canada
Commonwealth Scholarships Tuition fees plus living allowances UK citizens applying for postgraduate study in India
Thesis Write-up Scholarship  £2,000 Students of universities that have the Editex scholarship listed in their scholarship pages, or an ongoing relationship with Editex regarding the provision of academic writing resources and editing services
Matinee Voice Over Scholarship £800 Prospective undergraduate and postgraduate students Scholarship £1500 Students aged 16-35
Activia Training Annual Scholarship £1,000 See website
Orla James Wedding Scholarship £900 Open to students who have been accepted onto a higher education course at a recognised institution
Scholarships for 
PhD and split-site 
(phD) study - 
country citizens
Up to 36 
months' support
towards completion of a 
three-year full-time
doctoral postgraduate
at an eligible
UK university
See website

Top tips for funding applications

1. Prepare in advance. You should start looking for funding around 10-12 months before you intend to start your studies. If the deadline for an award has passed, it's unlikely that the funding body will accept late applications.

2. Check eligibility criteria. This may seem obvious, but most funding bodies have strict criteria for the allocation of funding. Don't apply unless you meet their criteria.

3. Spend time on your application. Funding bodies receive lots of applications, so it's important that you take time to communicate your skills, interests and qualifications properly. If you're making multiple applications don't just copy and paste the same content into every application form – make sure you tailor applications accordingly.

4. Find a suitable referee. Start contacting potential referees now, in case you're required to submit a reference with your application.

5. Have a contingency plan. It's important to be realistic about the chances of receiving funding and you should always look for alternative sources of funding for your studies.

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