There are many external organisations that offer funding to 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:
- The Alternative Guide to Postgraduate Funding
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 firstname.lastname@example.org for a PIN to access the guide.
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
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.