I have been very concerned about a friend who is considering studying PhD here in the UK. He wants to study music composition in RCM / Trinity Laban / guildhall music school.

I have been thinking about the financial issues he will be facing as an EU student (coming from EU).

I know that the government is offering up to £25000 doctoral loan, but that is definitely not enough to cover the living costs + fee, and also if he is applying for doctoral loan, he won't be able to apply for any scholarships / other funding.

I am desperate to look for an answer for him, I would love to know what are the options. And what type of funding is available? Any stipend or teaching/working for the university during his PhD?

(I honestly don't know much about PhD but I want to help him, and I have been digging through the web for every piece of info I could find.)

  • There is no question that Brexit will be disruptive to such people.
    – Buffy
    Jul 12, 2018 at 12:06

1 Answer 1



The government loan is a great tool, but you can still apply for school funding, you're right, this will mean he will not be able to get funding from a UK research council, but they still have other options.

Also to mention, the idea of school funding is that you can afford to live of it, most PhD's take-home £1200, which is more difficult in London.

The loan could be useful if he goes on to get a fees only scholarship or something, but yes, by itself its pretty useless.

If you try and get school funding, this usually means you agree to around 100 hours of unpaid teaching per year.

If they just get the loan, or Research Council funding, or any other funding not from the school, expect to earn around £15-£20 per hour for teaching. A bad thing about this is that you do not get paid any prep time, which is generally needed as an early stage PhD still coming to grips with the subject.

The website I found my funding from was jobs.ac.uk it gives lots of options and representative examples.

As a last resort, there is also bank style loans for PhD students.


You will not be able to get a Postgraduate Doctoral Loan if:

  • you’ve received or will receive Research Council funding (for example, studentships, stipends, scholarships and tuition fee support)
  • you’re receiving a social work bursary
  • you’re eligible to apply for an NHS bursary (even if you’re not receiving it)
  • you’re already getting payments from student finance for another course that you’re studying
  • you’ve received a Postgraduate Doctoral Loan before - unless you left your course due to illness, bereavement or another serious personal reason
  • you already have a doctoral degree, or a qualification that’s equivalent or higher
  • you’re receiving a doctorate by publication
  • you’re behind in repayments for any previous loans from the Student Loans Company
  • Your course

So from what I read here, he will only not be allowed the loan if he gets research council funding, so he still could get school funding!

  • But I thought if he applies for Doctoral loan he won't be able to get scholarship or anything else? I am just getting very overwhelmed by what options are available.
    – user94929
    Jul 12, 2018 at 13:09
  • Do you need a better answer? :)
    – user22485
    Jul 12, 2018 at 16:59
  • @user94929 Doctoral loans are a new extension of a system which already exists for short postgraduate degrees (and are thus poorly understood by everyone in the system), but my understanding is that they are intended as "last resort" funding, for students who haven't received other funding from more traditional government funding sources, but are still intent on studying for a PhD. Note that there aren't very many of those for study in arts & the humanities, compared with science and technology.
    – origimbo
    Jul 13, 2018 at 0:00

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