A US/Canadian STEM PhD 'almost' always comes with monetary assistance from the supervisor. In some universities/programs, supervisors are able to individually recruit students along with monthly allowances. In most cases, students don't even need to submit a separate application for money.

Even PhDs in Hong Kong and Singapore come with full funding. Students don't even need to submit a separate application for money.

Why doesn't that happen in UK?

  • 2
    Even in Northern America, this likely depends on the field. I don't think that funding is (almost) universal in the social sciences, for example. Mar 26, 2019 at 20:43
  • 1
    Pretty rare in math and cs as well. It depends on the PI having heavy heavy grant funding.
    – Buffy
    Mar 26, 2019 at 20:57
  • @MorganRodgers, what they offer is TA positions, managed by the department, not by individual professors. You work for your stipend. It is also not normally related to your research.
    – Buffy
    Mar 27, 2019 at 10:20
  • Buffy makes a very important point - financial support in the US is common throughout STEM, but what is rare is any form of guarantee that this support is to work on research. Note that the US has become famous for having the most expensive undergraduate (and usually masters) degrees anywhere in the world - in this context, being paid to TA for such classes being the common form of support should be much less surprising.
    – BrianH
    Mar 27, 2019 at 15:00

2 Answers 2


It does, supervisors in the UK can support PhD candidates with funding - based on the research projects they are recruited to...

Some PhD's have funding through external companies especially those in some engineering disciplines - usually found in universities that have strong links with industry such as research involving stress & structures (I remember some funded by Westland...)


I can't comment on Canada (or UK), but most US Ph.D.funding ends up coming from Federal funding. The US has traditionally had a massive post WW2 investment in basic science at universities because of the Cold War (they also spent more on their military). In addition, there is very large funding of biology because "curing cancer" is a pretty easy sell politically. A few other areas (e.g. climatology) have benefited from recent interest and willingness to fund.

There could also be an issue of the US being more willing to fund university research than established researchers, but I doubt that (as there is a huge national lab system, NASA, NIH, etc.). Probably, it just comes down to the US government spending more on R&D overall.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .