I am currently a year-one history PhD student at a UK University. I didn't get any fund from the school or outside. I just supported my study by myself relying on my personal savings and some helps from my parents.But the tuitions fees for international students in the UK are very high. The school cannot provide enough financial support for my outside research in China, the US and some other places. I feel difficult to continue my PhD now and I want to find a new institution which can provide me with a fund. But I have no ideas about how to talk with my current supervisor who is so kind as to help me to improve my research proposal for year one. Also, I am not sure the supervisor's attitude to the student like me in the new school. Can you give some advice for this? Thanks.


You seem to be in a box that is difficult to escape. You need funding and it sounds like you can't continue without it. So, think about that first, not about changing places.

I think the way to approach it in the short term is to sit down with your advisor (i.e. face to face) and say just that: I need funding or can't continue here.

After the conversation starts let it flow. Give the options you think you have, but ask if there are other options. The advisor probably has more experience with this.

Perhaps the advisor can either find you that funding, or suggest a way, or suggest a better place to continue your education. They can be a resource in figuring out what to do. Perhaps there are TA/RA positions open. Perhaps there are grants that apply.

If that fails, then look for another place, but make sure you have adequate funding before you jump.

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  • Thanks for your advice. I will have a chat with my supervisor for this stuff, but it might be difficult for funding in the UK. I mainly use my own money, I cannot do it without my support from my parents if I want to finish my PhD. Cost like travel, research-related activities or consumables of books are also very high, and the school only give a PhD candidate up to 250 pounds in one academic year. That is the reason I am about to find enough funding in other places. Thanks again. – Dante Jan 5 at 18:46

I sympathize, but why did you start this PhD without funding in the first place?

Imho the problem is not about staying or leaving, it's about having a real funding plan in any case: Finding funding for a PhD in history is not easy, but in order to do a PhD one needs at least 4 years during which one has to pay living costs and university fees, possibly also research costs such as travel and conferences fees. These expenses are fairly predictable and it wouldn't be very wise to keep burning your savings (or your parents' savings) without any guarantee that there's enough to reach the end of the PhD. In other words: be careful about the sunk cost effect.

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  • I started my PhD without funding because I was really into it. I was wondering if my personal savings and some of my parents might be enough for covering the whole costs of doing PhD. Although I mainly use my own money, I cannot do it without my support from my parents if I want to finish my PhD. You know, I am 26 years old, most of my friends can get good occupations to support their lives. But I can not, at least during the next 4 years. It is unfair for them to continue to support my study now, so I need to find funding by myself to support my study. Thanks. – Dante Jan 5 at 18:42
  • @Dante I'd suggest you start by calculating an approximative budget for the full duration of the PhD. If you want to count on your savings (or your parents') it's your choice, but make sure that you have the means to finish the PhD. Clearly finding additional funding would be safer, at least to cover your research costs and the university fees. Good luck! – Erwan Jan 5 at 19:38

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