I have been offered a PhD position in Cultural Geography at one of University of London's Geography departments. Unfortunately, I missed out on funding for a start in 2014 so I will not be capable of kicking off. I already have a MA in the field of media studies, but this is potentially too distant to the field of my PhD intentions to receive funding. I was advised by my future supervisor to self-fund a Masters in the field of Cultural Geography, to enhance chances of ESRC funding for 2015.

As my financial capacities are very limited at the moment, are there any other ways of increasing funding chances during the upcoming year instead of pursuing such MA degree? I will soon be co-publishing my first article in a highly relevant journal but am afraid this would not suffice without the relevant MA degree.


Your future supervisor has almost certainly already given you the advice that is most likely to be successful: self-fund a relevant Masters. However, in your position, it sounds like that's not an option.

There are some other options, and you could try one or more of these:

  1. Continue publishing good research articles in your target field.
  2. Go inter-disciplinary into a well-funded area; as I wrote in an answer to another question, find a multi-disciplinary centre for doctoral training, where you can better apply the knowledge and skills you've already got.
  3. Pick a funded university where the battle for funding would be less competitive. The University of London is a peculiar beast, which contains some very highly-rated, competitive universities, and some less so.

Have a think about those, and discuss with your potential future supervisor. They'll be in a far better position than I am, and possibly in a better position than anyone else here, to assess your options.

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