I'm an undergraduate student in Physics and Mathematics, who plans to do a PhD in Physics or Mathematics. I know when you are doing a PhD, you can be a TA or RA if it is provided, so that you can handle financial issues or you could be accepted into the PhD program with funding or scholarship (I don't remember the correct term) but what about loans or any other financial support for international PhD students in US and UK?

By the way, if it any helps, wherever I go for PhD, I will take their citizenship, at least apply, since I have no intention going back to Turkey.

A side question: Apart from the loans, what is the general procedure for financial offer from the universities? I mean how does it work?

Note: I'm from Turkey.

2 Answers 2


In the US, financial aid from the US government under Title IV of the Higher Education Act (student loans, Pell grants, and work study) is available only to US citizens and permanent residents (and a small number of other categories of people who have some permanent status in the US.) Generally, foreign graduate students aren't eligible for this kind of aid.

Typically, individual academic departments make decisions on who to admit and who to offer teaching/research assistantships. If a department decides to offer you admission with an assistantship, you'll typically receive an offer letter from the institution describing the aid in detail.

  • 1
    In the US, foreign students on F1 visas have temporary status rather than status as permanent residents planning to immigrate permanently to the US. Once you've completed your degree you can try to find a job with an employer who will sponsor you for an H-1B visa and eventual permanent resident status, but there's no automatic path to immigration. Commented Aug 5, 2016 at 14:46

Well in Europe it depends a lot on the particular country. In general you have:

  • TA positions funded by the department
  • Research positions attached to a specific project. Usually, the professor managing the project decides who to get. Not much transparency here, if the professor likes you he gives you the position.
  • Research positions funded externally by governmental bodies. For example, in Belgium it's FNRS and FRIA. In UK one example is EPSRC. These are usually very competitive and there might be some restrictions (EU citizen, etc.)
  • Other funding from not for profit or charitable organizations. These need a lot of searching and depend on the country. In Belgium I know there are some to promote candidates from African countries, others for people coming from developing countries, single mothers, etc. But many countries have different procedures. Since these are not governmental, there is no central application system. You need to chase down each one separately.

If you add the country/ies you are interested in, you might get more specific answers.

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    International student funding in the UK is hard. I've explained why in another post. academia.stackexchange.com/questions/66687/… And you should only do a PhD overseas if you don't want a TT job in the US generally. Commented Aug 5, 2016 at 9:24
  • I couldn't exactly understand what you mean in the second sentence ?
    – Our
    Commented Aug 5, 2016 at 9:27
  • @lafemmecosmique By the way, does Turkey considered as an European country or not ? or you meant European Union by EU ?
    – Our
    Commented Aug 5, 2016 at 9:35
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    There's a thread somewhere on here about how TT (tenure track) jobs in the US are already competitive, and having a 'foreign' PhD is considered a huge disadvantage compared to a US PhD. So if your ultimate goal is to be a prof in the US, you should do your PhD in the US. And by international, I mean non-EU. I believe that also means Turkey. In the future, it may mean anybody non-British, but it's non-European for now. Commented Aug 5, 2016 at 9:40

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