I hold three offers from top-tier universities in the UK for a PhD in the humanities, with three great supervisors. However, one of the three has already let me know that the department has not nominated me for internal funding, which makes me quite pessimistic for the other two as well.

So, should I fail to get any funding from any of the three (and facing therefore the haunting perspective of a self-funded PhD), would it be a good idea to take a year off, work on my CV and skills, and then reapply to the same three uni's next year?

In no way would it be a 'wasted' year, since I will likely publish 2-3 papers (already working on two), I'll finish my Master's (I have yet to graduate), improve two foreign languages other than English, better refine my writing samples and researhc proposal and so on - so that I hope my profile will get more competitive for funding next year.

What I wonder is if this is frowned upon. I mean, if the admissions committee knew that I was admitted and then declined my unfunded offer, would this go against my chances of readmission (and funding)? Would the greater academic strength of my improved profile offset this possible act of academic 'unkindness'?

And how usual is it to turn down an unfunded offer hoping for funding in the following admission cycle?

(possible duplicate, as there are some similar questions, but the core of mine is the funding issue and how frowned upon is it to decline and reapply because of this)

P.S.: I am an EU national, so also consider Brexit and its possible consequences on funding awarding to non-UK applicants.

  • 1
    No funding means you are free to do what you like there as much as during a year taken off, doesn't it? – Karl Mar 15 '17 at 20:16
  • @Karl I'm not sure I understand. – prospapp Mar 16 '17 at 6:42
  • Regarding your P.S.: In all honesty, we don't know the possible consequences. Either you will be treated as a foreign national with funding decisions depending on the universities policies, or you will be still treated as a European (also, it still depends on policies) Right now, laws have not changed. If you get funding now that is given for a fixed term, I would expect it to be valid, even after Brexit. Regarding Visa and Work permits, currently the official website states it has not changed with Brexit and that is all we can say. – skymningen Mar 16 '17 at 11:47
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    As of me checking earlier this week, the future of EU-Student status after the full Brexit is still unclear, so there is nothing definite anyone could answer you. It is just too early. I am in the position of probably looking to work in UK (for personal reasons) from next year and I am currently stuck with a "Que sera, sera"-attitude. – skymningen Mar 16 '17 at 12:58
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because its answer depends on the resolution of an ongoing political question. – jakebeal Jan 14 '18 at 14:18

Have you considered asking the PhD supervisors if they do have funding? UK universities rarely have a pool of funds for PhD students. These would have to come from a funding programme, where potentialy your supervisor has applied to and has got the funding for the PhD position. It might be a good idea to ask all three of them, to see if there would be the opportunity to develop funding applications, but also see whether they have anything in the works for next year. Funding depending on the programme ands situation may apply diffrently to EU citizens post-Brexit. However no one will be able to tell you accurately. At least for Scotland, the Scottish government has promised that funding for EU citizens will remain the same for 2019.

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