Quitting Question


Hi all

I started a PhD last year and was fortunate to also be awarded some funding. After some bad experiences on my PhD, I have come to the point where I really do not want to continue it any longer and feel that a PhD isn't really for me. I don't want to get into the details as i've made this decision after a lot of thinking and advice-taking from close friends/family -- I'm sure you'll just get bored reading about it anyway!

Having been awarded funding for my PhD, I am unsure on what happens when I quit, do I have to pay the money back (that I received through funding) or...? I thought I would ask here first in case anyone else has thought about this before..

PS:I was very fortunate to receive the funding and I never took it for granted, so my deepest apologies to anyone who finds my decision offensive in any way.


As far as I know you dont have to pay it back because a girl in my department left half way through her PhD and I believe the department lost some of its research credits or something because of it. Im not sure how it works but there is some kind of department penalty for it. Best to check with the funding board I would say.


It depends entirely on where you got your funding from....


Hi Gazzer (classy name by the way!)

A couple of my friends were funded PhD students and left before their funding was due to end. First of all, yes you were fortunate to receive funding, and many will be rightly jealous of that, but you should not feel guilty about leaving if you feel that you are either deeply unhappy or cannot see a way to successfully complete with all your marbles still intact.
The only examples I know are cases where either the University or the Research councils have funded. In those cases what normally occurs is that you may be requested to pay back a small part of the funding. For example, if you were paid in January and your next payment is due in May, then if you received January's money but leave in, say, March, you may be asked to give back the money that covers April and part of May (if this makes sense!). You will not in any case be expected to pay the whole lot back, and I do know that in the case of my friends, they were not asked to pay anything back (they were University funded, I think research councils may be more 'on the ball' so to speak).

Unfortunately I don't know what would happen if you are industry funded for example.

Good Luck regardless (up)


Hey Gazzer, one of my PhD "classmates" (if there is such a thing) left his PhD after two years in it. He didnt have to give the money back, or any other penalty.. obviusly once he decided to quit his monthly stipend was suspended. I guess it depends on the case, and specially where your funds come from. In any case good luck. I think it is very brave to decide is not for you, and face supervisor's etc. I also think the first years is the perfect time to do know if your really want to keep on that road for the next two (three?) years, or you are better off. So, all the best!!


I quit a full-time funded PhD over a decade ago. I didn't have to pay anything back, though I might have quit just at the point I was due another stipend payment, which took care of things. There was a consequence for my department: it reduced how many future funded studentships they would receive. This was very sad, but I couldn't continue. I'd developed a serious long-term illness (progressively incurably so) and since going part-time wasn't an option (I'd pleaded with the funding council to support this to no avail) I had no choice but to quit. It was a very difficult decision, but one of the best ones I made. Good luck.


Hi - I am being funded by the company I work for and if I give up (or fail eek!) I have to pay it all back - does sound like I'm in the minority though. Good luck!


Hi Gazzer, as far as I'm aware you don't have to pay anything back unless it was specifically stated in your funding offer and/or any contract you signed that you'd be liable to do so.

If you are absolutely sure that PhD life is no longer for you, then it's best to leave sooner than later.

I doubt anyone will find you decision offensive....this only occurs when students start stringing their university and funding body along when they have no intention of finishing their research.