I have recently had the fortune to inherit an amount of money. I was just wondering how much it would be likely to cost should I fund a PhD myself? (I am British is that influences costs etc?) Also how much choice over project topic would I have? Cheers, Will.
It would depend on whether you mean to just fund yourself (University fees (which will be around £3000 per year for a full time student) and cost of living) or whether you will have to cover the cost of the project itself (i.e. consumables, equipment etc) which could be considerable depending on the type of project you have in mind. Good luck.
This amount should be fine. On top of the £3000 university fees, bench fees for equipment & consumables could be up to £5000 per year (more if you need access to very expensive equipment). If you're lucky the supervisor may be able to get some of these costs covered for you. To get accepted you will still need to show that you have the ability to complete a PhD. Even though you're paying the bill, the supervisor will be the one in charge.
Your choice of project topic will be wide. First find a lab that works in the specific area you are interested in. Most academics have more research ideas than funding, so they will be able to suggest a couple of projects to you. If you have your own research ideas, then it can do no harm to ask, but not all research is suitable for PhD projects (they have to have some hope of producing enough results within three years) so be prepared to be flexible. As you are not taking a funded studentship, the research project will not have been peer reviewed, so it is very important to make sure you choose a supervisor with a good reputation.
How common is someone funding a PhD themselves anyway? I am debating taking out a loan as I've been trying for 2 years to get a studentship but my 2ii is causing problems with this. If I was to take out this loan would I be able to walk onto (or get on to relatively easily) a PhD as I am self funding?
Having your own funding will certainly oil the wheels a bit. However self funding of UK students is relatively rare and taking out a bank loan would seem a bit extreme (some supervisors may treat you with caution because of this). We would recommend seeking the advice of a former tutor or other academic in your field. Ask them firstly if they think you're capable of sucessfully completing a PhD and secondly if they think it's worth taking out a loan to do one in your field.
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