Worried about no funding during fourth year


I'm not sure what I want from this post, whether it's advice or just to get this off my chest, but it's something I'm really stressed about, to the point where I'm really struggling to work.

After a chat with my supervisor a couple of weeks ago, I realised that I'll need the majority of my fourth year to finish up experiments, followed by a race to write up in the remaining 3-4 months before my final submission date. The problem is that my funding runs out in September of this year, so I need to find a way to fund myself for a year while working full time on my PhD (which pretty much rules out part time work). I've spoken to my supervisor about the possibility of asking the charity that funds me for an extension, even just a couple of months of extra funding, but he has refused to ask. I've looked into whether I'm eligible for benefits (admittedly only online - I need to look into this further) but it looks as though the fact that I live with my partner and he works full time means that we can't get any housing benefit or anything like that. My partner's salary is low, so even if I'm eligible for JSA, that still won't be enough for us to live off.

I have funding until September, so I should be throwing myself into work, but knowing that realistically I'll need the majority of the following year and the worry of how I'll get by for a year without an income has stressed me out to the point where I'm finding it hard to focus on work at all. I've tried talking to parents, my partner, my less than helpful supervisor...but nothing is making me feel less worried. I need to shake this so I can get on with work or else I'll never finish this damn PhD.

Sorry for the rant - thank you for reading.


Avatar for DrCorinne

Hi Tulip, your concern is understandable, but you should check with your University - even if you still have experiments to complete the 4th year is considered as "writing up" time, so your registration fees should reflect that. I took my 4th year too and I think that I only paid a flat fee of £100 for registration back then. So this is worth checking.

Also, there are other funding bodies that you can apply to for funding. I don't know where you are and if this is applicable to you, but did you check the British Federation of Women Graduates for example?

However, looking and applying for extra funding takes time and energy, so you need to find a balance between this and completing within your time frame.


Hello i am in this position.This is probably not very helpful. All i can say is, its awful. Im in debt, tired, ill (currently lay on the sofa with a virus) and fed up. All i can say is do your best to get as much done as you can now.


hi tulip
I have been in your position and still the same today. I couldn't find any work, I kept asking my university -- nothing. I have not been on JSA and am actually supported by my bf.

I can tell you that it's not as bad as it looks, and when it gets difficult, believe me it will get better. There were months when we only had £415 (and sometimes even less after paying bills) between us. We didn't go anywhere, I didn't buy anything (and anything means dresses or little treats for myself) and stuff just happened --- like the car turbo blowing up -- that money had to be spent and the bf's spent months paying off his credit card bill!

Whatever it is, your mindset is very important.You need to think positive; if your parents can help out in some ways (buying groceries etc.) that would be helpful. If you worry now, you'll get more stressed. Take it easy and thanks for sharing.

love satchi


See if your student services department have contingency funds.

You may also want to check if your uni library/careers service has access to this:

See pg 12 here to check:


I've seen this pdf book as well am I'm going to be applying to some of the charities listed on there in the next few weeks/months. There aren't that many we, as 4th year PhD students, are eligible for though. If you can't access the pdf I can send it to you.


Don't worry Tulip - there are lots of ways to access funding e.g. http://www.imd.org/programs/mba/fees/Funding-for-Women.cfm


Avatar for Caterpillar27

Hi Tulip,

I feel for you in your situation. I can only think of a couple of ideas that may help:

Can you save a percentage of your funding each month now to go towards the first couple of months next year?

Also, it is possible to work part time while working full time on a PhD. I have worked shifts (non-academic job) on the weekends throughout my full time PhD to earn extra money. I know others have managed to get some teaching/research work at their university alongside their PhD too. A part time job may be one option to consider further. It is difficult to manage both, but not impossible.

As previous posters have said, other sources of funding may be worth pursuing too.

Good luck :-)


Also, just had a thought: if we are only funded for 3 years, do we have to pay any other fees for the 4th year? Maybe it depends on the university? I hope not because I have not budgeted for this!

That British Federation of Women Graduates funding looks really good, I'm going to apply for that.

A lot of the deadlines seem to be within the next two months so I better get on with applying in the next few weeks!


Thinking about applying for funding again...

How does it when work when doing budgets in an application when it asks for explanations of other funding sources? For example, say I need $5000.00 and I have $1000.00 in savings, and I am requesting $2000.00 from company A and $2000.00 from company B.

Obviously, if I don't get funding from either company A or B I'm going to be $2000.00 short, but if I also apply to company C to ensure I get enough funding, and everyone gives me the money, I'm going to have $2000.00 extra? Can I state on the applications that I am applying for more than I will need?

Can anyone explain how I should overcome this paradox?


Any ideas?

Avatar for DrCorinne

Usually application forms ask that specific question, the amount of money that you applied for, where, and for what purpose. In my view, if they don't ask, you don't need to say anything. However, if they do, you can always say that you applied also to x for xxx amount to finance another aspect of your project (e.g. a further trip abroad, acquisition of material/ digital resources/ organization of a conference). I hope it helps.


Thanks DrCorinne.

The application forms are all asking for details of income and expenditure, and names of other places that I have applied to for funding. I am asking for money for living expenses, so I can't say that it is for travel or any other reason, unless I make stuff up but I don't think I should really do that.

Avatar for DrCorinne

Quote From TreeofLife:

I am asking for money for living expenses, so I can't say that it is for travel or any other reason, unless I make stuff up but I don't think I should really do that.

Of course not. You are doing everything right, so you shouldn't be concerned about a potential conflict. I think that the reason they ask for these details is in case of two or more deserving applicants/applications. If they know that you have the possibility of getting funding from other sources they may decide to split the sum among two or more candidates.

As you said, it may happen that you do not get the other grants. However, it is always better than not getting anything at all. Also, you can make a strong case in your personal statement and show why you deserve the full grant (e.g. lack of other forms of financial support, previous publications etc.)


Hi Tulip,

I was in exactly the same position, where I had to complete my final study and analysis in my fourth year before embarking on writing up. I had been funded by a research council for the previous three years but anticipated set backs occurred during the second year which meant completion within three years was impossible.

What I ended up doing was ensuring that I had at least two modules to contribute to (teaching, seminars and marking) and I also made the department aware that any additional work would be welcome (administrative jobs, invigilating exams etc.) This kept me a float until the end of the Easter term and then I took on a part-time job in a market research call centre. I'm not going to lie it was incredibly stressful and difficult, there were many times when I wanted to quit, when I was fed up of not being able to have a night out because of the cost, but in the end when I handed in this January the feeling of achievement was worth all the sacrifice. You just need to be organised, get as much part-time work as possible, budget heavily, set-up an excel spreadsheet with all you outgoings and work out how much you need to survive. You can do it! :)