Ludicrous Fees


I am an international student who has just finished in Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology. I have had a few interviews after completion of my degree and finally took up a job as a lab technician just recently. I am now thinking of going for a pHd. But as I did some research by reading forums like these I have found out that the pHd fees are ludicrous. My friend just got accepted for a pHd at Aston University and he has agreed to pay 11,000 quid per year. Thats 33,000 quid over a period of 3 years which i find ridiculously high amount to pay. Off course he is gonna work part time as a professor at the same Uni but ultimately how much money are you gonna earn from it? How in the world would you be able to repay such a huge amount? Off course there are studentships on offer and I am going to try for them as well and fingers crossed I get selected somehow. But at the moment I am trying to think of the worse and preparing for the best. So I am a bit confused right now. What should I do? Should I just continue my work (Im happy wid my work). Should I opt for a self funded pHd and pay that much amount? Can you recoup for some of the money you have spent by working as a teacher in the same uni?


Hi there

I sympathise with your situation . Unfortunately, as I understand it, you will have to demonstrate to the university before you start your research program that you are able to meet all costs related to your postgraduate study (fees and living costs). This makes it difficult to try to pay your fees by working as you go. As you say, you'd have to work a lot to find the funds and that amount of work probably wouldn't be compatible with the amount of work you'd need to be doing to succeed in your research programme. Most universities allow fees to be paid in installments but that's still a huge sum to find even if you are paying on a termly basis.

I think the reason for the higher international fee rate is because the Uni only receives HEFCE funds for home/EU students, hence international students have to make up for the money not provided by HEFCE.

Are you working for an academic institution currently? Any chance of doing a part-time PhD at a staff fee rate? Good luck with your search for a scholarship.

Best wishes, Ann


Hi Ann,
I appreciate your effort to help me and so I would like thank you for the reply. Thanx for letting me know about the fact that you have to demonstrate the funds before hand. Well, if thats the case then I think I wont be able to demonstrate those kind of funds. I have already paid £9000 for my Masters and I am repaying that now. I guess I'll probably have to continue with my job at the moment and I think I am pretty much happy with my current job. As you have asked, I am not working for any institution so staff fee rate is out of question. I think the best option for me would be to tailor my CV to suit research studentships on offer and have a go at them. Who knows, i might as well get one. Well, actually I had applied for one such studentship and my CV was shortlisted for that and I am awaiting their reply now. Hopefully if that works, it would be like a lottery for me :-) Anyways, Thanx a lot Ann.



Maybe worth checking with your uni that you work in, some offer full Staff Research Scholarships that cover full fees for reserach degrees.


Hi Smartramp,

Thanx for your reply mate. Unfortunately I dont work for any Academic institution. I work for a pharmaceutical company. So I dont think I qualify for staff research scholarships? But I will surely ask my tutor and find out if he can recommend me for fully funded research projects that come up once in a while.




Guys, Dont you think the tuition fees issue will get serious over time. I mean since I am an international student its a bit hard for me to get funding and I end up paying huge amount of sum (£9000) in tuition fees. But if the government decides to raise the tuition fees of british students in a few years, its gonna discourage the british students from even doing their Masters, forget about PhD. They are protesting already against the raise which you can see in the news. Boy, tough times.


It has been my experience that very few students from outside the EU can afford fees, even for a Masters. Most come over here and work, and often to the detriment of their studies.

Tip number 1: Depending on your visa and other status, you may be able to study as a part time student.

Tip number 2: Look carefully at your academic regulations. You may be able to do a lot of the work before you enrol (and pay) as a student, even enrolling only after your research proposal is accepted. This work may be done in your home country too, hence cheaply.

Tip number 3: Look carefully at your academic regulations and visa. You may be able to 'defer' your studies - a break if you like during which you do not pay fees.That can be 6 months or a year. It doesn't mean you stop studying, only that you don't get supervision.

Tip number 4: use the maximum 'writing up period' - this is when you have finished your research and are now writing up the results. Check your academic regs, you usually pay a small fee (i.e. £100) and this can last 6 months to a year.

Tip number 5: Plan your work carefully, know exactly what is needed to get the PhD and make sure you have a very good understanding with your supervisor. Minimise delays and work efficiently. Do only what is necessary to get your PhD, and don't take any unnecessary detours. You should spend a week going through books on writing and researching a PhD, and look at examples from your faculty in the library. Agree the chapters with your supervisor. Then submit each chapter to your supervisor as it is complete, and get on with the next whilst waiting for their response.

Tip number 6: Stay on top of university administrators and lecturers. Make sure they respond quickly. Do not allow yourself to wait 7 months for a viva (my situation) or allow your supervisor to take 3 months to get back to you (again, my case).

Tip number 7: Don't wait until after your viva to get a proof reader involved. Before submitting each chapter for supervision, have a proofreader review and correct it. Even if your English is very good, it is a useful form of feedback. Before submitting the final thesis for examination, have an expert or well read reader in the field take a look. The cost is minimal compared to the delays of rewriting.

Tip number 8: Aim for a outright pass in your viva, or minor revisions. Major revisions or a rewrite means you start paying fees again.

Hope these help!

Avatar for Providentia

That is indeed a ridiculously high amount. It's ironic how people pretend education is this great equalizer (anyone can advance in the world and change their circumstances, etc.etc.), when really it's only for people who are already in the highest classes and can afford to pay 10,000 a year. It's a shame that the UK seems to be trying to take back the advances that were made during the past century to make British society more egalitarian.

Avatar for Eska

Here, here. Even a PGCE is 9k now, no matter what you subject or how good your degree...At least in the 1850s things were getting better, not worse.