Stipends and fees


I am due to start a PhD in October, funded by EPSRC, but am totally confused by the funding side of things.

Uni have sent me very little info (arrived this am so can't phone until Tuesday), nothing from student finance, and have just listed the basic "offer of admission" which states the tuition fees and the estimated cost of living. I have not heard from ESPRC as the Studentship has already been awarded to uni (or atleast that is what I understand has happened).

My confusion is that I was told to expect a grant of around £12K a year over the duration of the PhD (3.5years). On the EPSRC the minimum stipends are listed for this year as £12,940 - which is about £3.5K more than uni's estimated cost of living. So do I receive this minimum stipend value or the sum the uni have stated and am I expected to pay for my tuition fees out of the stipend?

Obviously cost of living isn't cheap and so I want to start looking at my budget asap, especially as my car is due tax, insurance, full service and MOT within 3 weeks of the PhD start date!!! I have no idea whether I will have £9500 (uni "estimated cost of living" amount) or £12940 (minimum RPSRC stipend amount) to live off and it is quite a large difference!!

Help! This is scary enough as it is without worrying about money too!!


I am funded by the BBSRC so I assume the EPSRC will work the same way. The way it generally works is that you will get in the region of £12k-£13K to live off in the form of a stipend from the EPSRC which is just for you to live on, the fees are then paid for by the research council from a separate budget so you don't need to worry about it. As for the uni's estimated living costs, this is just a guide and it doesn't reflect how much you get from the research council.

I didn't get anything from the BBSRC regarding money untill a month or so before I was due to start and so i was worrying like you are!

Hope this helps


i'm going to be funded by esrc and i haven't heard ANYTHING yet!!! i'm starting in 3 weeks - aaargh! but the uni did tell me that uni fees are paid by the esrc and that the stipend is for maintenance (rent, food etc). i'm going to have to borrow the rent money from my parents because i haven't got enough to pay in advance :-(



12-13K per annum sounds about right for the minimum funding level for UK PhD's. Do remember that this is non-taxable though so in effect it translates to a salary of 12.5 + 25% (for tax NI) £15625 which is much more than minimum wage! My stipend works slightly different as I am linked to a big pharma company but even at the minimum rate, I would imagine you can live a rather comfortable life on that amount of money. To ditto previous posts, I would imagine you will get the £12940 (paid monthly or quarterly), and as for fees, you don't generally have anything to do with them as university wil usually pay them on your behalf without you having to be involved. As for the budget, its a really good idea to setup a basic excel spreadsheet with all your outgoings and income on. I am living by Nottingham so the cost of living is modest but I account for £50 food (me and my partner), £20 fuel, then car, mobile, gym etc. Make sure you remember the little things which add up!!! Rent is likely to be your biggest outgoing but if you are able to share with other students you can cut the cost massively. When you run the sums in many cases you will probably have more left than you think! In any case, enjoy your research, I am now in my 2nd year and it has been the best year of my life :-)


======= Date Modified 25 Aug 2008 11:27:38 =======

Quote From DanT:

Do remember that this is non-taxable though so in effect it translates to a salary of 12.5 + 25% (for tax NI) £15625 which is much more than minimum wage!

In terms of hours per week worked (some people work 60+ hours and take no holidays) I would hazard a guess that it is in fact actually less than the minimum wage.


Every EPSRC person I know is on around 12,000.


What's the minimum wage in UK?


Off the top of my head something like £5-50 something an hour (for adults).