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UK PhD funding only covers tuition fees - should I take it or not?

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Hello folks, I am a non-EU student trying to do a phd in a social science field in the UK and I was lucky to be offered funding for my tuition fees at one university. As a non-EU citizen I don't have access to research council funding, so the only option I have is internal funding from the university and the department.

On one hand, I feel that doing a phd without full funding support is going to be very challenging. I will be able to earn a little bit from teaching, but it'd be impossible to live on that only. So I'd have to rely on family support or get part-time jobs. This is obviously something I'd like to avoid. 

On the other, I realise that phd funding for international students in the UK is scarce, and there's no guarantee that I'll get any funding at all if I apply again next year. So I don't feel very confident turning it down. After all I want to start a phd this year. 

I'd appreciate it if you could share your views on this, or your experiences if you were in a similar situation. Would it be best to put it off one year and reapply for full funding support? Or should I just take it?  

(I guess one option is to keep looking for additional funding that will contribute towards my living expenses, but there doesn't seem to be many opportunities. Perhaps you guys could direct me to where I can find more information on this?) 

  

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Obviously you know how hard it is to find international phd funding in the UK, so a full tuition offer is probably your best bet. ( Congrats on that by the way! :) )

Not sure if you're already living in the UK or not, so I will say that there are pretty strict legal limitations on working hours for full time students on a tier 4 visa here. If you choose to take the spot and you can't find any external cash it will be difficult to support yourself on part-time wages. If it's somewhere like London or Oxford especially, you'll be paying out the nose for rent, but it's a little cheaper in the north. 

If you want to take a gamble and reapply in a year, you could see if there are also any postgrad exchange scholarship programs for your home country and the UK, like the Fulbright?

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4 hours ago, palyndrone said:

Obviously you know how hard it is to find international phd funding in the UK, so a full tuition offer is probably your best bet. ( Congrats on that by the way! :) )

Not sure if you're already living in the UK or not, so I will say that there are pretty strict legal limitations on working hours for full time students on a tier 4 visa here. If you choose to take the spot and you can't find any external cash it will be difficult to support yourself on part-time wages. If it's somewhere like London or Oxford especially, you'll be paying out the nose for rent, but it's a little cheaper in the north. 

If you want to take a gamble and reapply in a year, you could see if there are also any postgrad exchange scholarship programs for your home country and the UK, like the Fulbright?

Thanks a lot for that. I already live in the UK with family so that's how I can even consider doing this PhD. I wouldn't dare to move to a foreign country not knowing I'll be able to survive! 

If I teach, I'll be able to just about manage since I pay very little in rent and living costs are low where I live. I also think that building teaching experiences will be essential for finding a job afterwards. 

Doing a PhD would mean giving up on other career options and financially staying where I was as a student for the next 4 years, so here's where I feel unsure. 

But again, I don't know what other career I would really enjoy. I'm not close minded about exploring different options but I really enjoy research and I think I'll also like teaching. 

Another consideration is that I have been applying for PhD programmes for several years now. I was accepted at one but I left there after receiving my MA for various reasons. At this point I'm quite sick of applications! 

So that's where things stand for me. Of course only I will be able to decide if a PhD will be worth the sacrifices I have to make, but perhaps hearing what others think or experienced might help me make my decision.

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