Living expenses for doctoral study

Good evening.

I'm looking for specific advice and am hoping to find it on here (and the postgraduate thread as well).

I'm interested in making a significant career change.

I'm 35 years old and originally went to University as an 18-year-old in 2001-04

I then spent the majority of my career working within the fitness industry and therefore as you can imagine I have not fully paid off my original student loan.

Trying to better myself in 2007 I return to education and completed an MSc which I Self funded. although it was classed as a full time degree I was only in lectures for 2 days a week and then worked pretty much full-time hours outside of that to fund my living costs.

The course I am looking at doing is a doctorate course. It is 3 1/2 years long I'm not only do you come out with a doctorate qualification you also come out with a professional qualification... if you to do this the traditional route you would originally undertake either a three year undergraduate or 2-year Masters before having to complete a 3 year PhD.... So in that respect it makes financial sense.

I'm aware that im a be able to obtain funding to pay for this doctorate course via a doctoral loan. however, which is the fees at universities nowadays that the doctorate loan would simply only be able to cover the university fees and not leave anything for living costs.

According to the course leader, the course is pretty much full time with a significant amount of work placements throughout the course (1000hours). They expect you to be engaged in learning for 37 hours a week.

Therefore I would need to figure out how to fund things such as rent and stuff.

the course is in a different city to where I live currently and therefore I would either have to rent or sell my current property. I do have some savings but these are not significant (8k).

So, is anyone aware of any funding mechanisms to allow me to complete this course?

Kind regards



  • agrinnall
    agrinnall Posts: 23,344 Forumite
    First Post Combo Breaker
    Unless you can win a (very) competitive award then savings are really your only option. It does sound like working outside the demands of the course will be difficult - are you paid for the work placements?
  • BurnsieUK
    BurnsieUK Posts: 130 Forumite
    Naaa. All the 1000 hours are free labour :rotfl:

    I have contacted the uni directly to see if they can advise. I'm sure they above someone who helps with this type of stuff........
  • skint_chick
    If you're doing a 37 hour study week then that still leaves evenings and weekends free for a part-time job - which if you're a qualified PT or similar you should be able to get some work that fits in with this. PhD awards are highly competitive, if you got a distinction in your MSc you might get lucky with a funding application, however these typically need to be submitted early in the year for September admission so if you haven't made contact with the course director and discussed your proposal you might want to think about that as well as funding.

    £8,000 is a decent chunk of savings and depending on where you are in the country might cover your rent and bills if you rent a room rather than your own place for a year. You could also look at postgrad halls as well, some unis have ones specifically for postgrad/mature students and they're expensive but then you wouldn't have separate internet/heating/electric etc bills. Will the rent from your current home cover the mortgage/landlords insurance/tax to HMRC etc?
    "I cannot make my days longer so I strive to make them better." Paul Theroux
  • Voyager2002
    Voyager2002 Posts: 15,342 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Post First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    Two things:

    How much rent would your present home bring in? What net profit could you expect after covering your mortgage and essential maintenance (tax is unlikely to be an issue since you will be below your personal allowance)?

    Could you perhaps become a warden of a student hall at your university? Under this arrangement, you live rent-free (and without bills to pay) in return for being available to students with problems, and being the responsible adult on the scene whenever things start to go wrong.

    Part-time work while doing a full-time PhD is not a realistic plan, unless you have a specialist skill and could earn significant amounts in less than five hours per week.
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