Financial help for postgraduates

If you are a graduate you can apply for postgraduate funding to help you undertake study at a Higher Education institution in the UK.

This section includes an introduction to the main funding routes, called postgraduate awards, and a timetable outlining the application process.

The Department for Employment and Learning makes available funding to Queen’s University Belfast and the University of Ulster for research and certain approved courses of full-time study leading to higher degrees. The universities are responsible for administering the postgraduate awards scheme and the universities select, by competition, the students to fill these awards within the limits of the funding available.

What is the value of the different awards?

Studentships:

The value of these awards is not affected by parental or student income but those receiving comparable support from industry or a university may not be eligible for an award.

In 2014/15 the basic rate of Research Studentship payable is £13,863, while the basic rate for a Taught Studentship is £6,931. Disabled student's may be eligible to apply for Disabled Students' Allowances (DSAs). Follow the link below for more information

Bridging the Gap booklet 2014/15 external link

  • For United Kingdom domiciled students the value of an award includes the cost of approved fees as well as the maintenance rates quoted above.
  • An award offered to a student who is a European Community resident from outside the United Kingdom covers only the cost of fees (up to the maximum for United Kingdom students).

What other postgraduate awards are available?

CAST awards:

Three-year Co-operative Awards in Science and Technology (CAST) specifically support students working on research projects at Northern Ireland universities and involve a collaborating body in industry. The non means tested maintenance element (£13,863 pa) is supplemented by a payment from the collaborating body of at least 60% of the standard maintenance grant per annum for the duration of the CAST studentship. European Community residents from outside the United Kingdom may apply: if an award is made it will cover the costs of approved tuition fees only.

Awards for the European Institute, Florence

The Institute seeks to foster the advancement of learning in fields that are of particular interest to the development of Europe. Students undertake study and research with a European focus in the following areas: Economics, Law, History and Civilisation or Political and Social Sciences.  

Each year, the Department funds up to a maximum of 2 awards for Northern Ireland domiciled students studying at the Institute. These awards comprise of grants for living and other costs for eligible students for 3 years.  The institution itself covers the costs of any further years of study.   

Information about the European University Institute and how to apply can be found at www.eui.eu external link. Applications to study at the Institute should be made online direct to the Institute.  

Applications for student support should be made to:

Practitioner Support
Student Loans Company
Memphis Building
Lingfield Point
Darlington
DL1 1RW


The closing date for applications for student support for the academic year 2014/15 was 31 January 2014.

Student Finance NI offices awards:

The Student Finance NI offices make awards for study leading to the Postgraduate Certificate of Education (PGCE) to students who are offered a place in an institution. These awards are means tested.

What is the value of the different Department for Employment and Learning awards?

Studentships and bursaries

For United Kingdom domicile students the value of an award includes the cost of approved fees as well as the maintenance rates quoted here.

An Award offered to a student who is a European Community resident from outside the United Kingdom covers only the cost of fees (up to a maximum for United Kingdom students)

What types of awards are available for students wishing to compete for a Department for Employment and Learning award at the Northern Ireland universities?

Studentship awards:

Studentship awards are not means-tested. There are two main types: those for research (MPhil, DPhil, PhD) and those for approved courses of advanced study (Masters) in the fields of Humanities, Science and Technology and the Social Sciences. The Department for Employment and Learning does not make postgraduate awards in the fields of Agriculture or Medicine. Science awards include those in Biology and Biotechnology, Natural Enviornment, Particle Physics and Astronomy. Studentships are not available for study in the Republic of Ireland.