Postgraduate awards

If you are a suitably qualified graduate, you may compete for a range of postgraduate awards to help you study at an institution in the United Kingdom (UK) or the European University Institute, Florence.

Department for the Economy studentships

The Department for the Economy (DfE) sponsors postgraduate studentships at Queen's University Belfast (QUB) and Ulster University (UU) for research and certain approved full-time postgraduate courses leading to higher degrees (Masters and PhDs).

Find out more about DfE studentships and how to apply.

If you wish to apply for a DfE studentship, you should check with QUB or UU if your chosen course is eligible for DfE studentship funding, and if so apply directly to that university.

Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs Postgraduate studentships

The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) fund a limited number of three-year postgraduate studentships annually for students who wish to work full time towards a PhD. Currently 12 projects are funded each year.

Applications for 2019 studentships are now closed.

Awards available outside Northern Ireland

European University Institute, Florence

Each year, up to two awards are available for Northern Ireland domiciled students studying at the European University Institute, Florence. These awards include grants for living and other costs for eligible students for three years.

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

Information about the European University Institute and how to apply can be found at:

Applications for student support should be made to:

Practitioner Support
Student Loans Company
Memphis Building
Lingfield Point

Postgraduate awards in Great Britain

Higher education institutions in Great Britain have their own awards or awards funded from other sources, such as Research Councils. The majority of Research Council-funded studentships are available through schemes such as Doctoral Training Partnerships (DTPs) and Centres for Doctoral Training (CDTs). These awards support PhD training in research areas relevant to each Research Council’s strategic priority research areas.

Some institutions in Great Britain also offer Collaborative Awards in Science and Engineering (CASE), which are the same as CAST awards in Northern Ireland.  These awards are mutually useful research partnerships between academic and partner organisations. CASE studentships are collaborative training grants that provide top quality science and engineering students with an excellent and challenging training experience, leading to a PhD.  

If you are a Northern Ireland student wishing to apply for a studentship at a higher education institution in Great Britain, you should approach the higher institution of your choice and they will advise you on the application procedures.

Students with a disability

If you have a disability, mental-health condition or specific learning difficulty you may be able to apply of Disabled Student’s Allowances (DSAs).  DSAs are there to help pay for extra costs that you may incur as a direct result of your disability, mental health condition or specific learning difficulty. The allowances can help you with the cost of non-medical help, items of specialist equipment, travel and other course-related costs.

Other awards

Institutions such as the Royal Society Royal Academy of Engineering and the British Academy offer awards.

Eligible students undertaking certain courses of Initial Teacher Training such as Postgraduate Certificate of Education (PGCE) may be eligible to apply for the undergraduate package of student financial support.

There are also trusts and charities which offer awards to students, such as the Wellcome Trust, provide support for medical research. You can find lists of trusts and charities in most public libraries. Useful publications include the Educational Grants Directory, The Charities Digest, The Grants Register and the Directory of Grant Making Trusts.

As well as looking at websites of individual awarding bodies, you can search for postgraduate scholarships across the UK on the Scholarship Search website.  If you are still at college, your careers service will be able to offer advice on funding. Another option is to subscribe to the Times Higher Education Supplement's database of funding opportunities.


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