Funding for graduate study

The University provides a comprehensive guide to all sources of funding for graduate study, a few of which are listed below. 

Please contact us if you wish to support our students or have an area of interest you would like investigated.

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The University of Oxford will be offering 15 doctoral scholarships from 2021-2023, thanks to a £1.35m grant from the Leverhulme Trust. Students will complete multi-disciplinary research on the impact of poverty and social inequalities in early childhood.

The ground-breaking programme of doctoral scholarships, spanning the social and biological sciences, will aim to reduce the impact of these disadvantages on children’s life chances.

Directed by Professor Jane Barlow of the Department of Social Policy and Intervention, this is Oxford’s first doctoral programme that brings together expertise from diverse disciplines with the explicit goal of reducing the impact of social inequality in early childhood through the application of biological science. The programme is co-directed by Professor Melinda Mills, Director of the Leverhulme Centre for Demographic Science.

Applications are sought from high calibre individuals who have an interest in building on recent scientific advances, applying knowledge developed between the biological and social sciences. The aim is to use a multiple level of analysis perspective to reduce social inequalities in early childhood.

About the Programme

This exciting programme of scholarships will expose students to expertise and cutting edge mixed-methods research across the fields of psychology, sociology, neuroscience, endocrinology, genetics, and ethics, producing a new generation of scientists who have the necessary skills to be future research leaders in this important field.

Four lead departments are affiliated with the programme: Social Policy and Intervention, Sociology, Psychiatry, and Experimental Psychology.

Students will complete a training programme tailored to their individual skills and project requirements, including attending activities offered to the full Leverhulme cohort. They will be formally admitted by the Department linked to their primary supervisor, and will have access to the diverse range of seminars, workshops and advanced training opportunities offered by that Department.


Successful candidates will be awarded a 4-year scholarship covering tuition fees and a maintenance stipend at UK research council rates. They will also have access to research and training support funds. 

Application Process

All candidates will need to initially apply to the DPhil in Social Intervention and Policy Evaluation - Leverhulme Biopsychosocial Doctoral Scholarship Programme via this link. This is solely for application purposes; successful Leverhulme candidates will be registered on the DPhil programme based in their supervisor’s Department.

To find out more:

Visit the Department of Social Policy and Intervention website for more details 

The ESRC is the UK’s largest organisation for funding research on social and economic issues. Oxford University, in collaboration with Brunel University and the Open University, hosts the Grand Union Doctoral Training Partnership - one of fourteen Doctoral Training Partnerships accredited by the ESRC as part of a Doctoral Training Network.

Award Structure

The DTP offers a variety of award structures and lengths, depending on prior training and course arrangements. A Masters qualification is not a prerequisite for studying with the Grand Union DTP; all pathways have options for students without a Masters, with training designed for individuals based on an assessment of their prior learning and training needs.

The Sociology pathway offers 1+3 and 2+2 routes for students entering without a Masters qualification that meets the 2015 ERSC Training Guidelines:

  • The 1+3 route is based on the MSc Sociology which, continuing the distinctive strengths of Oxford Sociology, has a focus on rigorous qualitative and quantitative methodology in contributing to both basic scientific research and informing evidence-based policy.
  • The 2+2 route is based on the MPhil Sociology and Demography and is for students who specifically want to undertake interdisciplinary work combining the strengths of sociology and demography.

The +3 route is for research students who have completed an MSc which meets the expectations of the 2015 ESRC Training Guidelines, who enter onto the DPhil Sociology.

Please note that the ESRC does not fund standalone Masters programmes, students must be intending to carry out doctoral research. 


Students will receive a stipend to support living costs, set at the Research Council's annual rate. They will also have their fees covered for the period of the award.

Application Process

In order to be considered for a Grand Union DTP ESRC studentship, you must select ‘ESRC Grand Union DTP Studentships in Social Sciences’ in the University of Oxford scholarships section of the University's graduate application form. You must also complete a Grand Union DTP Application Form and upload it, together with your graduate application form, by the relevant deadline for your course.

To find out more:

Information about ESRC studentships at Oxford can be found on the Grand Union DTP website. Please ensure you have read all of the guidance available on the website before completing the Grand Union DTP Application Form. Questions can be directed to the Grand Union DTP Office.

The 1+1 programme is a unique, two-year postgraduate experience which offers you the opportunity to combine the depth of our specialised, one-year MSc in Sociology with the breadth of Saïd Business School’s top-ranking, one-year MBA. As a result, you will embark from Oxford with the skills to translate specific domain knowledge into practical and innovative solutions to the many challenges facing our 21st Century world.

You will spend your first year completing your MSc before joining the MBA in your second year. 

Application Process

To apply for the Oxford 1+1 MBA you will need to submit two separate applications, one to your chosen partnering programme and one to the Oxford MBA. Both programmes will have their own entry requirements, application deadlines and admissions process - research both programmes to ensure you have everything you need to submit by the required deadlines. You must meet the entry requirements for both the MSc and the MBA individually. More information is available here.

The Oxford Pershing Square Graduate Scholarship 

The Oxford Pershing Square Graduate Scholarship is available for up to six extraordinary 1+1 students who are committed to finding scalable and sustainable solutions to world-scale social challenges. The Scholarship provides full course fees for both the Master's degree and MBA programme, and a grant for living expenses for both years of study.  

Visit the Saïd Business School website for more details   

All graduate applicants to degree-bearing courses are eligible for this prestigious scholarship funding. Approximately 170 awards are made across the University every year. Scholarships are highly competitive, with recipients selected for their outstanding academic merit and potential.


Clarendon offers fully-funded scholarships covering course fees, as well as a grant for living expenses for the period of fee liability. Awards providing partial funding may also be available.

Application Process

You will be automatically considered for Clarendon if you apply by your course's relevant deadline. You do not need to submit a separate application.

Visit the Clarendon website for more details  

Some Oxford colleges make funds available to support graduate students in their studies; the amount and the conditions vary from college to college and in some cases from year to year.

The Oxford Fees, Funding and Scholarship Search lists awards available from colleges and you should check individual college websites for information on eligibility and application procedures. Graduate studentships are also sometimes available to students once they have started their studies in Oxford, from some colleges – again, check individual college websites and the University Gazette for announcements.

Students who are admitted to Nuffield College to undertake one of the courses offered in Sociology will have full funding underwritten by Nuffield for the duration of the fee liability of the course. Prospective students can also apply for scholarships offered by St Cross College.

The AHRC provides public funding in support of research into the arts and humanities, for approximately one quarter of the UK's research population. Oxford University participates in the Open-Oxford-Cambridge AHRC Doctoral Training Partnership, providing a number of scholarships each year to students working in eligible subject areas across the Humanities and Social Sciences Divisions. 


A full award by the Open-Oxford-Cambridge AHRC DTP includes payment of university fees throughout the funded period, a tax-free maintenance grant at the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) minimum rate, and the opportunity to apply for an extension to studentship funding on the basis of individual training and research needs or to support a professional placement.

Funding is adjusted on a pro-rata basis for part-time students. We also offer students training and researcher development opportunities, additional funding to support their individual research and training needs, and access to the resources and training offered by our consortium universities.

Application Process

Information about the application process can be found here. Please note, in order to be considered for a studentship you must tick the relevant box in the studentships section of the Oxford application form. You will also need to complete the OOC DTP Application Form and upload it as an additional document when completing your application.

Visit the Open-Oxford-Cambridge website for more details  


Occasionally, special sources of funds become available for graduate students in particular subjects. Any information that the Department receives about such schemes will be posted here.

Prospective graduate students from outside of the UK may be able to access other sources of funding including from their home state or other schemes.

There are also sources of funds available to students after they have begun studying at Oxford, including essay and thesis prizes, research assistance and other casual work for the Department and for colleges, and teaching for the Department and for colleges. Funding may also be available for specific parts of a course – e.g. to undertake fieldwork or to study in overseas institutions. Information about sources of support in the Department for current graduates is posted on the Department’s website.

Professional bodies such as the British Sociological Association can often also assist with funds for conferences or fieldwork, so they are well worth joining. They can also be valuable resources when it comes to finding a job after finishing graduate study.