What you need to know about earning a Ph.D. scholarship


PhDs are awarded for programs across the breadth of academic fields. It is the highest university degree that is conferred after a course of study in a particular subject.

A Ph.D. is a pure research degree. A typical Ph.D. involves carrying out a literature review, conducting original research and collecting results, producing a thesis and dissertation and defending your thesis in an oral viva voice exam. It usually takes 3-5 years.

The process of earning a Ph.D. degree is challenging. Financially, there are a lot of areas to think about the college fee, funds for research and survey, living costs, etc. The best option is to apply for a scholarship or look for funding from the government or private organizations.

Ph.D. scholarships

The funding and scholarship process is different in universities and countries. In most of the countries, the Ph.D. program is aided by the government. Other than the government, there are various organizations and foundations that provide financial support to doctoral candidates.

The first thing you should do is decide the country and university you want to do your Ph.D. in and identify all sources of funding. Here given below are a few examples of some countries.

  • In India, there are many different universities with the potential to offer a Ph.D. program – like central universities, state universities, institutions of national importance, etc. Mostly, the government offers Ph.D. assistance in India.

    Internal students with Indian roots are eligible for scholarship programs for diaspora children (SPDC) but this might be restricted to undergraduate level. Further, there are many foundations which support the financially weak and bright candidates with their fees. Further, there are private organizations which provide Ph.D. guidance for international students and students from specific sections of the society. Ph.D. guidance in India is very easily accessible.

  • In the UK, some organizations have a tie-up with local universities and provide scholarships for Ph.D. students in return the students can work for the organization for a financial contribution that can be used as their final project.
  • In Switzerland, the government provides scholarships for all disciplines.

Types of funding

These were just some instances of countries giving financial support for students. To claim a scholarship in any country, one must know the grounds on which a scholarship is given. There are basically 5 ways one can find funding abroad.

  • Merit-based scholarships – This is based on a number of criteria like academics, achievements, publishing, talents, affiliations, talent, etc. These scholarships can be offered by the government, large corporations, universities or professional organizations.

    Ph.D. Scholarships offered by universities are usually based on academic excellence. These may cover tuition fee, living expenses, travel grants, and insurance.

    Students who have a strong academic background and have done quite appreciable work in writing papers and have been published can look for merit-based Ph.D. scholarships. The eligibility and amount may vary in different universities.

    Ph.D. Scholarships offered by the government are usually offered for a specific part of the society like the financially weaker sections, international students, etc. it has some mandatory criteria like age limit, knowledge of a certain language, minimum educational qualification as set by the university, etc.

    There are some universities like Stanford University, Columbia University, Harvard University, to name a few that provide sports scholarships for exemplary sportsmen. You can simply practice a sport and be a member of the university team and qualify for the scholarship.

  • Need-based scholarships – need-based grants are available for students with a low personal/ family income and for students with disabilities. This form of financial support doesn’t need to be paid back. Such Ph.D. scholarships can be availed by students who come from economically weaker sections.
  • Specific scholarships - sometimes scholarships are provided to people from a specific ethnic background or family affiliations or gender minorities to help the minorities to pursue an education in fields in which they have been historically under-represented.
  • Student loans - these are specific loans provided to students according to their needs. The interest rates are usually lower than normal loans and the repayment usually starts within six months after the completion of the degree.
  • Student prizes - there are many schemes by the government and private institutions that provide cash prizes for students. The criteria for availing these prizes may be different like academic achievements, excellent performance in undergraduate exams, results of public exams, for best paper in a range of subjects, overall performance in the doctoral degree, etc.

Application for these scholarships will be available at the official government websites of the respective countries, websites of the universities and private organizations.

There are some things you can do to make sure you get a scholarship.

  • Keep yourself updated with the government schemes and private organizations providing Ph.D. guidance.
  • Carefully write your Ph.D. application providing your achievements and requirements. Make sure to draft a scholarship letter mentioning your excellence in the required field/ your financial requirements.
  • Gather as much information as you can about the organizations providing Ph.D. assistance.
  • Keep checking the University website for openings.

One company who is providing Ph.D. guidance and Ph.D. assistance in India is Bhavathi Technologies. They are the top Ph.D. Assistance in Hyderabad. They are based out of Hyderabad and are working for many years.