Funding opportunities

It is important that students are aware that funding support is limited: many Oxford graduate students are substantially self-funding, and opportunities to earn money on course are limited. That said, the History Faculty manages a range of awards which are intended to retain the best history graduates from the UK, EU and worldwide, and also some funds which are intended to facilitate the completion of doctoral theses within the fourth year of the programme.

Advanced research students may hope to make small amounts of money through teaching (see Training to teach and teaching opportunities), and there are some part-time jobs available in colleges and in such university institutions as faculty libraries and computing services. However, these contribute no more than small amounts to the income of a small proportion of students; opportunities to seek other employment during term or vacations are limited by the full-time nature of the faculty’s graduate programmes. It is expected that graduate students study full-time during both terms and vacations, other than when taking private holidays. 

Of course, some overseas students obtain awards from funding bodies in their home countries. Within the UK, the most important funding opportunities for History graduate students are as follows.

Master’s students seeking readmission to our doctoral programmes may naturally apply for any of the awards available to applicants from outside Oxford (for details please consult the Funding section on the Faculty’s Prospective Students WebSite).

Doctoral students in their second and third year will under certain circumstances be eligible to apply for some of these awards (except for Clarendon Fund Bursaries which are only available for those starting a new programme of study). Application procedures will mirror those for new applicants. Details for AHRC applications by existing doctoral students are published by the Humanities Division. Please note that Faculty assessors will among other things take the quality of a student's research proposal into account in making funding nominations. Applicants for funding are strongly encouraged to pay careful attention to the guidance on drawing up a developed research proposal. It is essential that all applicants for AHRC awards submit well developed research proposals, since these will play a central part in this funding selection-process.  – In their final year research students may be eligible to awards intended for facilitating the writing up of their theses. 

Third-party funding

We strongly recommend that applicants and existing students also investigate funding resources from outside the Faculty and University. Online resources worth investigating include Postgraduate Funding through Grants from Charity for funding of degree programmes and the Research Professional site for post-degree research funding, though the latter may from time to time offer studentships connected with certain projects. 


Scholarships and opportunities to undertake research abroad

The International Office lists a wide range of opportunities for research abroad for Oxford-based students through scholarships and grants. These include

The History Faculty has arraged a number of graduate exchanges with European universities. These permit history graduates to undertake a period of research abroad.

The École Normale Supérieure de Cachan

The History Faculty and the École Normale Supérieure de Cachan, Paris, have agreed to implement up to two Erasmus exchange studentships. In Oxford, the offer is intended for second-year MPhil or DPhil graduates looking to undertake research in Paris or for third-year History and Modern Languages undergraduates wishing to undertake further study during their year abroad. The offer is for the whole academic year or for one semester.
The École Normale Supérieure de Cachan is the 'modern' École Normale in Paris. It has the advantage of offering accommodation, unlike most French higher education institutions, and is a short RER ride from central Paris.
For the academic year 2013/14 a letter of application (no more than one side), with brief CV and reasons for wishing to undertake the exchange, should be sent to the Coordinator, Professor Robert Gildea, and copied to Adam Evans by Friday 4 January 2013. Applications should be accompanied by an email message from your tutor or supervisor approving the application. Inquiries about the exchange may be addressed to Robert Gildea or Adam Evans.
This exchange is particularly useful for graduates undertaking research in French history post 1789. Oxford graduates who take up this opportunity are not charged fees by Cachan, and are provided with accommodation at a reasonable rate, although they continue to pay fees to their Oxford College. Cachan also offers a small number of
international scholarships.

For further information contact Professor Robert Gildea (Oxford University), or Professeur Stephane Davenet (ENS Cachan).

The University of Uppsala

History graduates may also spend a term at the University of Uppsala as a visiting scholar. An interest in Swedish or Scandinavian History, or in comparative study with a Scandinavian dimension, will be an advantage. Visiting scholars are provided with an office and limited stipend. They will be required to make two seminar presentations in the History Department.

The University of Padua

We have now established an exchange agreement with the Scuola di Scienze Storiche of the University of Padua under the Erasmus Scheme. The agreement is also open to subject areas other than History. Padua is one of the oldest Italian universities with well-established and highly regarded multi-national graduate schools. The exchange within the scheme is limited to permanent European Union residents, and both Padua and Oxford expect to exchange each year two students in this category. In addition, Padua has agreed to accept up to two non-EU graduates each year in recognition of our large number of overseas doctoral students. It is expected that students spend two or three months at Padua University, possibly as part of a longer visit for archival work in Italy.

Padua offers to our students a language immersion course, numerous graduate-focussed courses (a few in English), and excellent library facilities in many subject areas. Padua graduate teaching is mostly focussed on students beginning in September and again in February, and visits during these periods could be particularly fruitful, providing an opportunity to experience a first-hand initiation into Italian academic culture and their approaches to the exchange student’s discipline. Naturally, other times of the year are entirely acceptable for study there (excluding the summer months, when everything is shut). Padua University will also help to find living accommodation; the EU funding attached to the scheme would provide a contribution to living expenses. Students would continue paying fees to their home institutions but would not be charged any fees in their guest institution.

This exchange is most immediately useful for those working on an Italian project, who will benefit from a proper institutional base as part of the period of orientation in that country. Graduates who are not studying Italy are, however, equally welcome as applicants. The commonest year for making application is the first year of the doctorate, for the following year; applications will be made in Michaelmas term of the academic year preceding the proposed exchange. Potentially interested students are encouraged to contact either of the exchange co-ordinators well in advance.

Oxford co-ordinator: Dr Nicholas Davidson
Padua co-ordinator: Professor Maria Cristina La Rocca

The Europaeum

The Europaeum is an affiliation of ten well-established European universities with the aim to encourage collaborative research and teaching, to provide opportunities for scholars, leaders, academics and graduates, to stage conferences, summer schools and colloquia, and to enable leading figures from the worlds of business, politics and culture to take part in transnational and interdisciplinary dialogue with the world of scholarship. All programmes aim to include professors from three or more partner institutions, while remaining open and ready to work alongside any other bodies or experts. Small internal grants promote the mission of the association.


Travel and research expenses

The Faculty makes termly grants from the Arnold, Bryce and Read funds to meet travel and other expenses incidental to research such as library registration or photocopying (please note that we are not able to contribute to any accommodation and subsistence costs); students are eligible for only one award a year from this source. Grants, when made, are usually in the range of £50-£250. Application deadlines: Friday of Week Six, each Term.

The Colin Matthew Fund, administered by St Hugh’s College, promotes historical study or research by graduate and undergraduate students. It currently offers grants to support travel for the purposes of research. Grants may be awarded up to the value of £500. Please address applications and references to The Principal's Secretary, St Hugh's College, St Margarets Road, by Friday of Fourth Week of Trinity Term.

In addition to the sources mentioned here, many colleges offer small travel awards to their own students: these do not usually amount to more than a few hundred pounds per year.

The Royal Historical Society offers grants:


Advanced graduate students only

May apply for the Faculty’s own Designated Studentships, supported by charitable bequests. The Faculty is normally able to make two awards each year, usually to students of confirmed DPhil status, who seek financial assistance for a period of up to 12 months, in which they plan to complete writing up. Application deadline: Monday, Week 0, Trinity Term.

They may also be eligible for extremely competitive Junior Research Fellowships offered by colleges, or sometimes in the context of departmental research projects (usually advertised in the Gazette). 

Advanced Home students may in addition be eligible to apply for one or more of the scholarships administered by the Institute of Historical Research.

The Vice-Chancellors' Fund
The Vice-Chancellors’ Fund has been established through donations by members of the Chancellor’s Court of Benefactors in honour of three recent Vice-Chancellors, Lord Neill of Bladen, Sir Richard Southwood and Sir Peter North. The Fund is intended to assist students in the final stages of their DPhil. It provides awards of up to £3,000 to DPhil students of exceptional academic merit who require extra funding to complete their research.
Please download a copy of the application form. The deadline for applications is 12 noon on Friday 6 February 2015.
Any queries should be sent to


Students are expected to work out a financial strategy to support their whole period of study before they start, and will be asked by their colleges to provide appropriate financial guarantees. Some funding is available to assist students faced with financial hardship as a result of an unforeseeable change of circumstances.

Under certain circumstances third-party charities may also offer support. See for instance the Leverhulme Trade Charities Trust.