Funding a PhD

After the application and the acceptance, it seems that the next thing a girl has to do is line up funding for her program. For overseas students, the PhD in Creative Writing program at Lancaster costs 13,930 pounds, or about US$17,415 per year (comprising three quarters of 10 weeks each). For UK/EU students, it’s less than half that, but I expected that. Out-of-state tuition for new residents here at home costs a fortune, too.

On the good side, the program is only three years instead of seven! At the university closest to me, students take four years of taught courses (including learning a second language well enough to read fluently), then spend two or three years on the dissertation. In the English system, I spend three years writing novel and dissertation (or, in UK terms, the creative project and the reflective thesis).

So, funding. My goal is to pay the bills with a mix of savings and scholarships and bursaries, but the question is, where do you find them? There are a bazillion websites on student funding. The vast majority of money goes to undergrads, with some to MA students, and hardly any to PhD students. The reason for this, in the US at least, is because doctoral students teach and do research at their schools as part of their program, and get paid for it. Well, that doesn’t apply to US students studying long-distance with a UK school.

So, here’s the plan:

  1. Apply for a faculty scholarship from the school. Put the application together and did that today. Deadline: March 3
  2. Apply for a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Yeah, stop laughing. Maybe I can get my dibs in before the NEA gets disassembled and put out to the curb with the last of the Christmas trees. But hey, this year’s grant is for prose, and I meet all the criteria, so what the heck. Deadline: March 8.
  3. Apply for an Awesome grant. Hey, it’s worth a shot! They’re local, and all you have to do is convince them that your project is awesome! Deadline: Ongoing.

I’ll let you know if any apples fall with all this tree-shaking.


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