Figuring out funding

I struggle sometimes to believe that it’s really been seven years since I graduated with my MA in Art History, and that it’s been eleven years since I embarked on my undergraduate degree in the same subject.

Despite being so determined the first time around to progress to a PhD, and having experienced the soul-destroying nature of failed funding applications, I feel like in my second attempt I’m going in completely blind.

Talking with a good friend today, who is in the throes of her own PhD at Cardiff University, she talked me through the various funding options available and it dawned on me that I haven’t got a clue what I’m doing.

Back in 2013 when I was applying for a PhD at the University of York, all I had to do was apply through the AHRC and it seemed so simple. Yet today I’ve learned about the various pathways available through the Doctoral Training Partnership programme, and how funding is divided amongst geographical regions.

It seems that the best thing to do is to game the system and apply for a place in an institution that isn’t so prestigious, because there will be less competition and really it doesn’t matter where you do it.

Luckily for me, I’ve identified a potential supervisor in an ‘okay’ institution that shares a region with somewhere that’s very high in demand.

The downside is that said institution doesn’t actually have many scholarships going at this time. Fingers crossed I can navigate my way around the funding labyrinth to find a way around that and apply for something off-the-cuff.


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