Physics Scholarships

  • Helena Kudiabor
  • Mar 31 2023

One of the biggest barriers to higher education is not having the financial resources. However, there are plenty of loans and scholarships available to aspiring physics students.


Government loans

If you’re a home or EU student, you’ll be able to receive a tuition fee loan from the government. Undergraduate students can receive up to £9,250, and the loan will be paid directly to your university. Home students are also eligible for a maintenance loan to cover your costs of living, based on your household income, whether you’re living with your parents, and where you’re living in the UK. 

If you’re interested in postgraduate study, you can get a master’s loan and doctoral loan. Master’s students can get up to £11,836, while PhD students can get up to £27,892. This will help with the cost of your tuition fees and general living expenses. 

Students experiencing additional challenges are also eligible for government funded grants. For example, students with disabilities can apply for the Disabled Students’ Allowance grant, while students with dependants can receive the Childcare Grant or Parents’ Learning Allowance.

Note that once you’ve graduated and are earning a certain amount, you’ll have to pay back the money borrowed, and there will be interest added to it. Although government loans greatly reduce the financial burden, it’s still worth exploring scholarships.

What physics scholarships are available?

A number of universities offer bursaries and scholarships for students interested in studying physics. Eligibility criteria differs between universities and individual scholarships. For example, certain scholarships are exclusively for international students, while many are only for home students. Some scholarships are for students who have excellent academic achievements, while others are for students from underrepresented backgrounds. 

If you aren’t eligible for your university’s scholarships, many external organisations offer physics scholarships. For example, the Institute of Physics offers the Bell Burnell Graduate Scholarship fund, which provides a grant for PhD physics students from underrepresented groups. 

How do I boost my chances of securing a scholarship?

Scholarship applications are competitive, so you’ll need to make your application stand out. The application process varies, but typically involves an application form and an interview, with some universities requiring a critical thinking test. In your application form and interview, make sure you can articulate your passion for physics and interest in pursuing further study. For example, you could talk about a book you’ve read or a physics experiment you conducted.

The interviewer is looking for someone who will make the most of a physics degree and a subsequent career, so be sure to explain how the grant will help you pursue your passion.