When you're considering studying for a master's degree, one very important issue is how you will fund your studies. You need money for the payment of tuition fees, the purchasing of books and other materials, and possibly for travel and conference attendance. You also need to pay for your living costs like rent, food, transport, and entertainment. These costs can add up fast! Some students choose to take on a part time job and study part time. But for others, this is not possible. So how should you fund your masters? Scholarships are available, where organisations provide financial assistance for masters students. Today we're sharing some tips on where you can find a scholarship for your masters.
When you apply to a masters program at a university, most universities will have schemes where you can apply for funding too. Sometimes you will just need to check a box on your application for the course stating that you would like to be considered for a scholarship. In other cases, you will need to enter a separate application or letter of motivation for the funding, in addition to your application for the program. When assigning funding, universities typically consider the strengths of the candidate: their previous academic grades, any relevant experience in the field, and academic honours they have received such as prizes. But you'll need a strong statement of motivation too, so spend some time making this part of your application as good as it can be.
The advantage of winning such university funding is that the administration is handled by the university, so it's easy for the students to manage. The disadvantage of applying for such funding is that it is extremely competitive, so standards can be very high. If you are unsure about the availability of funding or the process for applying for it, you should seek out the university's funding office which can advise you on the specifics of their schemes.
Another option for funding masters studies is applying for a scholarship from governmental schemes. Most countries have schemes in place for funding all aspects of education, including masters programs. The details and requirements for schemes vary between countries, but you should be able to find information on your government's website.
Depending on your subject, funding can be either plentiful or competitive. Government programs tend to promote fields of study with strong practical applications, such as STEM fields. There is generally much less funding available for arts or humanities subjects. If your field is currently a hot topic, this can be an advantage in securing funding.
National and Professional Organisations
Professional organisations will sometimes have funding schemes available for masters students. These independent organisations provide funding for studies which forward their needs or which promote certain political or social research. For example, many scholarships are available for issues of social importance, such as for programs of study which focus on the environment or on clean energy production. You can also find schemes targeted at certain students, such as funding specifically for women, or for members of a particular religion, or for those from a certain national or ethnic background.
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How to Find Scholarships
There are lots of websites dedicated to funding for students, and you'll want to look for postgraduate funding specifically. Of course, you can start your search right here on Inomics! Other online databases are available too, which you can search by filtering by geographical region, academic subject, funding amount, and your personal criteria such as religious affiliation or age.
Don't forget about email lists too, which often have the earliest news on scholarships, so that you can start applying as fast as possible. Take a look at the email lists for your university and for any professional groups to which you belong.
Last but not least, don't forget the power of networking. You need to let your lecturers, peers, and mentors know that you are looking for funding. Sometimes they will have information on schemes which didn't turn up in your search, or can recommend particular organisations to you. Your network is also important when applying for a scholarship – some schemes will require a letter of recommendation, and it's a great asset to have a strong recommendation from a mentor in your field.
Good luck with your search for master's scholarships! Find more information in one of our articles: