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Charities and Trusts

Charities and Trusts

Funding from charities and trusts is one of several options you may wish to explore to help you fund the cost of your postgraduate study. You might explore this option when planning your funding as a prospective student, or it may be an option to consider if you are already a postgraduate student but your planned funding has been disrupted, or you are facing an unexpected cost.

It is not advisable to rely on charitable funding as a main source of income, but if you are successful, it could contribute to the overall package you need to put in place to cover your fees and living costs. Many charities aim to assist only the most vulnerable members of society but some can offer help with educational costs if you meet their criteria.

Before deciding whether to apply for this type of funding, there are some key points to consider. You need to:

  • apply well in advance of the year you need funding for so you can make alternative plans if you are not successful
  • set aside enough time to research and apply to several individual trusts and charities as most will offer successful applicants small amounts of money rather than a larger lump sum
  • make sure you meet all of the eligibility criteria before you apply as most charities have strict criteria such as an upper age limit or living in a certain location
  • apply by any stated deadlines

We explain below some ways of searching for charitable funding:

The Alternative Guide to Postgraduate Funding

QMUL has subscribed to the Alternative Guide to Postgraduate Funding. The Alternative Guide is a website featuring a database of over 750 charities. It was written by two postgraduate students who between them have won over £45,000 from 55 different charity awards to fund their own postgraduate studies. Read the 'Student Stories' section of the guide for helpful advice from real students who have secured funding. The guide will take you through the whole process, from identifying charities to making applications for funding. You can use the database whether you are looking for a large amount of funding, or a small amount for a specific project or conference attendance, whether you need help with tuition fees or for living costs. 

Current QMUL students and staff can access the information for free via the Alternative Guide Gateway by registering with their QMUL e-mail address, or logging on automatically from campus.

If you are a prospective student, you can also access the guide for free, by entering a PIN. To get the current PIN please e-mail

Learned Societies

A Learned Society is an organization that exists to promote an academic discipline or profession, or a group of related disciplines or professions. They are mostly non-profit organisations. Some also act as professional bodies. Learned Societies may offer their members a range of funding opportunities, including grants and awards.

You can use the list of Learned Societies on the QMUL website to see if there is one related to your academic discipline or profession, and if so, whether they have any funding opportunities which you could apply for:

Turn2us grant search

If you have particular circumstances, you could try using the Turn2us grant search which allows you to filter your search by criteria.

Some examples of relevant circumstances include:

  • coming to university from care or homelessness
  • belonging to certain professions (you or your family members)
  • having a particular health issue or support need
  • belonging to a particular religion

The Turn2us website includes detailed information about what help is available from charities and trusts, how to search the grants database, and how to apply for charitable funding.

Once you have identified the organisations you wish to contact, you are sure you are eligible to apply and the deadline has not passed, you will generally need to prepare a statement explaining how you meet the criteria, You may find it helpful to follow the suggestions listed under the ‘How to apply’ section of the Advice and Counselling Service Charities and Trusts webpages.

Sometimes, as part of the application procedure, charities and trusts may require a supporting letter from someone who can comment on your suitability to pursue your postgraduate studies. This could be an academic or other professional person who knows you. If there is no-one who can provide you with a supporting letter or if you need advice about making an application for funding from charities and trusts, contact a Welfare Adviser in the Advice and Counselling Service.

Law, regulations and policies can change quickly. The information on our website is given in good faith and has been carefully checked but QMUL cannot accept responsibility for any errors or omissions. QMUL is not responsible for the content or reliability of the linked websites which are provided for further information.

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