A graduate offer in the UK is not automatically underwritten with full funding and you will need to secure a scholarship or cover your fees, maintenance and other costs (for instance, fieldwork) from other sources.

The best starting point for scholarship information within Oxford is the fees, funding and scholarship search tool.

A comprehensive guide to the many funding opportunities can be found on the graduate scholarships website, including a guide to external funding and an A-Z list of scholarships.

This webpage gives detailed information about studentships that the Department of Politics and International Relations (DPIR) offers directly, and other funding opportunities for which the DPIR nominates students.

All graduate applicants

The Department will automatically consider graduate applicants for selected studentships and scholarship nominations, if certain criteria are met. You can read more below.

  • Studentships

    DPIR Studentships are intended to retain the best students who have not been able to secure funding from other sources. For that reason, the offers are made after the outcomes of other funding competitions are announced.

    There is no separate application process for these awards; the DPIR automatically considers all offer-holders on the basis of their application documents.

    The DPIR also offers a number of studentships in association with particular colleges. In general, you do not need to select one of those colleges as your college choice. All offer-holders are automatically considered for these studentships on the basis of their application documents. If successful, DPIR will reroute your file to the relevant college.


  • Nominations

    A number of scholarship boards do not permit students to apply for their funds directly, but instead invite the DPIR to submit nominations into a wider competitive process. There is no separate application process for these nominations, and your candidacy will be assessed on the basis of your application documents. The principal scholarships in this category are those offered by the Clarendon Fund.

    The Clarendon Fund offers full funding to applicants pursuing a DPhil, a terminal MPhil or a combined programme of MPhil/MSc and DPhil study at Oxford. If you are an applicant whose MPhil is the first stage of a doctoral programme, then you should include a brief outline of your intended DPhil research in your statement of purpose. The Clarendon Fund’s selection process is very competitive, and the DPIR may nominate a limited number of applicants for these scholarships. The main university site has more information about the Clarendon Fund and its scholarships.

Research Councils

The two UK Research Councils that support research in Politics and International Relations are the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).

  • Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)

    The ESRC funds doctoral students who work in comparative politics and international relations. The University, in collaboration with Brunel University and the Open University, hosts the Grand Union Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP)one of fourteen DTPs accredited by the ESRC as part of a Doctoral Training Network.

    In order to be considered for a Grand Union DTP ESRC studentship, you must:

    • Select ‘ESRC Grand Union DTP Studentships in Social Sciences’ in the University of Oxford scholarships section of the University's graduate application form.
    • You must also complete a Grand Union DTP Application Form and upload it, together with your graduate application form, by the application deadline for your course.
    • Please note that the ESRC does not fund MPhil or MSc programmes which do not lead to doctoral study. If you are an applicant whose MPhil or MSc is the first stage of a doctoral programme, then you should include a brief outline of your intended DPhil research in your statement of purpose.
    • From 2024, applicants who already hold a Master's degree in a social sciences subject will be eligible for ESRC doctoral funding only. 

    ESRC awards are open to all candidates (including international students), however DTPs are limited to awarding a maximum of 30% of studentships to international students.

    Information about ESRC studentships at Oxford can be found on the Grand Union DTP website. Please ensure you have read all of the guidance available on the website before completing the Grand Union DTP Application Form. Questions can be directed by email to the Grand Union DTP Office.

  • The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)

    AHRC provides public funding in support of research into the arts and humanities, for approximately one quarter of the UK's research population. Oxford participates in the Open-Oxford-Cambridge AHRC Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP), providing a number of scholarships each year to students working in eligible subject areas across the Humanities and Social Sciences Divisions, including political philosophy. 

    AHRC awards are open to all candidates (including international students). All candidates wishing to be considered for AHRC funding must complete the DTP application form and submit this with their course application. Information about applying for AHRC scholarships at Oxford can currently be found on the Open-Oxford-Cambridge AHRC DTP website.

Highlighted funding

A non-exhaustive list of scholarship opportunities that may be of interest to DPIR graduate applicants is set out below. Some sources of funding require a separate application and some require you to choose a particular college. However, for the vast majority of scholarships, you will automatically be considered (if you are eligible) as part of the application process. The latest list and information on how to apply can be found using the fees, funding and scholarship search tool.

  • Nuffield College Scholarships

    For candidates admitted to Nuffield College, the College will underwrite full funding (i.e. fees and living expenses) for the duration of the fee liability of their course. Candidates for the MSc, the MPhil, and the DPhil in Politics or International Relations will be considered for these awards. Applicants should apply through the standard admissions procedure, but do not need to select Nuffield in order to be considered. Further information about the scholarship can be found on the Nuffield College website

  • Adam Von Trott Scholarships

    Mansfield College, jointly with the Studienstiftung and DPIR, awards a scholarship at Mansfield College in memory of Adam von Trott, who studied at the College in 1929. Adam von Trott zu Solz, a diplomat in the German Foreign Office, was a central figure in the group around Claus von Stauffenberg that planned to kill Hitler; he was put to death by the Nazi regime in Germany on 26 August 1944. The scholarship is awarded to a German national accepted to read for the two-year MPhil degree in Politics (EPS, Comparative Government, Political Theory) or in International Relations. The award comprises contributions from the Studienstiftung, the Adam von Trott Memorial Fund, the DPIR and Mansfield College up to the value of the full Course Fee and advised maintenance. Mansfield College guarantees two years' college accommodation at standard charges, which is covered by the maintenance allowance. No separate application is required. Eligible applicants should apply for an MPhil degree in the DPIR through the standard University admissions process and note their interest in the scholarship within their application. Read a testimonial from a recent Adam von Trott Scholar. [PDF document]

  • Governor Phillip Scholarships

    DPIR and the Governor Phillip Scholarship Trust are pleased to offer full funding (fees and maintenance) for an MPhil candidate, who is ordinarily resident in Australia. No separate application is required and applicants should apply to the MPhil through the usual graduate application process. More information is available on the Governor Phillip Scholarship Trust website.

  • University College Scholarships

    The Oxford-Radcliffe Studentship in Politics and/or International Relations (Dept of Politics and International Relations) is a fully-funded Oxford-Radcliffe Studentship available to an outstanding candidate who applies to the Dept of Politics and International Relations for DPhil entry. The field of proposed study must be in one of the following areas: public policy; comparative political economy; comparative political development; global economic governance; or international relations. 3 years’ full funding is available in partnership with the Department’s annual studentship funding competition. The studentship is open to any nationality and does not require an explicit application (although candidates must either list University College as their preferred college, or be willing to migrate to Univ to take up the award). The studentship will be awarded as part of the Department’s annual studentship competition, and will cover living costs and all fees.

    Oxford-Rothermere at Univ Studentship (American Politics or American History) is a fully-funded DPhil studentship, open to an outstanding student from the European Economic Area (EEA) who applies for entry to undertake a DPhil in either the area of American Politics (in the Department of Politics and International Relations, Social Sciences Division) or in the area of American History (in the Faculty of History, Humanities Division). No separate application to the College is required, as the studentship will be awarded as part of the relevant department's annual studentship competition. It will cover living costs and all fees.

  • St Antony's Swire Scholarships

    The St Antony’s Swire Scholarships – funded by the Swire Charitable Trust. Four fully funded scholarships are available to applicants who are permanent residents of Japan, Chinese mainland or Hong Kong SAR and have completed the majority of their formal education in their country/region of permanent residency. The Scholarships will be awarded primarily on academic merit, although financial need may be taken into account.

    You can find out more about this scholarship on the St Antony's College website.

  • David N. Lyon Scholarship in Politics: The Politics of Sex and Gender Equality in Diverse Societies

    Following a generous benefaction from Orielensis David Lyon, Oriel College is offering a new scholarship to support one postgraduate student to undertake research into the politics of sex and gender equality in diverse societies. Further details may be found on the Oriel College website.

  • Kwok Scholarships

    Established by the Kwok Scholars Association (founded by Dr. Walter Kwok), the Kwok Scholarships funds postgraduate students.

    • Graduate: each year, the Kwok Scholarships will provide full funding for up to two exceptional students from Hong Kong and/or mainland China with an intention to serve the public for the benefit of the Hong Kong community and/or betterment of China. Funding is available for two graduate scholarships at the University of Oxford, annually. Scholarships are tenable for the full duration of a standard graduate course (1 or 2 years in length). Priority will be given to Master of Public Policy. Applicants of MSc in Psychological Research, MSc in Biodiversity, Conservation and Management, MSc in Environmental Change and Management, MSc in Nature, Society and Environmental Governance, MSc in Water Science, Policy and Management, MPhil in International Relations, MPhil in Politics (Comparative Government) and MPhil in Politics (Political Theory) are also welcome to apply.

    You can find out more about these funding opportunities on the Kwok Scholarships website.