Magdalen research students are selected from among the brightest minds in the world, and are finding solutions to some of our greatest 21st-century challenges. Yet every year a significant number of the best candidates, handpicked by our Fellows to form part of their world-leading research team or to become the academics of the future, decline their offer of a place at Magdalen due to lack of funding. These stellar candidates are lost to other institutions that can provide funding, or in some cases they abandon postgraduate study altogether.
Our aim is to ensure that every student is able to take up their place and fulfil their potential. To do this, we need to be able to offer financial support as necessary, and your support of this fund helps us to do just that.
Why is graduate research so important?
As recent global events have highlighted, Oxford University is a world-leading research university. Graduate researchers are at the forefront of this activity, not only trained to become the researchers of the future, but increasingly carrying out vital research themselves. And in turn, access to outstanding graduate researchers is cited as the main reason why many world-leading academics choose to work at Oxford, as well as inspiring the very brightest undergraduates who wish to enter research themselves.
Why is there an urgent need to support graduate research now?
Changes to the funding framework in the UK in recent years have created significant funding cuts. There are different challenges in the Humanities and Sciences but both face difficult circumstances. In the Sciences 29% of Oxford graduate students are now fully self-funded, in the Humanities this figure is over 43%. No one wants to see Oxford return to the days of ‘gentleman scholars’, where only those of independent means are able to undertake graduate research. If we lose those world-class applicants who require financial support, over time it will threaten Oxford’s position as the best research university in the world.
Unlike for undergraduates, there is no student loan facility available to students at postgraduate level. Without independent means, for many of our applicants a studentship is critical to being able to accept the place at all. Having made significant progress to improve socio-economic diversity at undergraduate level, Magdalen is determined to level the playing field at postgraduate level too.
60% of graduate student places offered across the University are declined
due to lack of funding.
Hemani Chhabra (DPhil Theoretical Chemistry) uses theoretical chemistry techniques to research better mechanisms for delivering cancer drugs. Her research is funded partly by Chemistry Department and partly by the College, and would not be eligible for government funding. She says of the financial support provided by the College, ‘I wouldn’t be in Oxford without it’.
Facts and Figures
Magdalen graduate numbers:
- 232 graduate students make up 36% of the total Magdalen student body of 640 students
- Of these:
- 53% are UK students and 47% from overseas
- 64% are research (DPhil) students, with 36% on taught courses (including Clinical Medicine)
- 31% are in the Mathematical, Physical and Life Sciences division; 30% in Medical Sciences; 23% in the Humanities; and 16% in the Social Sciences
- 18% are self-funding
- 25% are financially supported by the College for at least part of their basic costs (to the tune of £557,000 in 2019/20)
Cost of graduate study in 2020/21:
- DPhil fees range from £7,970 per year for a UK student to £23,500 per year for an overseas student (which now includes EU students).
- Basic maintenance costs are £15,245 per year
- The total cost of a three-year DPhil therefore ranges from c.£70,000 for a UK student to c.£116,000 for an overseas student (bearing in mind that most DPhils now take four years rather than three)
The Funding Patchwork
The University departments are often able to cover part of the cost from a variety of internal and external funding sources, with the colleges expected to make up the remainder in order for the student to qualify for the University scholarship.
Our goal is to be able to provide the college portion of funding for every graduate student we offer a place to who is unable to obtain funding from other sources, in conjunction with the partial awards offered by the departments.
How you can help
Any amount our supporters give can enhance the Graduate Scholarship Fund which provides flexible funding the College can use to create full scholarships by pairing with departmental awards.
For those interested in supporting a full studentship:
- £45,000 (£15,000 a year for 3 years) provides the livings costs for one student’s DPhil, and this will be paired with a departmental fees award to create a full scholarship
- We aim to build an endowment adequate to provide for at least 10-20 of these awards over the next few years.
Please get in touch to find out more about tax-efficient giving.
With your help we hope to ensure that every world-class graduate student that Magdalen selects is able to take up their place, and we are excited to see the discoveries and breakthroughs that will result in the years to come.
For further information or to give your support please contact:
Heather L Ebner
Director of Development
+44 (0)1865 286796