PHD students - How well does your stipend cover you? Watch

rY4uGD1fMzBj4xe2
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I've wondered this for a while now.

To my understanding, if you are financially supported by one of the seven research councils in the UK you are expected to receive your tuition fee's paid for, along with a stipend of around £13,000 to £15,000 per year; but how well does that cover you?

With the stipend being tax free, and along with the many benefits you get as a student (e.g. no council tax), how well does this support you throughout your PHD? Do you struggle? Do you have to obtain further funds elsewhere? Do you work as well?

Cheers,
Ritchie
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alex-hs
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(Original post by ritchie888)
I've wondered this for a while now.

To my understanding, if you are financially supported by one of the seven research councils in the UK you are expected to receive your tuition fee's paid for, along with a stipend of around £13,000 to £15,000 per year; but how well does that cover you?

With the stipend being tax free, and along with the many benefits you get as a student (e.g. no council tax), how well does this support you throughout your PHD? Do you struggle? Do you have to obtain further funds elsewhere? Do you work as well?

Cheers,
Ritchie
I get £1227.50 per month put into my bank account, which is nice, plus £10 an hour for any marking/lab sessions etc I do, although obviously that's taxable and NI eligible if you do enough.

I tend to find it's plenty :yes:

Edit: although, I still live in a similar manner to an undergrad, ie in a shared house in a studenty area - I couldn't, for instance, tell you how well it would cover a mortgage and/or help supporting a family.
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ChemistBoy
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It's plenty you don't need to work. However some people's stipends aren't as high as that. I've know people support a family and a mortgage on that and it really isn't that different, when all is said and done, to a graduate salary.
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arkbar
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(Original post by ritchie888)
I've wondered this for a while now.

To my understanding, if you are financially supported by one of the seven research councils in the UK you are expected to receive your tuition fee's paid for, along with a stipend of around £13,000 to £15,000 per year; but how well does that cover you?

With the stipend being tax free, and along with the many benefits you get as a student (e.g. no council tax), how well does this support you throughout your PHD? Do you struggle? Do you have to obtain further funds elsewhere? Do you work as well?

Cheers,
Ritchie
I don't work outside of my stipend (but will next year) and find that the amount I receive is totally fine to live on. It's the equivalent to earning something like £17k if you take into account all the tax things.
Also, you're not meant to work elsewhere for more than 6hrs a week if you get a full research council stipend, if I recall right.
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LawQueen
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I wish I had this problem.
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A Human
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Most people will have lived on far less when they studied previously but I suppose some PHD students might have acquired additional commitments or a more indulgent lifestyle following their MA/Msc.
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Ghost
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I'm another £13k receiver here. I find the money is more than enough, I've never been left tight. Compared to a student loan it's amazing. Also, the money for demonstration adds a fair amount to it each year (over £2000)
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themongoose
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I'm on ~13k (~3.25k every three months) and pay about 500 for rent and food etc. a month (in Coventry) which means I have about 100 a week to do what I want with or save. Plus, as others have mentioned, there's demonstrating money which can be up to 2.5k a year which, if spread out by a friendly finance team at your department, can be paid without incurring tax. I also run my own car, insurance and all so unless you have an insanely expensive hobby or tastes then you'll survive just fine.
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MagicNMedicine
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Remember only a few students are lucky enough to get a research council stipend. Other's have to work part time to get enough money to live on which means they realistically won't be able to get as much as the stipend, they will probably only be bringing in about £7k-8k in a year. If they have to fund their fees as well then its an extra burden which makes completing a PhD a tough experience!
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rY4uGD1fMzBj4xe2
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Ah cool. That sounds great. Is anyone pursuing their PHD in London? I assume the money doesn't go quite as far in the city (although I know you do get a higher stipend).
Can someone explain to me this 'demonstration money'? I've never heard of that before.

I'm interested in doing research following my masters and I'm currently contracting as a developer running up to my masters. Someone had said that you're not meant to work more than six hours a week, but does anyone know if that would include freelancing from my company?
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apotoftea
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(Original post by ritchie888)
Ah cool. That sounds great. Is anyone pursuing their PHD in London? I assume the money doesn't go quite as far in the city (although I know you do get a higher stipend).
Can someone explain to me this 'demonstration money'? I've never heard of that before.

I'm interested in doing research following my masters and I'm currently contracting as a developer running up to my masters. Someone had said that you're not meant to work more than six hours a week, but does anyone know if that would include freelancing from my company?
I did my MA at the University of London but not quite IN the city but still experienced London costs. So know about it in those terms. £15 000 (which is roughly the London stipend) is ok depending on how much your rent is. Even if you spent £8K (high amount but just for an example) you're left with £7000 for general day to day costs which equates to about £130 a week (for a 52 week year). Who really needs to live on £130 a week? And if you're in London, travel all comes under Osyter etc so you're looking at over £100 to spend on food, going out, books etc.

I did my MA on a budget of £50 a week and still didn't go without anything. So £130 is more than enough IMHO.


Regarding working - I think it's max 6 hours a week of any paid work not relating to academic life. So teaching doesn't count but a supermarket would.
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Wyrd14
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I do my PhD in London on £15k and find that it's more than enough. For my MA I got about £11k and even that wasn't a struggle. The only people who might complain are those who have become accustomed to living and working as a non-student for a number of years. If you're going straight, or more or less straight, from the BA/MA to PhD then it'll seem like a small fortune. In addition, there's always extra funding around for conference/research expenses, and you'll get paid for any teaching you do.
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Horrorshow
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I appreciate I am bumping an old thread here (apologies), but is there any way/website where you can calculate what the real life equivalent of your tax-free stipend would work out as?
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Reflexive
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Seeing as I came from the ghetto, I feel like I'm living the high life now. Get 3000 a year bonus plus 3-4 a year teaching.
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booraad
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http://listentotaxman.com/index.php

Think this is useful for working out the equivalent taxed pay -

£15K Stipend --> approx £19K pre-tax
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LostRiot
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£13k is about £16k before tax (and student loan).

Its easy to live on £13k a year, particularly when you spend all your life working.
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booraad
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(Original post by LostRiot)
£13k is about £16k before tax (and student loan).

Its easy to live on £13k a year, particularly when you spend all your life working.
Haha!
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steepest descent
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I'm doing my PhD in London with 15,5k (tax free - this is important!), it means about £1300 pm. I couldn't work elsewhere, I'm full time.
This is how my expenditures look like pm although it can fluctuate, could be useful for you:

money out 73%
rent (I'm living in zone 1/2 - flatsharing) 41%
transport (TFL, using the tube every week) 5%
food (market only) 7%
phone (have a very nice cheap network called giffgaff) 0%
cash (lunch food+going out+drinks) 14%
other (like clothes, books, etc) 6%
savings 27%

This is enough for living very well.
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emerlover
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can someone with family tell me if that is possible? living with 15K and 2 children and no working wife? do you find support from the local council or tax credits? benefits?
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