PhD , Masters and other postgraduate funding: Employer Funding and Sponsorship

If you are considering postgraduate study that is related to your job, it is worth researching funding schemes your employer may have, and/or approaching your HR Department, Training Department or line manager.

Formal schemes that fund employees wishing to undertake postgraduate courses via part time study are more likely to exist within larger employers and to be linked closely either to the requirements of individual jobs or to the area in which the company or organisation operates. These schemes are also more likely to include some sort of 'tie-in' clause requiring you to work for the company for a period of time following completion of the course: they may also have penalty clauses requiring you to pay back all or some of the fees if you leave before the end of the designated period. Schemes may require you to study only on designated courses or at specific institutions. Staff in many universities may find that fees are waived or substantially discounted for courses run by their own institution.

In smaller companies or those without a formal scheme, funding may be less likely, but if you know the organisation is doing well, it is generally worth asking your employer what could be available.

If your employer cannot offer you financial support, they may allow you some study leave, although you will need to check whether this is paid or unpaid (more likely) and how much study leave you can take on this basis. If it is unpaid, check what effect this could have on your status as an employee, and on things like your salary and pension, particularly if you effectively become a part-time employee if for example you take study leave over a long period on a regular basis such as one day per week.

Try this: Before you approach your employer, consider how the course could benefit your employer, and why they might feel it would be useful to fund you, and/or give you time to study. The easier you make it for them to see how the organisation will benefit, the more likely you are to be successful.

Remember: Get it in writing and make sure you read the small print!

You can start looking now for Masters funding and PhD funding.