One of the most common feelings that master’s students express is frustration with not having enough grant opportunities to support their graduate education. Indeed, there are less external funding opportunities for master’s students than there are for those pursuing a Ph.D., and that number may be reduced depending on your discipline. However, there are over 300 awards for master’s students listed just in our database. Here are some tips on how to navigate the world of funding as a master’s student.
Assess your funding needs
First, here at GradFund, we assist students with merit-based, external fellowships and grants. For those in search of need-based aid, visit the Office of Financial Aid. You should also consult with your graduate program director for internal funding opportunities.
Second, there are different types of funding. Scholarships are typically smaller awards that cover expenses such as tuition, school fees, books, or research costs. Grants support research expenses such as travel to an archive or lab expenses. Fellowships are intended to support a student’s living expenses (and sometimes academic costs) as he or she writes or completes the dissertation or thesis. The latter are usually only open to students in PhD programs. Check out this GradFund blog post for a fuller description of the different types of funding.
Applying for extramural funding is a process that requires planning. The time that it takes to draft an application for submission, receive a decision from reviewers, and receive funds if awarded the fellowship or grant can take anywhere from six to nine months. This means that you should think ahead about your stage of study and the financial support that you need for the following academic year.
Check out these GradFund blog posts for additional insight into knowing when to apply and making time to plan:
Build and utilize your support system
While GradFund can help you learn more about what you can apply for, give you the tools to search for external funding, and offer feedback on drafts of your applications, your advisor is a critical person within your network of support. He or she can offer crucial guidance as you progress through the application process.
Visit GradFund’s resource page designed specifically for Master’s students. Here you will find additional pointers on identifying and applying for external funding at your current stage of study, as well as access to an in-depth proposal writing tutorial.