Living on a PhD stipend in London

Great advice.

David Dye, Imperial College

When hiring PhD students, I often get asked about money by fresh graduates who are trying to work out “how much is enough?”

But first, some background for the uninitiated. People studying for PhDs in the UK are treated as students, not employees. Furthermore, most science and engineering PhD students are paid a stipend large enough to approximately cover their living expenses. Being a bursary, this is not taxable, and PhD students also get a range of other benefits reserved for the unemployed and/or deserving, such as a waiver of the local property tax, the council tax. The exact amount of the bursary has varied over time – in 1997 when I started my PhD the national minimum set by the physical sciences funding council EPSRC was about £7,100 (in 2011 GBP), whereas today its £13,590.  However, this is a minimum and students in London are usually given about an additional…

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