With over 400 postgraduates from all over the world, Churchill’s postgraduate students form a vital part of the College’s diverse academic community. They are tomorrow’s innovators and leaders, conducting ground-breaking research to address global social and scientific challenges.

At Churchill, our aim has always been to seek out the most talented postgraduate students who, after completing their degrees, will help make a difference to the world we live in. Competition for the best research students is fierce and international, and we need to act now if we wish to continue attracting the finest minds in the world. Drastic cuts to Research Councils mean that there are fewer research studentships than before. In addition, the tripling of undergraduate tuition fees and the enormous debt with which UK students will be saddled upon graduating will inevitably deter many excellent prospective postgraduate students from pursuing postgraduate studies.

The estimated annual cost for a Home student studying for an MPhil ranges from £23,000 to £26,000, rising to as high as £43,000 for an overseas student for some science subjects. Four years ago the UK Government introduced a Postgraduate Masters Loan of up to £10,000 but this sum does not even cover tuition fees. We are now faced with the very real fact that postgraduate study is becoming unaffordable for all but the most privileged. This is not just a crisis for Churchill’s postgraduate community but a crisis for Cambridge and the UK as increasingly, prospective postgraduates are turning to universities outside the UK where support, especially for living expenses, is easier to come by. We need to support more postgraduate students to help prevent a ‘brain drain’ from the UK and to ensure that the brightest minds are provided with the freedom to concentrate on their studies, challenge the status quo and find ways to make the world work better, regardless of their financial background.

To help met this challenge, the College is currently committed to supporting a number of postgraduate studentships and you can read some of their stories below. They have come to Churchill from as far afield as Gaza and South Africa, and their stories are inspirational. Unfortunately, College funds for studentships are limited and we need to do more. One of the key aims of the Think Forward campaign is therefore to continue to build our Graduate Studentship Endowment Fund to enable the College to support more postgraduate students. We want to keep our doors open to the world’s best minds and talents, enabling them to benefit from what Churchill has to offer, and for us to benefit from their rich range of insights and talent in return.

Read their stories below.