Think Forward for future academic leaders

With over 400 postgraduates from all over the world, Churchill’s thriving cohort of graduate students form a vital part of the College’s diverse academic community, 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 but global competition for the best research students is fierce, and the rising cost of postgraduate education, and cuts in available funding are causing a major barrier to entry for many.

  • The estimated annual cost for a Home or EU 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.
  • A recently introduced Government Postgraduate Masters Loan of up to £10,000 does not even cover tuition fees.

We are now faced with the very real fact that postgraduate study is becoming un-affordable for all but the most privileged.

Without a Master’s, students won’t be admitted to many PhD courses. A Master’s degree can define a career trajectory, or enable a career in academia, diversifying the academic cohorts of the future. 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. It is vital that we are in a position to nurture future generations of global thinkers and researchers in every discipline to help us face challenges such as climate change and the energy transition, global inequality, food security, social cohesion and future pandemics for example.

The College is committed to supporting more postgraduate studentships, but funds are limited. Building a Graduate Studentship Endowment Fund that will address these challenges and help bridge the growing funding gap is now a major priority.