The studentship is basically a scholarship awarded to work on particular projects and in turn get sponsored to pursue a degree, mostly at the postgraduate level. The funding or grants are usually provided by research organizations, industrial projects, or governmental institutes. Full-Studentships, sometimes also called research fellowships or teacher assistantships are better paid and may include research funding, living and boarding expenditures, and travel grants. However, such fellowships are not only quite competitive and coveted to earn but also awardees have to carry out certain duties such as teaching or similar requirements. Another benefit of such fellowships is you get hands-on experience in teaching and academia well before graduation, which is pretty useful for your academic career in the future. Also, these scholarships are limited to students pursuing research degrees only. While the fee-only studentships only cover the tuition fee along with any research or project expenditures. In some universities, Ph.D. students are automatically considered for studentships once they secure admission to the university.
To secure a studentship requires time and effort and is quite a mammoth task. You must begin searching for opportunities early and be persevered. The announcements are usually made online on the university or department’s web page. The eligibility criteria and requirements are mostly mentioned on the websites as well. However, with professors receiving high research grants and funding, the trend is changing rapidly and professors also have the authority to recommend students to the selection committee. Professors can be reached on research platforms, nature networks, and alike. They can be inquired if they have any vacancies in their research group for their current projects, in line with the student’s research interests and expertise. Professors usually conduct an interview to access your potential and motivation. If the professor is willing to support your application, usually you have to submit an application online. Mostly, you are asked to provide a scholarship essay or research plan on a given topic related to the project, letter(s) of recommendation from your previous professor(s), and a transcript of your previous degree.
Benefits and types of studentship do vary with countries. For instance, In the UK these postgraduate studentships are referred to as Ph.D. scholarships and are mostly reserved for Ph.D. students only, as the name suggests. In the US the studentships are usually called the Teacher assistantships or TAs, and you need to fulfill some teaching requirements along with the degree, while in Germany students receiving any research grants to sponsor their postgraduate studies are widely termed as “Wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiter”. Even though words may differ, the nature of financial grants usually remains the same.