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Great social science scholarships for postgrads

James Davis

Careers Commentator
The social sciences help us understand the human condition. Fortunately, these scholarships will also help you preserve your wallet’s condition.

To help offset some of the postgraduate study costs, we’ve come up with a list of excellent scholarships you can apply for in the social sciences, including but not limited to:

  • Anthropology
  • Counselling
  • Criminology
  • International studies
  • Linguistics
  • Political science
  • Philosophy
  • Social work

If you’re intimidated by the prospect of scholarship applications, fear not! We’ve written a free, comprehensive guide to postgraduate scholarships and getting selected that you can reference throughout this article. If you’d rather not go elsewhere for now, here are just a couple tidbits from it that’ll help you understand some of the common terminology in relation to scholarship applications:

  • There are three main types of scholarships.
    • Merit-based scholarships rely on some combination of grades, professional or extra-curricular achievements to succeed.
    • Need-based scholarships adopt their namesake in only being given to those of greatest need. This is commonly in the form of financial hardship, but can be in reference to coming from a disadvantaged background or having a disability.
    • Research-based scholarships are often discipline-specific endeavours that requires applicants to undergo research in a very particular area. For instance, it may require a student of anthropology to travel to a museum, inspect the tools of Assyrian farmers and learn about them through their belongings.
  • Written statements require a short blurb about yourself, with your achievements as supporting evidence rather than being centre stage.
  • CVs or resumes put your achievements first in fairly terse language.
  • Professional references are former bosses or professors.
  • Personal references are family members, friends or community leaders, the latter being preferable.
  • Academic transcripts are official or unofficial documents provided by your university. When an application asks for these if you haven’t yet finished undergrad, an unofficial transcript will normally do just fine.

Without further adieu, here are some great funding opportunities in the social sciences.

JH Bishop Postgraduate Scholarship - $5,000

This scholarship is available to postgraduate students whose first degree involved one or more of the following:

  • Greek
  • Latin
  • Classics
  • Ancient history

Preference is given to candidates intending to embark upon a PhD or Master of Philosophy at the University of New England, but it’s still possible to get this funding even if you have nothing to do with this institution. So long as you’re an Australian citizen and plan to study classical languages or ancient history, you’re eligible.

To apply, fill out the application form provided on the UNE website. You’ll be prompted to attach an academic transcript, two references, a copy of your citizenship record and any relevant published work.

Research and Graduate Studies Scheme (RAGS) - $1,250 to $2,500

This is for students commencing a masters by research or PhD in any of the social sciences. The conditions vary depending on specific discipline you’re in, the full list of which can be found at the link provided in the heading, but we’ll use the scholarship offered by the University of Melbourne’s School of Historical and Philosophical Studies as an example. In this case, applicants must submit a proposed budget for their thesis, a traditional application form and a special risk assessment form. The latter is for when you’ve deemed it necessary to travel to a high-risk country that might be in the midst of a war, humanitarian crisis or other threat to you and your colleagues’ livelihoods.

DVCR Completion Scholarship - $8,010

This incentive to complete doctorates in a timely manner is offered by the University of New England to students of psychology (among other disciplines). Applicants must be in their doctorate’s fourth year and complete their thesis in a nominated period while also being enrolled on a full time basis. They also must have completed all their data collection (or equivalent process) and must be at the writing stage.

To have a successful application, we recommend you fill out a detailed Doctoral Thesis Completion Plan and try to gain endorsements from your head of faculty and supervisor. These are the keys to success, as this is a research scholarship.

The PostgradAustralia Scholarship - $2,750

Of course, we couldn’t get through this article without mentioning our own scholarship! It’s biased, we know, but we genuinely believe it to be a great option because it’s so inclusive.

We don’t look at GPA and we look for both domestic and international students. All we want is for you to show us your passion for what you do through two mediums.

  1. A 500 word written statement
  2. A creative social media post. This can be anything, from a poem to video or picture. Whatever you think conveys your passion!

This makes it a great way to top up an existing scholarship or just offset some of those pesky fees. We’d be humbled if you gave it a look.

The University of Sydney Coleman-Hilton Scholarship at the British School at Rome - $42,000

To be eligible for this merit-based scholarship, you need to be enrolled full time in a Doctor of Philosophy in the Department of Classics and Ancient History at the University of Sydney. It’s paid for use over a six-month period to stay in Rome and study the ancient Roman empire up until its fall in 476 AD. Unfortunately, international students are not eligible.

This is offered only to ‘outstanding’ students, with all the connotations you might think are associated with that. References, sky-high GPA, relevant published research - you name it. However, the application process could certainly be worth the experience.

Hopefully this has given you some minor insight into the postgraduate scholarships available in the social sciences, but we’re aware ‘social science’ is a broad category and therefore couldn’t cover them all. There are far more available though and we highly recommend you browse them here with our guide to postgraduate scholarships at your side. No matter what discipline you’re in, there are some real gems in there that are tailor made to your interests, particularly among the research scholarships for PhDs. Exciting!

With that said, we sincerely wish you luck!