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Great science scholarships for postgrads

James Davis

Careers Commentator
With these exceptional funding opportunities, you can focus on unravelling the secrets of the universe instead of your unravelling your wallet.

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 sciences, including but not limited to:

  • Astronomy
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Forensic science
  • Genetics
  • Mathematics
  • Microbiology
  • Physics
  • Zoology

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 physics to head to an observatory and monitor cosmic radiation.
  • 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 sciences.

PhD Scholarship: School of Mathematical Sciences - $27,082 pa

This is offered by the University of Adelaide to both domestic and international students undergoing a PhD in mathematics, regardless of specialisation. To be eligible, applicants must either hold first-class honours or a master’s degree in pure mathematics or mathematical physics.

To apply, simply use the University of Adelaide’s webportal and choose the option relevant to you. There are separate links for international and domestic students.

PhD Scholarship in Advanced Composite Materials - $31,298 pa

If you’re an applicant coming from chemistry, physics, astronomy or some combination of these, you could be eligible for this scholarship so long as you hold first or second class honours in any of these disciplines. You must also be enrolling at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology.

Applicants must provide academic transcripts, CV, proof of admission to the PhD Aerospace Engineering program at RMIT and then agree to work alongside the CSIRO and other benefactors to conduct research into advanced composite materials.

PhD Scholarship in Computational Biophysics - $30,000 pa

This is similar to the previous merit-based PhD scholarships, requiring students to undergo their thesis in the eponymous discipline. Applicants can be Australian citizens or permanent residents, as well as international students. However, in the latter case, they must be self-funded otherwise. Domestic applicants have the ability to use this scholarship as a top-up option if they are currently on other scholarship programs. Electing this option reduces the annual gain to $10,000.

Having done previous research into this field is a strong predictor of success, as the selection committee will be looking for the most well-versed applicant in the subject matter. To apply, you have to personally contact Professor Toby Allen of RMIT and inquire about it. Tell him we sent you!

Dean’s Scholarship for Scientific Excellence - $10,000

This is a set of five merit-based scholarships reserved for Murdoch University students in varying scientific and engineering disciplines, with chemistry being foremost among them. The exact eligible courses are masters or PhDs in:

  • Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering
  • Environmental engineering
  • A double major of the former two
  • Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering and Chemistry combined degree
  • Environmental Engineering and Chemistry combined degree

Students must also be an international student to be eligible. Domestic students cannot apply. They must also have achieved at least a high distinction GPA in prior study (3.5/4, or 85%). Applicants must fill out this form and then send it to the international admissions email address at Murdoch University.

Eric Booth Memorial Grants in Chemistry - $8,000

The requirements for this scholarship are fairly relaxed for this one, requiring applicants to be enrolled in a postgraduate chemistry course and being an Australian or New Zealand citizen. Although not explicitly required, the funding is given mostly to encourage you to attend Royal Australian Chemical Institute meetings, so it’s recommended you allocate the funding to travel and equipment expenses first and foremost.

To apply, you’ve got to submit a variety of documents like birth certificate, up to three personal references that can attest to your character, a CV, passport and more. Make sure to have all these on hand before proceeding to the form.

The PostgradAustralia Scholarship - $2,750

Our very own scholarship is a great way to supplement any funding you currently have, or even act on its own as a way to offset some costs. It doesn’t matter what you’re studying, where you’re studying, what your citizenship or residency status is. Not even your GPA matters to us. What we want to see is passion, plain and simple. Do that, and you’re eligible.

We want you showing us your passion for postgraduate study in two ways.

  • A 500 word written statement
  • A creative social media post encapsulating this passion. This can be anything, from a zany poem to cool code, video, pictures or events. Up to you!

We look forward to see what you come up with!

AQW PhD Scholarship - $30,000

This is a merit-based scholarship for any PhD student of science who is willing to undergo research into a topic prescribed by the Alumina Quality Workshop. Successful applicants must investigate the composition and leaching of aluminosilicates formed in caustic solutions. Specifically what about the composition of aluminosilicates successful applicants must investigate is defined further in the terms for the scholarship. Regardless, the subject matter is naturally suited to students of earth sciences or equivalent.

If you think you have the knowledge and skill to undergo such research, you can apply using the Curtin University application portal here.

Hopefully this has given you a better idea of what scholarships are available in the sciences and what they entail. As you can see by this sample at least, they require much of their applicants whilst offering significant amounts of funding in exchange. Many other subject areas can’t access scholarships this lucrative. If you find that none of these take your fancy however, or we haven’t represented your specialisation here, fear not! There are many more scholarships available that are specific to science, but there are many more great ones that are available across disciplines. You can browse some of these here. While you’re at it, why not have our guide to postgraduate scholarships open for assistance? It might be able to provide guidance where some scholarship pages may not. Good luck!