Funding your studies in Linguistics

It is never too early or too late to apply for funding!  This web page will help you find out where to find the relevant information.

The most common types of funding offered by the department include Tutoring and Teaching Assistant scholarships.

Getting the right amount and kind of funding is one of the most important keys to successful postgraduate studies. Unfortunately, most students don't take the time to inform themselves on this important topic. This web page outlines the basics.

Surprising facts about funding

Taking the following surprising facts into consideration will help as you go about the process of applying for funding:

  • Surprising Fact 1: Students don’t need to apply for funding alone. In fact, it is much better to approach a potential supervisor and to develop a research project together.
  • Surprising Fact 2: A wide range of funding opportunities is available. . If you have an idea for a research project, then you should approach a supervisor and develop a funding plan together. So keep an eye on the NRF website and when you see a research call that you feel is interesting, approach the department to implement it.
  • Surprising Fact 3: There is a lot of funding available for students. In fact, there has never been as much funding as there is now.
  • Surprising Fact 4: Applying for funding is a long process. Unfortunately, obtaining funding can take a long time: six months to a year in some cases. This means you must start thinking of funding as early as possible (your third year is a good time to start thinking about your MA studies!). However, this does not mean it always takes this long.
  • Surprising Fact 5: If at first you don’t succeed, it pays to try again. Not every research proposal is accepted first time around. If your application is rejected by one funding agency, then reapply again and again and again. This is where it is very important to work together with your supervisor and to encourage each other.

If you keep these facts in mind, you are in a good position to start thinking about finding funding. More details are listed below.


Departmental funding
  • One way of getting funding is to become a linguistics tutor. Tutors are paid hourly rates for tutoring, invigilation and marking. Contact the Head of Department directly for more information.
  • Some projects within the department have funding for postgraduate students in various forms. Contact the staff member in charge of a particular project and ask them if (a) they have scope for an additional researcher on the team and (b) if they would considering mentoring you through the application process. Visit the Research page to learn about our research projects.
  • Other Bursaries and Scholarships relating to English Language and Linguistics are available (see Honours and MA Scholarship Booklets at the Research Office:


Humanities Faculty Funding
  • The Humanities Faculty has funds for special, research-empowering projects. This is usually up to about R10 000 per project.  Ask your supervisor about the possibility of applying for this.
  • Additional funding may be available through the Dean's Office.


Rhodes University Funding
  • Most information can be found on the Postgraduate Gateway website. Take the time to browse:
  • Staff members can apply for funds for student assistance via the RC system. Such funds are usually up to about R30 000. This must be budgeted for during the year preceding funding, so approach your supervisor early if you have a contribution to make to their research project so that they can build you in to their budget.
  • Postdoctoral Fellows and Research Associates: The university has an internal postdoctoral fellowship programme to support research. Funds for these fellowships come from both the university budget and various other sources:


Search the Rhodes University website
  • Many funding opportunities are linked to the Rhodes University website, for instance, via the Research Office. Take the time to google "Rhodes University" + funding

National Research Foundation

The NRF is the main source of funding for academic research in South Africa. There are a number of different programmes and it is best to get in touch directly with the Rhodes University Research Office to discuss your options.  You can also browse the NRF website to look at what's on offer.

  • NRF Freestanding Bursary for Full-time Honours (contact the RU Research Office)
  • NRF bursaries and scholarships: This funding is hard to get but definitely worth the effort. Deadlines are typically in January and July so you may have to start the process up to a year in advance. Check the site for details.
  • KIC travel grants for fieldwork, etc.
  • Thuthuka grants for staff members studying towards their PhDs, and establishing research careers after their PhDs.
  • NRF call deadlines can be downloaded from the NRF website. Visit the search page and type "call schedule" in the search box and the first hit *should* be the most recent call schedule:


Other research organizations which fund language-related research


The Linguist List

The Linguist List ( is an international mailing list dedicated to linguistics. Many scholarships, bursaries, job offers etc are advertised on this list. If you are not signed up then do so.


Click here to go back to the main Postgraduate Studies page, or click here to find out how to apply for admission to postgraduate studies in Linguistics at RU.

Last Modified: Wed, 04 Nov 2020 20:49:08 SAST