PhD Scholarships in India

PhD Scholarships in India are an excellent opportunity for aspiring students to pursue higher education. India has a wide range of opportunities available to those who wish to pursue a PhD, ranging from highly competitive government-funded fellowships to institution-specific scholarships. These scholarships provide financial assistance to students, making it easier for them to focus on their research and studies. Additionally, these scholarships provide access to world-class faculty, resources, and networks which can be extremely beneficial for a student’s professional development.

After completing a master’s degree, one of the options is to pursue a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) program. Taking up a research degree is a big decision to make owing to the amount of time and resources it takes. But one of the constraints that come in the way of a scholar, especially when the doctorate program is self-funded, is the cost of studying. Spanning over 3-5 Years, the doctorate course can drain your savings if there is no scholarship to back it up. To give you clarity, we have collated some of the popular PhD scholarships in India that are known to offer a handsome amount to the scholars thus providing a hasslefree journey in establishing your career in research. These scholarships can cover up your expenses whether studying in the country or if you want to attain overseas education


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List of PhD Scholarships in India & Application Timelines

From academic institutions to government ministries as well as organisations, there are a large number of PhD scholarships and research fellowships offered in India. Take a look at the following list which elucidates the varied Indian scholarships and fellowships for PhD programs in India.

PhD Scholarship Organisation/Institution Application Deadlines
Prime Minister’s Research Fellowship (PMRF) MHRD, Government of India Between March and April
CSIR-UGC JRF Fellowship Government of India October
DBT-JRF Fellowship Government of India March
FITM – AYUSH Research Fellowships Scheme Forum on Indian Traditional
Medicine (FITM) and Ministry of Ayush
Between November and December
SAARC Agricultural PhD Scholarships SAAR Agricultural Centre Between March and April
Swami Vivekananda Single Child Scholarship for Research in Social Science UGC Between November and January
ESSO-NCESS Junior Research Fellowship ESSO- National Centre for Earth Science Studies Open throughout the year
Vision India Foundation (VIF) Fellowship Vision India Foundation (VIF) Between December and January
Burning Questions Fellowship Awards Tiny Beam Fund Between May and June
Google PhD Scholarships Google Between March and April
Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Fund Scholarships Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Fund Between March and May
ICHR Junior Research Fellowships (JRF) Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR) Between November and December

Note: The application deadlines for the different fellowships and scholarships mentioned above are only tentative and might change as per their specific organisation/institution.

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List of Top International PhD Scholarships & Application Timelines

Students looking for options to study abroad can avail financial aid benefits through various scholarships for their research programs. Some of the scholarships are fully funded, covering all tuition, travel and living expenses while others are partially funded. Tabulated below is the list of top PhD scholarships in India which one can apply for to pursue higher education abroad: 

PhD Scholarship Organisation/Institution Application Timeline
UNU IAS PhD Scholarship Japan Foundation of UNU (JFUNU) Between March and April
Dr Eduard Gubelin Research Scholarship Dr Eduard Gübelin Association
for Research
Last date to apply is June 30th
Sir Ratan Tata Trust & Navajbai Ratan TataTrust Education Grants Tata Trusts Last date to apply is May 31st
Commonwealth PhD Scholarships Commonwealth Scholarship Commission Between November and December
Raman-Charpak Fellowship GOI and Government of France Between May and July
President’s PhD Scholarships Imperial College London Open throughout the year
Fulbright Kalam Climate Fellowship USIEF Between January and July
Japanese Government MEXT Scholarship MEXT Japan Between April and May
New Zealand Commonwealth Scholarships Government of New Zealand Between February and March
Korean Government Scholarship Program Government of Korea Between February and March
Boehringer Ingelheim Fonds PhD fellowship Boehringer Ingelheim Fonds, Germany Between May and June
PhD Scholarships for International Candidates, Swansea University Swansea University Open throughout the year
MAXQDA Research Grants VERBI Software GmbH Between April and June
IGLP Residential Fellowship Program, Harvard Law School, USA Institute of Global Law & Policy (IGLP), Harvard Law School Between December and February
CBS PhD Scholarships at the Department of Operations Management Department of Operations Management, Copenhagen Business School (CBS) Between May and June
IITB-Monash Research Academy PhD Scholarships IITB-Monash Research Academy Between February and March
HDR Scholarship Deakin University Between April and May
Special Research Fun Doctoral Scholarships, Ghent University Ghent University, Belgium Between February and March
Cimi Toulous Doctoral Fellowships International Centre for Mathematics and Computer Science (CIMI), Toulouse, France Between January and February
Fujian Normal University President Scholarship for Foreign Students Fujian Normal University Between May and June
Imperial College PhD Scholarship in Chemical Engineering Imperial College London Between March and April

Note: The application deadlines for the different fellowships and scholarships mentioned above are only tentative and might change as per their specific organisation/institution.

Study Abroad Scholarships

Now that you are familiarised with the wide range of PhD scholarships in India as well as abroad, let’s explore some of these scholarship and fellowships in further detail.

Prime Minister Fellowship for Doctoral Research

The Ministry of Human Resource Development under the supervision of the Central Government of India has launched a scholarship scheme to provide financial support to the meritorious students going for a PhD. Offered to the candidates via IISc and IIT corridors, it is one of the prestigious PhD scholarships in India. Under the scheme, the scholar gets a monthly stipend of ₹70,000 for first-year which is increased to ₹80,000 per month during 4th and 5th year of the program. The scholarship is offered every year and scholars from all universities in India can apply for the scheme through the official website. 

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Fulbright-Nehru Doctoral Research Fellowships

Another addition to the list of popular PhD scholarships in India is the Fulbright-Nehru Doctoral Research Fellowships. It is awarded to scholars who have registered themselves for a PhD at an Indian University. These fellowships spanning over 6-9 months are designed to help students to advance their research in a vast range of fields like Sociology, Public Health, History, Machine Learning, etc. One of the popular scholarships for Indian students, it broadly covers the expenses related to J-1 visa, Accident and Sickness Program for Exchanges, monthly stipend, round-trip economy class air travel, other allowances, and modest affiliation fees. To know about the eligibility criteria, visit the official website for the fellowship. The application deadline as per the official website is July 15, 2022, 23:59:59 hrs (IST). Tabulated below are the important dates for the fellowship:

Dates Process
July 15, 2022 Application due date for 2023-2024 awards
Mid-August 2022 Review of applications
Late September 2022 Selected applicants informed by the USIEF
Early October 2022 Interviews of short-listed candidates (To be conducted in Delhi)
End October 2022 The principal and alternate nominees are notified by USIEF. Nominees take TOEFL
December 2022 The J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board (FFSB)
receives the applications of shortlisted candidates from USIEF for final approval
March/April 2023 USIEF notifies the finalists
May/June 2023 Pre-Departure Orientation
July/August 2023 Pre-academic training in the U.S. (if required)
August/September 2023 Program commences

Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Fund Scholarships

Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Fund Scholarships is another PhD scholarship offered to Indian as well as students of Asian countries. It provides selected candidates with maintenance fee including the tuition cost of their program worth 18,000 INR every month as well as contingent costs of books, stationery, etc. worth 15,000 INR every month. The eligibility of Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Fund Scholarships is as follows:

  • Age limit: Not less than 35 years
  • First-division postgraduate degree holder
  • A minimum of 60% in undergraduate and postgraduate level
  • Must have applied for a PhD program at a recognised university in India
  • For full-time PhD programs

Physical Research Laboratory Junior Research Fellowship

Amongst the top PhD scholarships in India for postgraduates in the field of Physics and Astronomy, Physical Research Laboratory Junior Research Fellowship is offered in the following specialisations:

  • Astronomy
  • Astronomical Sciences
  • Geosciences
  • Planetary Sciences
  • Optical Physics
  • Solar Physics
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics
  • Space and Atmospheric Sciences
  • Astrochemistry
  • Theoretical Physics

It is exclusively for PhD research at Physical Research Laboratory (PRL) and provides monthly awards up to 35,000 INR. The eligibility criteria for this scholarship is as follows:

  • For Indian nationals under the age of 28 years
  • The candidate must have a Bachelor of Science/Bachelor of Engineering as well as Master of Science/Master of Engineering degree
  • First-division, i.e. 60% or equivalent in undergraduate as well as postgraduate degree.
  • Must have qualified GATE or CSIR NET or Joint Entrance Screening Test

Google PhD Fellowship India Program

This fellowship program is offered by Google for aspiring PhD scholars in Computer Science or related specialisations. The Google PhD Fellowship India Program provides monthly fellowship amount as well as covers the contingency expenses along with giving an internship offer at Google. The requirements for this Google Scholarship for PhD in India are:

  • The candidate must be enrolled in a PhD course at a recognised university in India.
  • Bachelor’s or Master’s degree holder from a university in India
  • A working professional at a recognised organisation in India

ICHR Junior Research Fellowships (JRF)

ICHR Junior Research Fellowships (JRF) are for PhD aspirants of Historical Studies and are offered by the Indian Council of Historical Research. It offers monthly stipend up to 17,600 INR as well as monthly contingency expenses of 16,500 p.a. for 2 years. The only eligibility requirement for this scholarship is that the applicant must be enrolled in a PhD in Historical Studies at a recognized higher education institution in India.

ICSSR Doctoral Research Fellowship

The Council of Social Science Research of MHRD, Government of India offers doctoral fellowships in Social Sciences to PhD scholars who are registered in a UGC recognized Indian university. A great opportunity for scholars looking for PhD scholarships in India, it is strictly applicable for two years and the value of the fellowship is ₹20,000 per month. Offered in around 25 subjects of Social Sciences that include Political Science, Social Work, Gender Studies, Public Administration, etc, to be eligible for the fellowship, a candidate must have confirmed PhD registration at a recognized university. The application process for the 2019-20 session has already been closed but you should be prepared for the 2021-22 session to avail the benefits. 

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Maulana Azad National Fellowship

The fellowship is provided by the Ministry of Minority Affairs of the Government of India. The objective of the fellowship is to provide students from minority communities with financial assistance to pursue higher education such as MPhil and PhD. The Maulana Azad National fellowship can be availed by taking admission in any of the recognized universities in the country. One of the lesser-known PhD scholarships in India, it is awarded to those candidates whose family income is not more than 6 Lakh. Under the scheme, the scholar gets ₹28,000 per month for 5 years. Candidates can apply for the fellowship on the official website of UGC.

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NCERT Doctoral Fellowship for PhD

The fellowship is intended to enable young scholars to excel in research in their subject of interest. The candidates who show exceptional aptitude for research are shortlisted for the fellowship. It can be availed by taking admission in a recognized university in India. The NET qualified NCERT Doctoral Fellows will receive ₹25,000 per month for a maximum period of three years from the date of registration into a PhD program. For the candidates who have not qualified for the NET exam, the amount is ₹23,000 per month. 

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This is a fully-funded PhD scholarship offered by the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) for the field of Engineering, Mathematical Sciences, Life Sciences, Earth, Atmospheric, Ocean & Planetary Science, Chemical Sciences, amongst others.

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DBT-JRF Fellowship

Another prominent scholarship for those planning to pursue their PhD in India, the DBT-JRF Fellowship is offered by the Government of India for Biotechnology scholars. Students need to clear the Biotechnology Eligibility Test (BET) to get selected for this scholarship. The registration window for the BET exam opens around February every year and the exam is conducted around April. It is one of the sought-after PhD scholarships in India amongst Biotechnology students and offers a fellowship amount of ₹25,000 + HRA to JRF students and ₹28,000 + HRA to SRF students.

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FITM – AYUSH Research Fellowships Scheme

It was launched to promote higher education in the aforementioned areas. The scheme is awarded to two categories Doctoral Fellowship and postdoctoral fellowships of age 28 – 35. Scheme duration for the doctoral fellowships is two years and for postdoctoral fellowship is for one year. The requirements for the FITM – AYUSH Research Fellowships Scheme is as follows:

  1. Full time scholar in any UGC recognized institution
  2. Educational backgrounds in any of AYUSH disciplines
  3. Additional qualification in IT will be preferred more.

SAARC Agricultural PhD Scholarships

This scholarship is ideal for students aspiring to pursue a PhD in Animal Nutrition or Fish Nutrition and feed technology. The scholarship is for 3 years and for full-time education only. The scholarship will cover the economic fare, tuition fees, living allowance, expense of books, study materials, thesis preparation, etc. The requirements for the SAARC Agricultural PhD Scholarship is as follows:

  1. Applicant should be a citizen of Bhutan/ India/ Maldives/ Pakistan/ Sri Lanka
  2.  Employed at National Agricultural Research System/ Ministry/ Department.
  3. Below the age of 40 years.
  4. Pursuing a full-time PhD of three years

Swami Vivekananda Single Child Scholarship for Research in Social Science

The scholarship was launched to encourage the education of single girl child and to provide financial aid. The scholarship is available to single girl child pursuing a PhD in Social Sciences. The twin sisters are also eligible for the scholarship. The requirements for Swami Vivekananda Single Child Scholarship for Research in Social Science is as follows:

  1. Single girl child pursuing PhD in social sciences
  2. Full-time PhD from UGC-approved institutions.
  3. The age should be below 40 years and the reserved category should be below 45 years.
  4. Transgender applicants are also eligible.

ESSO-NCESS Junior Research Fellowship

Students aspiring to pursue a PhD in  areas of earth system sciences are eligible for this fellowship. Earth system science includes courses in:

  • Igneous Petrology
  • Metamorphic Petrology
  •  Sedimentology
  • Paleomagnetism
  • Fluid inclusions
  • Geomorphology
  • Quaternary Geology
  • Paleoclimate
  • Geochemistry
  • Tectonic Geomorphology
  • Isotope Geology
  • Hydrogeology
  • Coastal Processes
  • Oceanography
  • Remote sensing
  • Natural Hazards and Cloud microphysics

The requirements for ESSO-NCESS Junior Research Fellowship is as follows:

  1. M.Sc./M.Tech. Degree in Earth System Sciences or related field
  2. CSIR-UGC NET qualification for JRF
  3. Age should not be more than 28 years
  4. Full time PhD in earth science for 3 years

Application Process of PhD Scholarships in India 

There are various scholarships available for students interested in pursuing PhD from India and abroad. Now, you must be wondering how can I apply for these scholarships? Here is a stepwise application process:

  1. Visit the official Website. Most of the scholarships have their own website or you can apply at the UGC scholarship website.
  2. Click on the scholarship scheme you want to apply for.
  3. Check the eligibility criteria before applying. Every scholarship scheme has different eligibility criteria, it is advisable to check the eligibility before applying.
  4. Submit the application form with the required documents.
  5. Submit the thesis or research proposal.
  6. Some scholarship schemes will call applicants for personal interview rounds as well by the selection committee.
  7. Applicants selected for the grant will be contacted or they can track their progress through their application portal as well.

Cancellation of PhD Scholarship

Scholarships are awarded to students with excellent academic background with the talent and potential to perform better. Sometimes the scholarships grant that has been provided or approved can be cancelled by the official authority in some cases. If an applicant is unable to perform well or in case fails in a subject of MPhil or PhD the award can be cancelled. Another case is if an applicant is found ineligible later. If an applicant is found ineligible in any scenario his/her scholarship will be cancelled. Lastly, scholarships are not just awarded based on academic scores, it is important that applicants hold good character and ideal behaviour. In any case, applicants are found misconducting in the organization, his/her scholarship might be cancelled.

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Availing PhD scholarships in India will ensure that financial constraints don’t come in your way while you excel in research in the area of your interest. To know more about the scholarships and to get help with your admissions in top universities abroad, reach out to our career experts at Leverage Edu in a 30 minutes free career counselling session and take a step forward towards a rewarding career! Call us immediately at 1800 57 2000 for a free 30-minute counselling session.