Beit Fund

A board of management administers the fund, and awards research grants and an annual research scholarship to graduates. The Board normally meets in Trinity Term only; potential applicants should bear this in mind when planning their schedules for research abroad and apply in good time in the appropriate year. Grants are not normally awarded retrospectively.



The Board of Management will consider applications from full-time and part-time students on a course of study leading to a graduate degree of the University in the field of the History of the British Empire and Commonwealth, which may include Britain's 'informal empire' and the comparative or connected histories of other empires.

Applicants from faculties other than Modern History will need to show that their research contains a substantial element of Imperial or Commonwealth History.


Applicants may apply for grants to enable them to:

  1. examine archives in this country or abroad (see ‘Grants for Travel’ below); or
  2. complete a course of research which would otherwise have to be curtailed through financial difficulty (see ‘Grants for maintenance’ below) or
  3. publish a thesis approved by the examiners and considered by them to be of exceptional merit, provided that the work for this is normally carried out in Oxford.


The Beit Fund will not normally make any grants to fund attendance at conferences for student members. It should also be noted that PRS and M Phil students will not normally receive a grant until change of status to D Phil has been attained. Students can submit an application in advance of their change of status.


Grants for Travel

Grants to examine archives in this country or abroad are available to cover the cost of travel and, where this is not already covered from existing sources, the cost of subsistence and accommodation. Grants will not normally exceed £3,000, and may be claimed in advance, except for £500, which will be paid only on the submission of a satisfactory report on work undertaken during the trip.  Applicants should obtain several competitive quotations for airfares. Award holders are entitled to cover under the University’s travel insurance scheme. Applicants are responsible for ensuring they have obtained the requisite permits to conduct their research. They should also arrange to complete travel and fieldwork health and safety training (please refer to your Faculty for subject specific training).


Grants for maintenance

Maintenance grants of up to £2,000 will be considered for those nearing the end of their studies who might otherwise be unable to complete their research. However, the Beit Fund is unable to provide continuing maintenance other than through the research scholarship.

An election to a research scholarship will be held each Trinity Term. The scholarship is open to all members of the University who have not exceeded twenty-one terms from their matriculation and have been admitted to a course of study leading to a graduate degree of the University. Successful applicants are expected to be well advanced in their research. Applications from PRS students will not be considered. Applicants from faculties other than Modern History will need to demonstrate that their research contains a strong element of Imperial or Commonwealth History.


The scholarship is tenable for up to one year from Michaelmas Term, at a value of up to £15,609. However, the board of management may reduce the value of the scholarship if, in its opinion, the financial resources of the successful candidate make it appropriate to do so. The board may extend the scholarship, at the end of the year, for a period not exceeding one further year.


Each scholar will be expected to pursue his or her studies under such supervision as the board of management may determine. He or she may be required to submit a satisfactory report upon the work accomplished before receiving the final portion of the scholarship funding. He or she will also be expected to attend the Commonwealth History Seminar and to assist with the implementation of Faculty of History events, some of which will require evening working.

Applications for grants and the research scholarship should be made on the form found on this page. Applicants for the scholarship are also required to supply a statement on up to 2,000 words to detail the core arguments of their research. A writing sample may be requested from those invited to interview. (Candidates who exceed the word count limit risk disqualification).

The completed form and any additional material supplied should be submitted via the form to the Secretary to the Beit Fund Board of Management, Humanities Divisional Office, Radcliffe Humanities, Radcliffe Observatory Quarter, Woodstock Road, Oxford, OX2 6GG, by Friday of Week 9, Hilary term. Late applications, materials, or references may not be considered.

Documents can also be submitted by email to

Applicants should themselves write to three referees (two if applying for a travel grant) asking them to send a confidential reference to the Secretary by the closing date. One of the referees should be your supervisor. Referees should be asked to provide, in confidence, comments on the applicant's academic progress, the value of the intended project, and the reasons for which the funding is being requested. Referees may find it useful to receive a copy of this guidance. Applicants are responsible for ensuring that all required references reach the Secretary by the closing date.

Short-listed applicants for the scholarship will be asked to attend interviews in May or June. They may be asked to submit a piece of written work. Unpublished work should not exceed 8,000 words (or risk disqualification).



Grants may be made to senior members, principally for travel connected with their research projects. Applications should be submitted using the form to the right of this page:

Please submit any questions to

The closing dates for applications is Monday of Week 0 in Trinity term.

Contact us

Secretary to the Board of Management

Humanities Divisional Office

Radcliffe Humanities, Radcliffe Observatory Quarter

Woodstock Road

Oxford OX2 6GG

01865 270 068