Postgraduate Loans

Masters Loans

Government student loans for studying a Masters degree are available. They loans provide up to £10,280 a year, paid directly to you in three installments across the year once your attendance is confirmed by your university. The money does not have to be directed towards course fees; it may be spent on living costs or other study expenses. The scheme covers taught and research Masters courses in all disciplines and subject areas at any university in the UK with degree-awarding powers (including distance and online learning courses).

Postgraduate loans are available for all full-time, part-time and distance learning Masters programmes, to students who have lived in England or the EU for at least three years prior to the start of the course, and are not means-tested against income. If you leave your course, payments will halt, and you will have to pay back any money you have received.

Entitlement to Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA) will not be affected; you can still claim DSA while receiving the loan.

You may also be eligible if you are registered as one of the following:

  • refugee
  • under humanitarian protection
  • EEA migrant worker
  • child of a Swiss national
  • child of a Turkish worker

These loans are, however, not available if:

  • you are over the age of 60 (previously capped at 30)
  • you have already been awarded a Masters degree, equivalent or higher degree
  • your course is less than 50% of the full-time equivalent (i.e. longer than four years)
  • you are a UK national but are living in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland
  • you are studying for a PGCE, PDip, PCert or graduate diploma

You can learn more about the eligibility, look here.

Loans will be subject to an interest rate of RPI+3%, and repayments will not begin until 2019. Repayments will be income-contingent, and made concurrently with those of any undergraduate loans. Rates will be set at 6% of annual income over £21,000.

To apply for the Masters loan, follow this link. If you have already taken out a loan with Student Finance England, you can use your account to apply. If you don’t already have an account, you can set one up.

This section was updated 31st January 2018 and terms of the Masters loan are subject to change. Please check the government website for more up to date information.


Doctoral Loans

In the 2017 Spring Budget, the Government announced that doctoral loans will be available for the academic year 2018/19. The doctoral loans will be available for most Level 8 qualifications provided by a Higher Education Institution with recognised Research Degree Awarding Powers. Under the scheme, students will be able able to borrow up to £25,000 and this is intended to be a contribution to the cost of doctoral study, whether this be spent on tuition, maintenance or other associated costs. The loans will be available for programmes of study that are a minimum of three years and a maximum of eight years. All the loans will be managed by Student Loans Company.

Individual Eligibility

  • All students ordinarily resident in England will be eligible, regardless of where they study in the UK.
  • Students ordinarily resident in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are not eligible for this loan.
  • The Government has not yet declared if EU students are eligible for this loan. They will announce this before the start of the 2018/19 academic year.
  • You must be 59 or under on the first day of the first academic year of the course.
  • Students in receipt of either Research Council studentships, whether full or fees only, or other forms of Government support for students maintenance and fee costs, including any salary contributions or fees provided by the NHS for the purposes of doctoral study, will be ineligible for the new loan.

If a doctoral student has previously taken out a Masters loan, their doctoral loan will be combined with their Masters loan into a single balance. Loans will be subject to RPI+3% and interest will accrue from the date of the first loan instalment. Repayments will not start until the borrower has an annual income of £21,000 or more (this income threshold will be subject to review in 2021), and will be calculated at 6% of income above the income threshold. Any outstanding doctoral loan balance will be written off 30 years after the date the loan balance becomes due for repayment.

This section was written on 9th March 2017 and the terms of the doctoral loan may be subject to change. Please check the government website for more up to date information.